A Room of One's Own Paperback – Oct 10 2013
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About the Author
Born in 1882, the daughter of Julia Jackson Duckworth and Victorian scholar Sir Leslie Stephen, Virginia Stephen settled in 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, in 1904. This house would become the first meeting place of the now-famous Bloomsbury Group-writers, artists, and intellectuals such as E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, and Lytton Strachey who, along with Virginia and her sister Vanessa, shared an intense belief in the importance of the arts and a skepticism regarding their society's conventions and restraints. It was after Virginia's 1912 marriage to Leonard Woolf-a remarkable and supportive twenty-nine-year-union-that she began to publish her major work. Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915 and was followed by Night and Day (1919), Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), Orlando (1928), The Waves (1931), and The Years (1937). Woolf is also admired for her contributions to literary criticism in general and to feminist criticism in particular, with A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1937) reflecting the full range of her intellectual vigor, insight, and compassion for the role cast for female artists in the modern world. Additionally, Woolf s diary and correspondence, published posthumously, provide an invaluable window into her world offer-flung relationships and interests, imaginative depth, and creative method. The victim of a lifetime of mental illness, Woolf com-mitted suicide in 1941. She left behind her a literary legacy, including The Hogarth Press, established with Leonard in 1917, which published not only Woolf s own work but that of an increasingly influential group of innovative writers-including T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Katherine Mansfield. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Surprisingly, this long essay about society and art and sexism is one of Woolf's most accessible works. Woolf, a major modernist writer and critic, takes us on an erudite yet conversational--and completely entertaining--walk around the history of women in writing, smoothly comparing the architecture of sentences by the likes of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, all the while lampooning the chauvinistic state of university education in the England of her day. When she concluded that to achieve their full greatness as writers women will need a solid income and a privacy, Woolf pretty much invented modern feminist criticism. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Woolf begins with a simple and enigmatic opinion: "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unresolved." From this spare beginning, Woolf deftly explores the difference between how women had been portrayed in fiction, and how they actually lived in the world, during the preceding centuries. "A very queer, composite being emerges. Imaginatively, she is of the highest importance; practically she is completely insignificant. She pervades poetry from cover to cover; she is all but absent from history. She dominates the lives of kings and conquerors in fiction; in fact she was a slave of any boy whose parents forced a ring upon her finger."
The source of dissonance between how women were portrayed in fiction, and how they actually lived, was the fact that most fiction prior to the nineteenth century was written by men. As Woolf astutely points out, "[i]t was strange to think that all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen's day, not only seen by the other sex, but seen only in relation to the other sex.Read more ›
Woolf begins the essay by writing, "I soon saw that [the subject of women and fiction] had one fatal drawback. I should never be able to come to a conclusion. I should never be able to fulfil what is, I understand, the first duty of a lecturer- to hand you after an hour's discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks and keep on the mantelpiece for ever. All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point- a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction... At any rate, when a subject is highly controversial- and any question about sex is that- one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opionion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conslusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker."
It is in this straightforward and honest manner that Woolf writes about women and fiction. Although the speech was given and the book was published in 1929, all of its points are still important for women- and especially women writers and artists- today.Read more ›
The book began as a lecture which she prepared for a girl's school. Asked to lecture on the subject of women and fiction, she determined to propound her theory that financial independence was necessary for the creation of genius. In her way of thinking, women throughout history may have had genius, but were never given the opportunity to develop it, being always dependant upon men for their social and financial standing. She urged women to earn their own living through writing; to break free of these social and financial constraints. However, in speaking out against the male-dominated intellectual scene, she did so without anger, without acrimony. Her usual good humor and simplicity, found so clearly in her diary and letters, shine throughout the book, making it invaluable not only as a social statement, but also as a precious insight into her personality. She is in turn serious, playful, mocking, and tender.
A Room of One's Own is not so applicable today as it was seventy-five years ago, but it is still valuable as an historical document; as a moral boost for aspiring young women writers; and as a further insight into the character of Virginia Woolf.
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed this book immensely. I have a read it a few times over the years. Each time, I feel I learn something new and the book educates me. Read morePublished 6 months ago by sarina singh
This essay, which was originally a speech and was somewhat elongated, speaks about feminist issues of the time in a rather circuitous manner. Read morePublished on Dec 10 2001
Her argument goes: "Intellectual freedom depends upon material things." The intellectual freedom of writing books, good books, depends on a person's ability to acquire income and... Read morePublished on Sept. 14 2001 by Pumpkin King
I was terrified when I found out that I had to read this book for my women's studies class because my mom told me that Virginia Woolf was like James Joyce stylistically. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2001
Woolf's "A Room of One's Own", a collection of papers Woolf delivered for the literary societies of Girton and Newnham in 1928, stands as an all-time classic of the... Read morePublished on Dec 19 2000 by Chad M. Brick
In 1928, Virginia Woolf was asked to speak on the topic of "women and fiction". The result, based upon two papers she delivered to literary societies at Newnham and Girton in... Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2000
Ah, Virginia! Never is she more charming or likeable than when she writes this book. This is a very important book nowadays, I think, when a lot of women who have gained a lot... Read morePublished on July 18 2000 by Ruth
A wonderful pre-feminist writer, Woolf makes many valid and thorough points for women writers. Despite what other reviewers may say, it is as relevant today as it was when... Read morePublished on July 2 2000
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