M Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (1929, 111 pages)

"A poor child in England has little more hope than had the son of an Athenian slave to be emancipated into that intellectual freedom of which great writings are born".  Virginia Woolf


A Room of One's Own first published in October of 1929 was based on a series of lectures that Woolf (1882 to 1941) gave at a woman's college in Cambridge. In many quarters,  A Room of One's Own has the status almost of a holy text.       Most  know it based on one assertion:   a woman needs money and a place of her own to write creatively.     Like most of the small amount of Woolf's essays  I have read I do not find her work really admits of paraphrase in any fashion that does not diminish the power and beauty of her words.   I  would say to readers of this post that you know you will probably get around to reading A Room of One's Own one day.   My only suggestion is to move up the read by date to as soon as possible.   It has a great deal to say about the reading life as well as the writing life.   

I want to quote a bit from the work so the reader can get a feel for the exquisite prose of Woolf.
At the same time, on the other side of Europe, there was a young man living freely with this gypsy or with that great lady; going to the wars; picking up unhindered and uncensored all that varied experience of human life which served him so splendidly later when he came to write his books. Had Tolstoi lived at the Priory in seclusion with a married lady ‘cut off from what is called the world’, however edifying the moral lesson, he could scarcely, I thought, have written WAR AND PEACE .

You can read A Room of One's Own in just  few hours.   It can be read online here .   I am very glad I have at last read this canon status work and I think most others will also feel the same way once they finally read it.

I hope to post on To the Lighthouse and Three Guineas soon.

Mel u

7 comments:

Teacher/Learner said...

It's such a great book for budding writers, especially given the realities Woolf faced as a woman writer competing for face time. I wrote a short review of this as well--here it is if you're interested.

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I have always wanted to read it but haven't. I will try to prioritise it just as you have suggested.

Suko said...

Mel, this is a great essay for The Reading Life to read and review, especially after your last post.

ds said...

Oh, Mel, one of my favorite of favorites, and you have handled it beautifully, as a whole, as it should be read. Well done!

Amanda said...

I read this last year and enjoyed it, but I really wish I could have listened to an audio version. I think it would have been more powerful spoken, the way it was originally.

Ash said...

I haven't read this yet and can't believe it. I should do a post on it for awesome essays maybe? Looking forward to your review of Three Guineas! I read it a couple of years ago.

mel u said...

Teacher-Learner-you are right it would be a great work for neophyte writers to read

Becky-I hope you will enjoy it

Suko-yes it does go well with the book on the servants of VW-VW paid her servants the normal wage of the era

Amanda-if you check on my blog I have a link to the only recording of the voice of VW


Ashley-it would be a great choice for your essay reading project and I love to read your thoughts on the work