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

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

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7,38081477 (4.11)375
Member:_Serendipity.
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
Rating:*****
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A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (1929)

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See OneNote. Read by Juliet Stevenson
  kewlgeek | Jun 30, 2015 |
There are so many great points in this book - the duality of mind, forced intellectual constriction, the patriarchy's effects on creativity, even just that you should write more - and no matter what you take from it, you have to admit it's well written.

On a side note, "Material Girl" came on while I was reading this and it was really bizarre. ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
I'm sure it was ground-breaking in its time. I am not a scholar nor a writer, though, so after the first chapter I gave up fighting her incredibly long and rambling chapters and skimmed to the end. My copy has someone's pencil highlights so I checked what had been noted, and still it meant nothing to me.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
I feel full of feminist rage now. ( )
1 vote evilmoose | Mar 4, 2015 |
Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One's Own is an extended essay on the topic of women and fiction based on some lectures that Woolf gave at a couple of women's colleges in 1928. Of course, being a novelist, Woolf’s style of writing an essay varies a great deal from the typical one. To tackle this weighty subject, she invents a woman named Mary Beton and follows in Mary’s steps for a couple of days to make observations on the historical role of women in general, how women were treated in the modern day, and glances at the literature of both women and men. Woolf is characteristically imaginative and descriptive in her prose even as she describes essentially nonfiction topics.

The main thesis of Woolf’s work is that women need the time, money, and space to become superior novelists (or writers of any sort, for that matter), and she implores women to acquire a private room of their own and a good 500 pounds a year in earnings to be able to become effective and noteworthy writers on par with their male counterparts. She also spends a great deal of time looking at past women in literature to note what contributions – whether positive or negative – these role models provide for the female writers of her day.

This book is short enough that it could easily be read in a single day or sitting if one is dedicated (and has enough uninterrupted time), but it contains so many rich thoughts and musings that it provides plenty of fodder for contemplative reading and thinking. Even though some parts are dated, this book is still sadly relevant in many ways. For instance, consider the following quote:

"Yet it is the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are 'important': the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes 'trivial.' And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room."

This is essential the same thing being said in the present day by authors like Jennifer Weiner. I definitely recommend reading this book for Woolf’s many poignant observations that cause the reader to stop and think about failings in our culture, especially when it comes to gender inequality, and about literature as a whole more critically. My feeble review is not really doing A Room of One's Own justice so I’m simply going to close it here with a quote containing one of Woolf’s later observations in the book.

"All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are ‘sides,’ and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot. As people mature they cease to believe in sides or in Headmasters or in highly ornamental pots." ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Mar 1, 2015 |
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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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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:46 -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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