VIRGINIA Woolf’s relationship with religion comes under the spotlight in a new book by a professor of English literature at Leeds Trinity University.

Professor Rev Jane de Gay, an established Virginia Woolf scholar and Anglican priest, has written the work to shed light on an aspect of the author’s life and work that has been “largely overlooked”.

“Most people assume that Woolf had very little connection with religion or Christianity,” said de Gay. “She was brought up by agnostic parents and she herself, wrote that ‘certainly and emphatically there is no God’.

“However, this book reveals that she was profoundly interested in, and knowledgeable about, Christianity as a faith and a socio-political movement. She was fascinated with the clergy, the Virgin Mary, churches and cathedrals; she was interested in the Bible as artefact and literary text; and she wrestled with questions about salvation and the nature of God.”

An ardent feminist, Woolf spoke out on many topics that were considered controversial – including her support of women’s ministry, at a time when the Church of England was opposed to the ordination of women.

Professor de Gay will talk about her book - Virginia Woolf and Christian Culture - at a launch event at the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies at Leeds Trinity University on June 29. The work is published by Edinburgh University Press.