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Claire MessudAfter meeting Leonard Woolf for the first time, in 1911, the poet Rupert Brooke asked of him, "Was Woolf, who seems very nice, ever more than minor?" Brutal though this seems, it may reflect the consensus over time: he remains a figure best known for those to whom he was attached—his wife Virginia, of course, but also his close friends in the Bloomsbury set, including Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes and Clive Bell.
As Victoria Glendinning makes clear in her comprehensive and eminently readable biography, it is an assessment born of ignorance of his varied accomplishments—perhaps, indeed, born of the fact that his accomplishments were so varied—and of the quiet complexity of his character, which was at once passionate, reserved and, above all, stoical.
—The New York Times