A Room of Ones Own + Three Guineas (2 extended essays)
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A Room of One's Own is a piece of history - a valuable one at that - and needs to be read and aprreciated as such. Baffled by Virginia Woolf and her intellect and writing and modernity. I am glad I read this, although I have to admit I wasn't so keen on ploughing through Three Guineas included in my edition. Still worth it. In all honesty with never reading any of Woolf's non-fiction I had this preconceived notion that it was going to somehow be pretentious.
It wasn't at all, thankfully. Did I love it? Did I like it?
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Do I appreciate it? It's of no surprise to me that it was written beautifully and eloquently, which I have come to expect.
I know many people find it hard to cope with the constant stream of consciousness way in which she writes, but for me personally, I've never found it to be a barrier. It gives the essay a more conversational feel rather than a lecture, for which I am thankful for.
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Whilst agreeing with many of the points made in this essay, I found myself questioning a few. This I'm afraid, I'm going to have to wholeheartedly disagree with. I do not agree that Jane Eyre suffers or is a lesser work compared to that of Jane Austen just because you feel anger and raw emotion scattered throughout the pages.
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To me, writing with anger and passion is important, they are genuine human emotions. Letting your personal feelings imbed themselves within your work reveals the truth, it does it overshadow it, as Woolf suggests. Which is probably why I prefer Charlotte to Jane. Another point Woolf makes that I slightly disagree with is the opinion of 'making a poet', however, I do understand that Woolf was a subject of her time. In my opinion, one cannot simply 'make a poet'. The poet was always there, waiting to be unearthed. She lists examples such as Keats, Coleridge and Shelley and explains that nearly all of these men attended University and had good incomes which is what is required to write poetry.
We know nowadays that that's just total codswallop. I've rated this book 4 stars because it made me think.
It also made me frustrated and angry and thankful for how far women have come over the centuries. The last six or so pages are some of the most poignant and profound passages I have ever read. If you have no interest in reading any of Woolf, read the last pages of this essay, you won't regret it.
Even though A Room of One's Own is known to be a feminist essay, I enjoyed it and I don't identify as a feminist at all and I still found it to be empowering and memorable.
A Room of One's Own - Wikipedia
Also, to Mr John Langdon Davies, kindly fuck off. I won't rate this book because it is quite unrateable for me. I can't say I enjoyed it that much; I'm a bit ashamed to say that Woolf's essays are a bit long-winded for my modern? But her message and the historical significance of these two essays made me so glad to have read them. She makes some really sharp points about patriarchy and literature that really resounded with me. 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.
A scene in a battle-field is more important than a scene in a shop - everywhere and much more subtly the difference of value persists. The former is absolutely brilliant and still relevant today. I highly recommend it, especially to those who are familiar with classic literature, as there are many references to classic writers and their book characters. This was the most influential read of my year. Though dated in parts, to read of the challenges some women faced in and how relevant they are to my own journey as a woman writer exploring the influence of the past, was both terrifying and comforting.
Fav Quote: Imaginatively, she is of the highest importance; practically she is completely insignificant. She pervades poetry from cover to cover; she is all but absent from history…some of the most inspired words, some of the most profound thoughts in literature fall from her lips; in real life she could hardly read, could scarcely spell, and was the property of her husband. However, I was less enchanted by Three Guineas, which I was reading for the first time and to which the 3 stars are directed.
Although Woolf's polemic was interesting and well written, I did not find it as compelling or interesting as 'A Room of One's Own', which I found a shame. Obviously, its contents are important and have an undeniable place in history, but there was something that just could not pu 5 stars for 'A Room of One's Own', which I had already read and is one of my favourite books. Obviously, its contents are important and have an undeniable place in history, but there was something that just could not pull me in.
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Absolutely a must for women! How come there a few woman writers? How can women help prevent war?
How can I spend three guineas in order to help prevent war, philosphically speaking? Spend your guinea on improving women's colleges. Invest a guinea in advancing professions and occupations open to women. Because an educat How come there a few woman writers? Because an education and the right to earn one's own living permits independence of opinion and intellectual freedom that will allow women to think outside masculine ideas of glory and honour and therefore not lead society down a path towards war.
Give your last guinea freely, with no strings attached, to men in order to support their cause in preventing war.
This gift demonstrates to men that women share and support the same aim as men in preventing war and cushions the blow that women, according to Woolf, should remain outsiders to men's society and work towards preventing war by their own methods and on their own terms. In Three Guineas, Woolf also argues for the connection between the private house and public world: "the tryannies and servilities of the one are the tyrannies and servilities of the other" Woolf sees the opression of women expanding to oppression of the people under the tyrant's rule. Women have fought for their rights and freedoms in the private sphere, so we can learn from feminist movements in order to fight against the dictators of fascism who are oppressing freedom in the public sphere.
Jan 03, Manon rated it really liked it. So far, I've only read A Room of One's Own, but that was the one I wanted to read and the library only had this dual edition with 3 Guineas. I'll pick it up again later if I wanna check out Three Guineas. I enjoyed discovering Woolf's essay, especially after listening to so many episode of the french podcast La Poudre where the host interviews women and always asks them if they do have a "a room of one's own".
I do have a little bit of difficulty however following her stream-of-consciousness sty So far, I've only read A Room of One's Own, but that was the one I wanted to read and the library only had this dual edition with 3 Guineas. I do have a little bit of difficulty however following her stream-of-consciousness style of writing. It allows for beautiful and fluid passages and transitions but maybe my focus isn't at its best for it these days.
But all in all, she makes some good points, and despite some outdated views, she has a sharp vision and tongue and one can only be drawn to her voice. I often ended up feeling like she'd have been fun to have diner with while chatting feminism and literature. These essays are a reminder that it is high time for society to unsex itself.
Also, what an "intense and complex" mind! Apr 04, Clara Clarylovesbooks rated it really liked it. Such a meaningful reading experience. Three Guineas is much more complex to understand at times confusing , but there are still many great lessons to take from it.
Written in , Woolf's essay originally a series of lectures to Newnham and Girton Colleges is read often today as a foundational document of feminist literary theory. Extremely prescient, it touches on theoretical issues such as female writing, and the representation of women in male-authored texts, thus foreshadowing the work done by French feminists such as Cixous, Irigaray and Kristeva. By clearly articulating the relationship between text and material world, and uncovering paradigms of power and self-interest, she also prefigures the influential work of Marxist critics such as Barthes and Foucault.
Given its date of composition, there are points at which Woolf is factually wrong - most pressingly when she talks about the impossibility of female poets during the Renaissance. Later scholarship focusing on Renaissance women poets such as Louise Labe, Veronica Franco, Aemilia Lanyer, Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney, Mary Wroth et al have uncovered that women certainly did write, circulate and even publish poetry in the sixteenth century, though certainly these processes were never unproblematic.
The whole is written in a lively, witty, style making it probably one of the most accessible theoretical texts we have from the modern period.