Book review: A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf).

A Room of One’s Own.

–    Virginia Woolf.

I came across this essay pretty randomly and seeing it was written by Virginia Woolf I started reading it. As a student of literary criticism I was immediately fascinated about the essay. I have been a fan of her work since I read Mrs. Dalloway. In the time that she wrote, it was brave of her to break away from the traditional molds of writing. Woolf’s works played an influential role in the reemergence of feminism in the 1970’s. Her characters, lectures, essays kept the women at the forefront.

A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay. This essay explores a fictional character and narrative; but it is rooted in reality. Woolf through this essay discusses the various disadvantages in education, society, and finance faced by women throughout the history. The fictional character of this essay is Mary, who visits the British Museum to find out everything that has been written about women so far. Through the character and narrative Woolf showcases how in society, literature and history are male constructs or male-centric while the women have been marginalized.

A Room of One’s Own is a daring essay especially considering the time it was written in. The essay discusses at length the problems women have faced in the past to now. It showcases the male-centric attitude of the society in literature and history. Woolf gives an example of Judith, Shakespeare’s sister in the essay to put forth her point. The point of the essay is to explain that there are no stories or characters which are trivial and which shouldn’t be told. Woolf also talks about gendered values of the society. The prevalence of masculine values in society shouldn’t stop one from creating stories or characters the way they want. Not giving into stereotypes is important.

A Room of One’s Own written by Virginia Woolf is a feminist text which talks about creating space for women in literature and figuratively in a traditionally patriarchal society. This is a very interesting read and it makes points which are relatable but it is something which has been expected as a norm.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

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