A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
"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 should have read this eons ago. Didn't Virginia Woolf just cut right to the heart of it with these first words? Then she preceded to tell us readers a most wonderful message about writing, about women, and the importance of a fixed income and a space.
By this extended essay, she speaks not only to women (and women authors) of her time but even of today as it is still relevant and applicable. Here she discussed about exploring the chances and the advantages of being independent and of pursuing creativity entailed from a little freedom.
Years ago, I bought a tattered secondhand copy of A Room of One's Own and its condition was a testament enough of it being well read. I say, everyone must read this book! A lot may categorize this as a voice of feminism, but, for me, it is that and a lot more. It is a book worthy to be read again and again.
Woolf wrote it like stream of sporadic thoughts on a diary with no continuing flows (I call it mutterings of an eccentric lady). There is that feeling of as if you spent all day with her walking at the park talking about an important matter then once in a while she gets distracted by something she remembers or by the scenes she sees along the way and speaks about that for a while before the conversation goes back to the original subject. Somewhere along the way, you sort of get an idea of Woolf's personality.
Nevertheless, despite its meandering form, she doesn't lose her points. It was written sensibly, almost with earnestness and subtlty and none of the preach-y droning tone. I like how she puts out a sardonic note and humor in her words (that Anon could have been a woman or that Shakespeare has a sister) as she thoughtfully remarked about other authors and outlined the necessities in writing fiction; the loss of marked gender and of reaching the state of 'incandescence'. That's my favorite passage of all.
"The reason perhaps why we know so little of Shakespeare--is that his grudges and spites and antipathies are hidden from us. We are not held up by some "revelation" which reminds us of the writer. All desire to protest, to preach, to proclaim an injury, to pay off a score, to make the world witness of some hardship or grievance was fired out of him and consumed. Therefore his poetry flows from him free and unimpeded...If ever a mind was incadescent, unimpeded--it was Shakespeare's mind."
In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister. A sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different. This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. If only she had found the means to create, argues Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling. In this classic essay, Virginia Woolf takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give voice to those who are without. Her message is a simple one: women must have some money and a room of their own in order to have the freedom to create.
Title: A Room of One's Own
Author: Virginia Woolf
Genre: Classics, Non-fiction
Published: 1989 (first published 1929)
Publisher: Mariner Books
Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨ ( 5 cups - As a woman, I couldn't ask for a better book on writing (fiction).)