Virginia Woolf’s Contributions to Feminism and the Academic Study of Gender

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Virginia Woolf’s Contributions to Feminism and the Academic Study of Gender
Born in 1882, Virginia Stephens began writing as a young girl. In 1904, Woolf published her first article and went on to teach at Morley College (Hort). Throughout her lifetime, she suffered from depression. Woolf had a vivid imagination; however, suffered nervous breakdowns and spells of depression. In 1941, at the age of 59, Woolf committed suicide. My goal in this paper is to explore how Woolf’s childhood, adolescents, and marriage impacted her writing, in particular A Room of One’s Own, ultimately leading to her contributions to feminism and the academic study of gender.
CHILDHOOD
Virginia Woolf was born into a privileged household on January 25, 1882 in London, England. Her parents, Sir Leslie and Julia Stephens, had eight children. Her father, Sir Leslie was a writer and her mother’s family was “closely connected with pre-Raphaelite painters” (Hort). Virginia’s brothers were educated at Cambridge University while she and her sisters were educated at home by their parents, a practice common of the time (Reid). The Stephens family had many social and artistic connections, exposing Virginia to writing at an early age (Reid). “Throughout her childhood, Virginia would have encountered such people as Tennyson, George Eliot and Henry James.” (Hort) Virginia had a very fulfilling childhood, and her fondest memories were while on holiday with her family at St. Ives in Cornwall. Perhaps the earliest indication of feminism or the belief that men and women should have equal opportunities ("Feminism") in Woolf’s life was her participation in athletic events with her brothers.
ADOLESCENTS
Julia Stephen’s, Virginia’s mother, died in 1895 and shorty after ...

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