Today marks the 136th birthday of iconic writer Virginia Woolf. To honor Woolf, Google commissioned London-based artist Louise Pomeroy to design the image now being shared on Google’s US home page and several of its international home pages.
Pomeroy said she added the autumnal leaves around Woolf’s profile in the image because they are a recurring theme in Woolf’s writings, like this quote from Woolf’s classic “To the Lighthouse”: “The autumn trees gleam in the yellow moonlight, in the light of harvest moons, the light which mellows the energy of labor, and smooths the stubble, and brings the wave lapping blue to the shore.”
The doodle features the author’s familiar profile and leads to a search for “Virginia Woolf” but oddly does not have the usual sharing icon to post the image on social pages or send via email.
In its blog post about Woolf, Google remarks on her “powerful stream-of-consciousness narratives, a unique literary style that established Woolf as one of modern feminism’s most influential voices.”
It also comments on how her lyrical writing centered on the inner dialogue of her characters, “… revealing the complex emotions underlying seemingly mundane events,” in novels like “Mrs. Dalloway” and “To the Lighthouse.”
Google also shared the following images of Pomeroy’s initial sketches for the Woolf doodle:
Many Woolf fans (me among them) connected deeply with Woolf’s nonfiction autobiographical works, like “A Room of One’s Own” and “On Being Ill,” an essay originally published in The Criterion that was released as a standalone in 1930 by Hogarth Press.
Published more than a decade after her death, the book “A Writer’s Diary” is composed of journal entries from Woolf between 1918 and 1941. The final entry was written on March 8, 1941 — 20 days before Woolf committed suicide by drowning herself in River Ouse near her home in Sussex.
Two months prior to her death on January 26, 1941 (and a day after her 59th birthday), Woolf had written, “This trough of despair shall not, I swear, engulf me. The solitude is great.”
In the same entry, she writes about the things that help her through her depression.
“But one must remember one can’t pump ideas. I begin to dislike introspection: sleep and slackness; musing; reading; cooking: oh, and a good, hard, rather rocky book… This is my prescription,” writes Woolf
As a writer and a woman, Woolf’s words have been my prescription during a number of difficult days. Google putting her on its home page is a welcome treat and a well-deserved homage to such an astounding author. Happy Birthday, Virginia Woolf.