Updated February 14, 1998
Created January 1998 by UAH graduate students Sheri Stanley and Mary Beth Walker
Does Woolf base any characters in The Voyage Out on real people?
Helen Ambrose resembles Vanessa Stephen Bell, who tells Virginia that she does not recognize herself in Helen. Vanessa writes this in a letter to Roger Fry in April 1915: "I expect youre thinking Helen Ambrose like me in some way though I cant realize it-- otherwise most of the minor characters seem to me more interesting than the principal ones" (qtd. King 151).
Clarissa Dalloway is based on Kitty Lushington Maxse, an old family friend who was an upper class society woman, especially close to Woolf's step sister Stella. Woolf distrusted socialites, who she described in her diary as "[women] whose sole purpose in life was to minister uncomplainingly and invisibly to the needs of the males of a family" (qtd. King 85). Virginia writes about Kitty as Clarissa in a letter to Vanessa: "almost Kitty verbatim; what would happen if she guessed?" (Letters, i. 349).
Ridley Ambrose resembles Leslie Stephen in appearance and personality.
Sir John Hirst resembles Lytton Strachey in personality.
Terence Hewett resembles both Leonard Woolf and Clive Bell in personality and interests.
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