Moments of Being contains Virginia Woolf's only autobiographical writing. In "Reminiscences," the first of five pieces, she focuses on the death of her mother, "the greatest disaster that could happen," and its effect on her father, the demanding Victorian patriarch. Three of the papers were composed to be read to the Memoir Club, a postwar regrouping of Bloomsbury, which exacted absolute candor of its members.
"A Sketch of the Past" is the longest and most significant of the pieces, giving an account of Virginia Woolf's early years in the family household at 22 Hyde Park Gate. A recently discovered manuscript belonging to this memoir has provided material that further illuminates her relationship to her father, Leslie Stephen, who played a crucial role in her development as an individual and as a writer.