The Breaking Point: Woolf’s Views on Stael Essay

The Breaking Point: Woolf’s Views on Stael Essay

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No person is capable of perfectly articulating Virginia Woolf’s opinions on certain matters. However, through the observation of her works one might be able to gather her thoughts and form a more accurate description of her ideals. A Room of One’s Own contains Woolf’s ideals dealing with women in the arts, especially those associated with liberal arts. In this piece Woolf always describes a lack of strong women writers for her research but does name a few she deems worthy. It seems odd that Woolf would overlook Germaine de Stael while researching women with literary talent. The reasons for why Stael was disregarded could range from a language barrier at the time, Stael’s ideals on how a woman should behave within society, political propaganda, or Stael’s works might have simply gone unnoticed at the time. If Woolf had read Stael’s, On Women Writers, surely she would have mentioned it somewhere in her novel. Why would it be required that Woolf write about Stael? To simply answer this question, Stael was an intelligent woman in her time and many of Woolf’s main arguments coincide with Stael’s. Gender Inequality is one of these major themes where Stael shares similar views. They would both agree that this inequality feeds the other motifs described in their own works, such as: the individuality of truth, the importance of monetary means, or the hatred and ridicule that society directs at women writers. Woolf might not have agreed with all of Stael’s beliefs, but she would find Stael’s views on gender inequality and the causes of these inequalities to contain the essential oil of truth she was desperately searching for.
Gender Inequality was what Woolf emphasized as the major downfall of women writers and Stael shared thos...


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Both Woolf and Stael were extraordinary authors of their times, especially when one considers the hardships they faced. Woolf would indeed find much of her arguments written within Stael’s work. In her reading she would be pleased to find agreement with many of the arguments brought up by Stael, but of course she would not agree to them all. The pity Stael says women should be shown would not consist in Woolf’s vocabulary. She would insist that women be treated as equals instead of looked down upon and pitied.




Works Cited

Stael, Germaine de. On Literature Considered in Its relationship to Social Institutions: “On Women Writers.” Trans. Vivian Folkenflit. Eds. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007: 55-60. Print.
Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. Ed. Mark Hussey. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005. Print.

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