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In 1878 Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson Duckworth married a second marriage for both They gave birth to Adeline Virginia Stephen four years later on the 26th of March at 22 Hyde Park Gate London Virginia followed Vanessa and Julian Thoby and preceded Adrian Leslie Stephen began his career as a clergyman but soon became agnostic and took up journalism He and Julia provided their children with a home of wealth and comfort Virginia though denied the formal education allowed to males was able to take advantage of her fathers abundant library to observe his writing talent and to be surrounded by intellectual conversation The same year Virginia was born for instance her father began editing the Dictionary of National Biography a huge undertaking Virginias mother was more delicate and helped to bring out the more emotional sides of her children Both parents were very strong personalities By them Virginia would feel overshadowed for years Virginia would suffer through three major mental breakdowns during her lifetime In all likelihood her compulsive drive to work which she acquired from her parents combined with her natural fragile state largely contributed to these breakdowns Yet the situation was more complicated Her first breakdown was suffered shortly following the death of her mother in 1895 which Virginia later described as the greatest disaster that could have happened Some have suggested that Virginia may have felt guilt over choosing her father as the favorite parent However her mental state could not have been aided by the excessive mourning period enacted by her father Two years later Stella Duckworth Virginias stepsister died Stella had assumed charge of the household duties after Julias death causing a rift between her and Virginia Virginia fell sick soon after her death The same year Virginia began her first diary Over the next seven years Virginias decision to write took hold and her admiration for women grew She educated herself and greatly admired women such as
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