"Like most uneducated Englishwomen, I like reading." Can these words really belong to Virginia Woolf, an "uneducated Englishwoman" who knew half a dozen languages, who authored a shelf's length of novels and essays, who possessed one of the most rarified literary minds of the twentieth century? Tucked into the back pages of A Room of One's Own, this comment shimmers with Woolf's typically wry and understated sense of humor. She jests, but she means something very serious at the same time: as a reader, she worries about the state of the writer, and particularly the state of the female writer. She worries so much, in fact, that she fills a hundred some pages musing about how her appetite for "books in the bulk" might be satiated in the future by women writers. Her concerns may be those of a reader, but the solution she proffers comes straight from the ethos of an experienced writer. "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction," Woolf asserts early in her essay. This "one minor point," as she calls it, could have major repercussions for the future of literature. It would certainly, in the least, enrich the life of Virginia Woolf the reader. But before this can happen, Virginia Woolf the writer must demonstrate how a few hundred pounds and some privacy translate into a wealth of new books by women. To do this, she uses a most natural example: A Room of One's Own itself. Before it became a seminal feminist text or the source of countless cultural clichés, this essay was first a piece of writing by a woman of some means and leisure. It is both the result and the purveyor of a set of ideal creative conditions for the female author. Employing an innovative narrative technique, Woolf ...
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