Monday, November 16, 2015

A Room of One's Own/Three Guineas - Virginia Woolf

I recently had someone inventory all my books which made it easier to see which ones I need to get rid of and which ones I haven't read in so long I can't remember them.

I'd read a fictionalized biography of Woolf earlier this year and though it would be a good idea to read (or re-read, like I said, I can't remember) the author herself, so I pulled this one from the shelf at home.

A Room of One's Own makes the case for a woman of the early 20th century being able to become a writer and be independent if she were to have a fixed income and a room of her own away from the demands of household life in which to write.  Woolf was writing about the educated, upper class women of her time who she saw as shackled by the definitions of a woman's place and restricted from earning an income.  It was originally written as a speech given at a woman's college.

Three Guinea's was written later in 1938 and responds to requests for donations from three separate entities.  In her response, Woolf gives explanation as to why the causes being appealed were related and why her help as a woman would be different from that of the patriarchal expectations of the writer.  It is written almost as a dialogue between herself and the requester and we are invited to eavesdrop.

It was easy to see why this book has endured and its appeal to feminist and pacifist.  Both stories contrast the nature of militaristic (male) society with that of the (peaceful) female one.  Woolf's missteps in only viewing the issue from the point of view of the upper class society to which she belongs but it doesn't entirely distract from her message.

It took some time to read as I found myself pondering if things are that much different these days and if so, is it for the better?


Published:1929 (A Room of One's Own) 1938 (Three Guineas)  Read: November 2015 Genre: Essay

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