A fine biography of Virginia Woolf, devoted and evocative, explores the green fields of her growing, slips down the garden path to her writing studio, traces her way along seacoast and city street, among acquaintances and intimates. As in life the portrait is cumulative -- we come to know the Stephens family, the ""Bloomsberries"" (whose banner the author upholds, disclaiming withdrawal or hauteur on their part, nevertheless noting their tests on would-be intimates); we walk through Kensington Garden or visit Monks House; we follow the ecstasies and miseries of a sensitive mystic who illuminated the literary scene with her vision. The biographer beautifully incorporates Mrs. Woolf's life with her work in a revealing commentary on the books in terms of it. Her sources are essentially, one gathers, from the written world -- the books themselves, A Writer's Diary, the correspondence with Mrs. Woolf's beloved novelist friend, Victoria Sackville-West, who shared the personality of Orlando with her ancestors. The impact of relatives and friends, of the external world (of which the Hogarth Press was no minor undertaking) which fascinated, irritated, and finally overwhelmed her, is revealed. And her impact is considered -- on her public which swelled to its height with The Years, on the friends who admired and adored. One senses the wealth of the Woolf marriage, its happiness and rightness, through telling glimpses rather fhan full sharing:- there is a privacy here. A book of seeking which extends beyond facts to their roots and their flowering.