She was chiefly interested in the inner lives of women. Unlike many of her literary predecessors, Woolf aimed to give credence to the unspoken emotions and interpretations we experience daily. She did this not only by placing more traditionally feminine themes at the forefront of her stories, but by penning sentences with a cadence that revealed the inner workings of her characters’ minds. A New Yorker article calls this, “The tragic lack of correspondence between intention and expression; and what these reveal about the nature of love.”
While this dissonance isn’t only of interest to women, it’s true that such “small” themes have traditionally been the subject of books by female authors, and have lamentably been shunned by critics for their “smallness.” Woolf, however, was too impressive to be ignored.