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A Room of One's Own (Annotated) by…

A Room of One's Own (Annotated) (original 1929; edition 2005)

by Virginia Woolf, Mark Hussey (Editor), Susan Gubar (Introduction)

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7,26472490 (4.11)360
Title:A Room of One's Own (Annotated)
Authors:Virginia Woolf
Other authors:Mark Hussey (Editor), Susan Gubar (Introduction)
Info:Mariner Books (2005), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 216 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (1929)


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Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
I'm utterly gobsmacked (even a couple of days after finishing this) by the passion and eloquence of Woolf's prose. I also found the sheer intensity and imagination of her arguments in favor of women's equality and independence quite persuasive, especially her invention of a sister of Shakespeare who has the same talent but nowhere near the opportunities that he received. (This was particularly relevant to "Book of Ages," the Jill Lepore biography which contrasts the life of Jane Franklin with that of her famous brother Benjamin.) Some of Woolf's ideas I had a hard time grasping, such as her theory about the androgynous mind, and I disagree that women necessarily, by sole virtue of their gender, should and have to write differently (to me, this could play into the hands of the male critics she liberally quotes from, who felt women just didn't have the capacity for thinking or writing). But the general line of her essay is an inspiring call to arms. ( )
  bostonian71 | Jan 4, 2015 |
An excellent treatise on what it would take and was taking for women to become serious writers. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 22, 2014 |
I read an excerpt of this for school and it was very enlightening. I should like to read the entire work.
  Laella | Jun 14, 2014 |
A complex and humane polemic which is a bracing reminder of the winds against which women like Woolf bravely fought in the early twentieth century. ( )
  dazzyj | Apr 27, 2014 |

This is a lovely, lovely introduction to feminism, full of wit and insight and the incomparable prose of the inimitable Woolf. Not perfect, and indeed there are a few bones I'd have loved to pick with her, but even with those this book is a boon to humanity.

Between bouts of beauteous imagery and fantastic meanderings of thought and form, we have many a discussion on the different subtleties by which the patriarchy in England inherited a history, controlled the present, and in Woolf's time is especially keen on striding forth into the future. The further back in history, the more sapped and stricken the place for women, lack of education and early marriage and many a birthed child making for near nonexistence in the history books. As Woolf hypothesizes, a sister of Shakespeare would have been born a genius, lived in a stunted suspense, and ultimately killed herself out of frustrated potential. Woman was an object to be written on, and the only hope lay in men potentiating the self who took charge of her own fate. As can be seen, the likelihood of this was low, and the chance of a woman escaping the just as damaging idealized portrayal was even lower.

Further on, you have the patriarchal ideologies, the lack of historic representation, the social gatekeepers, every single individual male or female who saw the changing times in regards to women and rose up in protest. Even those who desire progress set their sights too low, conditioned as they are by the public and its 'experts' on women, all of them male and very few of them respecting the other half of the population as fully human. Woolf is especially adept at observing this unending of cycle of men pointing out to women their insignificance in the realm of both history and public life in order to maintain the same, an oppressive status quo aided by literature and its then burgeoning reaction to suffrage movements of the time. If women are restricted both in their education and their experiences of life, and the little education they manage through autodidactism is hardboiled in masculine tropes, what is she supposed to feed her dreams of the future and fictioning with?

All of that is well on good on Woolf's part. However, Woolf was a writer very much within her own mind, a mind quick and keen to an extraordinary degree but, ultimately, a single mind. We are blessed that she was endowed with a legacy early on, thus giving her years and years to hone her craft and subsequently publish some of the rarest jewels that ever graced the stage of literature, but it is that fortune that dictates her idea of progress as contained within these pages.

Money and time alone are great aids indeed, but there is more to good writing than the purest of passive ideals and unlimited free time. Woolf writes of an author disturbed by as little of the meaner things of life as possible, and decries the slightest hint of authors working out their issues and dissatisfaction within their works. I myself am biased in viewing literature as a powerful influence on reality and the realms of social justice, but the classism and borderline elitism are too much to ignore. Also, Woolf could have used some self-observation regarding suffusion of her own writing with male favoritism, especially in regards to giving more credit to the women who battled in realms both fictional and political for the rights she enjoyed at the time of this composition, and continued to battle long after these lectures were over.

However. Of the 292 books in my lists that were published before this book, 31 of them were written by women. I wish Woolf had lived long enough to see "...that elaborate study of the psychology of women by a woman," (just get used to the fact that I'm going to be plugging [b:The Second Sex|457264|The Second Sex|Simone de Beauvoir|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327978178s/457264.jpg|879666] for the rest of my days, and we'll all be happy) and all her seeds of contemplation brought to a gorgeous bloom, but here she penned a marvelous beginning. We may not have been graced with Shakespeare's biological sister in our halls of the written word, but here we have her equal. ( )
  Korrick | Feb 26, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Woolf, Virginiaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beeke, AnthonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, VanessaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gubar, SusanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simonsuuri, KirstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valentí, HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waals-Nachenius, C.E. van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This essay is based upon two papers read to the Arts Society at Newnham and the Odtaa at Girton in October 1928. The papers were too long to be read in full, and have since been altered and expanded.
First words
But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction -- what has that got to do with a room of one's own? I will try to explain.
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156787334, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:29 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Why is it that men, and not women, have always had power, wealth, and fame? Woolf cites the two keys to freedom: fixed income and one's own room. Foreword by Mary Gordon.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141183535, 0141018984, 0141184604, 0141044888, 0141198540, 0734306555

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