This quotation has haunted me for some time, poetically conveying the numinous thread of life; it’s particularly touching given the mental illness that hounded Virginia Woolf and eventually drove her to suicide.

I found some packing tape which has the second clause inscribed on it in calligraphy.  As you wrap it around a parcel, it might give the receiver pause for thought.

‘Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.’


Source: Virginia Woolf, ‘Modern Fiction’ quoted in John Sutherland, A Little History of Literature (New Haven & London: Yale Univ Press, 2013), p. 192

Photo credit: Greg Rakozy at


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