A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

Topics: Gender, Woman, Human Pages: 2 (666 words) Published: November 11, 2010
This fragment is part of A Room of One’s Own, a book by Virginia Woolf that reunites and recreates the contents of a series of lectures she delivered in Cambridge in 1928. The author was invited to talk about the topic “Women and Novel”; however, she made use of her innovative style to devise a book in which fiction, history, and her own way to understand the world gathered to create a text considered as one of the references for literary criticism, and whose meaning is absolutely valid at present. In short, Woolf builds the image of “a room of one’s own” as a necessity for women in order to develop their lives, in general, and their literary creativity, in particular. She focuses on a series of conditions that had always been neglected to women: leisure time, privacy, and financial independence (“A woman must have money and a room of her own is she is to write fiction”). She uses plenty of visual metaphors and symbolism to support her main thesis. For instance, the fact that women are deprived of their own room is finely represented in chapter 1 when the narrator tells us : “ladies are only admitted to the library if accompanied by a Fellow of the College or furnished with a letter of introduction”; also when she describes situations that cause distraction to the narrator, not allowing her thinking. This way, from the very beginning of the book, she is introducing gender roles and discrimination. Nevertheless, Woolf’s ideas seem to be ahead of her time. Undoubtedly, she goes through history by means of fictional characters (perhaps the most moving of them is Shakespeare’s twin sister), but rather than framing her efforts in the beginning of Feminism, she perfectly fits in the more evolved theories. She does not look for an emancipatory / liberationist feminism (or not only), nor even for singular difference (one of the motifs is: “Call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or any other name you please—it is not a matter of importance”; in fact, some...
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