A Room of Ones Own by Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf, a founder of Modernism, is one of the most important woman writers. Her essays and novels provide an insight into her life experiences and those of women of the 20th century. Her most famous works include Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), Orlando: A Biography (1928), The Waves (1931), and A Room of One's Own (1929) (Roseman 11).

A Room of One's Own is an based on Woolf's lectures at a women's college at Cambridge University in 1928. Woolf bases her thoughts on "the question of women and fiction". In the essay, Woolf asks herself the question if a woman could create art that compares to the quality of Shakespeare. Therefore, she examines women's historical experience and the struggle of the woman artist. A Room of One's Own explores the history of women in literature through an investigation of the social and material conditions required for writing. Leisure time, privacy, and financial independence, are important to understanding the situation of women in the literary tradition because women, historically, have been deprived of those basics (Roseman 14).

The setting of A Room of One's Own is that Woolf has been invited to lecture on the topic of Women and Fiction. Her thesis is that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction (Woolf 4)." She creates the character of an imaginary narrator, "call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please, it is not a matter of any importance." The "I" who narrates the story is not Woolf, yet her experiences and thoughts provide the background for Woolf's thesis.

The narrator begins her search going over the different educational experiences available to men and women and the more material ...

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...s, 1882-1942. v.: ill.; 28 cm. Semiannual. Issue no. 33, 32, 1989. Vol. 1, no. 1, 1973; no.2, 1974. California State College, Sonoma, Dept. of English.

Roseman, Ellen. A Room of One's Own: Women Writers and the Politics of Creativity. Twayne Publishing, Inc., New York, 1995.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. Orlando: Harcourt, 2005. Print.

Internet Sources Consulted

Brooks, Rebecca B. “Timeline of Virginia Woolf’s Life.” The Virginia Woolf Blog. N.p., 19 Feb. 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.


Burt, John. “Irreconcilable Habits of Thought in A Room of One’s Own and to The Lighthouse.” ELH 49.4 (1982): 889-907. JSTOR. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Rodriguez, Lara Ma Lojo. “"A New Tradition”: Virginia Woolf and the Personal Essay.“Atlantis 23.1 (2001): 75-90. JSTOR. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
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