Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Three Guineas” as Want to Read:
Three Guineas
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Three Guineas

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,912 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Three Guineas is written as a series of letters in which Virginia Woolf ponders the efficacy of donating to various causes to prevent war. In reflecting on her situation as the "daughter of an educated man" in 1930s England, Woolf challenges liberal orthodoxies and marshals vast research to make discomforting and still-challenging arguments about the relationship between g ...more
Paperback, annotated, 352 pages
Published July 3rd 2006 by Mariner Books (first published 1938)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Three Guineas, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Three Guineas

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfThe Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
Best Feminist Books
135th out of 1,374 books — 1,937 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThe Awakening by Kate Chopin
Best Feminist Fiction
146th out of 1,042 books — 2,205 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Four score years ago Woolf envisioned a time when the very prospect of members of her sex delivering sermons from the pulpit will not elicit scorn or sneers, when the blonde-wigged, ageing torch-bearers of society would allow women to administer justice, climb the ranks of the distinguished Civil Service and teach young men in universities. The indefatigable benevolence of time has transformed many of her ardent wishes into reality not only within the confines of England but beyond.
And yet as I
Sentimental Surrealist
Jan 24, 2016 Sentimental Surrealist rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in social justice, social justice opponents who need a good smack upside the head
If you take it from the patriarchy's most slavishly devoted agents, the so-stupid-they-practically-drool white men ("not all m-" *defenestrates protester*) who upload videos on YouTube where they yell about how everyone's way too emotional, the dumbasses, why can't they be fucking rational like us ("yeah, well, double dumbass on you," sez a Captain Kirk displaced into the '80s), anyone who actually gets passionate about social justice is just proving the irrationality of it all. While meanwhile ...more
…it matters not just because women win. It matters because it means we have a seat at the table. And everybody in this room knows the basic rule, if you don’t have a seat at the table, you are probably on the menu.

—Senator Elizabeth Warren

This is my seventh Woolf. I own ten more. It is not often that I unconsciously commit myself so thoroughly to a single author, for when I was young and did not have recourse to Goodreads for purposes of planning out further successful reads, I followed each a
Mar 13, 2013 Sheila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, owned
Let us get straight to the point. For unlike Virginia Woolf who waited three years to answer the question how can women prevent war, I can't wait that long for me to understand what is happening in the south of the Philippines where Filipinos are fighting with the Malaysians over a property called Sabah.

So how, according to Ms. Woolf, can women prevent war?


Women can have great influence in this futuristic society that can communicate to millions at the touch of a button, but still c
May 01, 2010 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
This is not, at least in my understanding, typical Woolf. Argumentatively speaking, it definitely strikes one as a companion to A Room of One's Own (though in her diaries, VW mentioned that she thought 3Gs to be a great deal better argued than Room), but stylistically, it's different from any other Woolf I've read. Usually you're able to pick up easily on Woolf's satire, her gentle mocking tone; here, the parody is so subtle that at times you find yourself re-reading a sentence to make sure she ...more
Nov 08, 2007 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I've heard Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas (1938) called the unofficial companion to A Room of One's Own. In theearlier book, Woolf connects systematic sexism to economics and art. She contends that a sister of Shakespeare, equal in the Bard's talent, would never write a word. All people deserve a living wage and private space, or else their potential will never be reached. It's not an act of charity either; our very society depends upon it. What has been lost because creative geniuses who were ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Jesi rated it it was amazing
V. WOOLF: *drops mic*
Belinda G
Feb 14, 2015 Belinda G rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, university, 2015
This is a great feminist rant about the disgusting nature of male interference in women's education and how women could prevent war. She also takes a few deft stabs at fascism and patriotism, in searing Woolf style. It makes me sad that so much of this is still relevant. I even kept forgetting that this was written in the 20th Century and not in the 18th or 19th... a lot has changed, but there's still ingrained remnants of this attitude remaining in society.
I liked A Room of One's Own more, as t
Mar 04, 2013 Maria rated it it was amazing
Without a hint of a doubt, my favourite, most cherished book of VW. i would go as far to say that this is, in fact, my favourite book ever and the best book I ever read.
It should be read at school instead of Mrs Dalloway, and that would change the (totally wrong and unfair) negative opinion many have on this writer. Three guineas is a a cry, a prayer, and a strong affirmation of equality between men and women and of the right to education, and an amazing song of love for all women of all times.
Molly Amster
Feb 07, 2008 Molly Amster rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Another stinger...go Virginia!

"Though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes."

"The value of education is among the greatest of all human values."

"Should we not help her to crush him in our own country before we ask her to help us to crush him abroad? And what right have we, Sir, to trumpet our ideals of freedom and justice to other countries when we can shake out from our most respectable newspapers any day of the week eggs like these?"

"Let us never cease from thinking - what is
Jun 17, 2011 Burcu rated it really liked it
I like the polemical style of Woolf. Her literary finesse combined with intellectual acuteness make her arguments quite effective. A most memorable passage from the essays reads:

"if you insist upon fighting to protect me, or “our” country, let it be understood, soberly and rationally between us, that you are fighting to gratify a sex instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits which I have not shared and probably will not share; but not to gratify my instincts, or to protect either myself
Feb 07, 2016 Alayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Su clase ha sido educada en las llamadas escuelas públicas y en las universidades durante quinientos o seiscientos años, la nuestra durante setenta. Fijémonos en la propiedad de bienes. Su clase posee por derecho propio y no a través del matrimonio, prácticamente todo el capital, todas las tierras, todos los valores y todos los cargos de Inglaterra. Por propio derecho y no mediante matrimonio, nuestra clase prácticamente carece de capital, de tierras, de valores y cargos en Inglaterra. Ningú
A 2.5-star book.

Some years ago I came across this book “Three Guineas” by Virginia Woolf and didn’t want to read it since it looked tough to me. Indeed, some readers who enjoy reading her might not agree with me. I mean, while reading it, it’s arguably tough due to her innumerable lengthy reasons deftly raised to support her points, that is, she’s written like a professor. Incidentally, its readers would have no choice but keep reading it and be stunned by most of her lengthy paragraphs; therefo
May 18, 2016 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading most of Virginia Woolf novels (except for one) I have decided to move on to her non-fiction works. Wasn't really a fan of this topic, I mean it was interesting, but if it was written by someone else I wouldn't bother to read Three Guineas.

This is long essay about giving women the right to have a good college education to maybe prevent wars from starting or giving anyone the proper education to see that war is bad. Woolf herself was a feminist and she was against wars. She didn't li
Drew Hoffman
Feb 08, 2014 Drew Hoffman rated it it was amazing
Virginia Woolf's brilliant exposition pondering the status of women and pacifism is as timely as ever and a potent reminder of how far we've come as a more equal society and how ever so much work there is left to do. Eloquent passages such as this inform and inflame the mind: “The questions that we have to ask and to answer about that procession during this moment of transition are so important that they may well change the lives of men and women forever. For we have to ask ourselves, here and n ...more
Hannah Lockhart
Overall, an interesting analysis of war, feminism and class. I agreed with her in relation to her assertions that war is an expression of patriarchal values; a commonplace view these days but revolutionary at the time of writing.
As the unofficial companion to 'A Room of One's Own', this text is arguably more academic than the former and yet, for me, it lacked the artistic flair that I held so dear when reading A Room. It didn't have the same emotional draw, in my view but still, worth a read.
Ah Virginia Woolf, how I love you and your sly sarcasm, your subtle wit.
Such an inspiration.
Aug 18, 2007 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
I read this book in college, and fell in love with it. I love her almost anthropological analysis of men, education, and war - the decorations of university students in robes compared to the medals and uniforms in the military, how ornamentation and pride play a role in the cause of war. Woolf's nonfiction writing has more of an appeal to me; in these works, she uses her observations and descriptive writing to convince an audience.
Jul 08, 2007 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read any of Woolf's fiction. But her nonfiction is brilliant. This "essay" is a series of letters back-and-forth and explains why, by definition, a woman cannot support state-sponsored aggression. Woolf argues that before women can engage in reform and revolution, the paradigms of this world need to be reformed. This is a man's world, and until it is made for women, too, Woolf argues women canot be agents of change.
Aug 30, 2015 Seth rated it it was amazing
Three essays responding to requests for three charitable donations from various progressive causes. She outlines the conditions with which she makes the donation in each case. How the benefactors should and how they should not use the money. She challenges many liberal sacred cows along the way, and argues that the three requests are interrelated. Every single paragraph is amazing.
Don't skip the footnotes which make up almost a third the length of the book. She tucks away several important argu
The easy joke: Three Guineas is why you never ask Virginia Woolf for money.

Three letters each ask for a donation for their cause: the first asks what can be done to prevent war, the second asks for funds to rebuild a woman's college, and the third asks for money to help secure jobs for the daughters of educated men. Woolf eventually answers all three, connecting the situations of all three together.

She makes a lot of good points here building off of and going far beyond A Room of One's Own in th
Nov 14, 2013 Roberta rated it it was amazing
I don’t think words can express how much I love Virginia Woolf. In my opinion, she was one of the greatest minds to ever walk this earth and everyone should read her work. Three Guineas is no exception.

Even though a couple of her arguments are a little dated, since (even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it) women have more rights today than they did back then, but the majority of the book still applies to today’s society.

Basically, this book is Woolf’s response to a letter she received from
Feb 27, 2013 McKenzie rated it liked it
Three Guineas is Virginia Woolf's response to a letter from a man asking her how to prevent war, sent during the Spanish Civil War and on the cusp of WWII, when Europe was consumed with anti-fascist and anti-Nazi concerns. Woolf's response is well articulated and her arguments are easy to follow, even when she follows a point of contention down a convoluted path; her language and writing style are impeccable.

However, the content of those arguments is the reason I only gave Three Guineas three s
Mar 16, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
Three essays in developing three responses to three letters. The first, concerning the education of women, I found a bit stuffy. The second, concerning the employment of educated women, I found very exciting: filled with biting satire, generous compassion, fierce intelligence, and gentle patience. The third, concerning (the overarching question of the book) how women can help prevent war, I enjoyed, but it wasn't as exciting as the second. I appreciated a lot of Woolf's analysis of women's situa ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you write Virginia Woolf a letter, you better actually want a response. I can't say this is my favorite read of hers. She makes some very interesting arguments in places but it's hard to read straight through because it feels fairly scattered.
Johnny D
Jan 30, 2009 Johnny D rated it it was amazing
This is Virginia Woolf's feminist manifesto. Deftly appropriating the epistolary format, the Goddess of Letters answers three appeals for help in the anti-war effort. Along the way, she reveals the emptiness of bland pacifism, social idealism, and even women's equality (if said equality is achieved by merely mimicking the man's world).

We are all fascists: Germany, England, America. Society itself is built on the fascist premise of dominance. The answer is a Society of Outsiders: women who can wo
May 08, 2008 finn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to finn by: Melissa
virginia woolf's sarcasm is so delicious:

"the law of england sees to it that we do not inherit great possessions; the law of england denies us, and let us hope will long continue to deny us, the full stigma of nationality. then we can scarcely doubt that our brothers will provide us for many centuries to come, as they have done for many centuries past, with what is so essential for sanity, and so invaluable in preventing the great modern sins of vanity, egotism, and megalomania - that is to say
Oct 21, 2014 Toliver rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-movements
In Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf presages E.P. Thompson’s understanding of class as a relationship rather than a “thing” in her analysis of gendered discrimination. Social categories such as “the working class” and “women” (as a single social or political group) are convenient terms because they succinctly represent a complex series of historical meanings and interactions. At the same time, they have been used to demarcate groups that participated in, if not a lesser, then certainly a separate h ...more
Aug 17, 2008 Lily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "feminists" who would never use that word to describe themselves
Revolutionary and thought-provoking. Reading this book was like jumping into an ice-cold stream ... shocking at first (it wasn't what I was expecting) and totally refreshing.

Definitely read this book if you question the meaning and use of gender, of words like "feminism," if you wonder how to prevent war or how women reacted to the dawning of World War II.

Reading this book helped me see my life more clearly and find pride in who and what I am. I think it could help anybody else do the same.
Nancy Nguyen
May 26, 2013 Nancy Nguyen rated it it was amazing
That was a difficult read. I'm not sure what it is. A polemic? A manifesto? A book of three very long essays? All I know is that it was very radical during the time in terms of feminism, and that's totally awesome. I especially liked her note on how war is imbedded in our culture, so much so that we're almost pushed into warring because of it. I liked that. What a great mind she was. What an inspiration.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: Three Guineas - Virginia Woolf 5 19 Oct 22, 2014 04:58PM  
  • On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978
  • Justice, Gender, and the Family
  • Coming to Writing and Other Essays
  • Writing a Woman's Life
  • Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Sexual Politics
  • Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle
  • In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution
  • Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her
  • Pornography: Men Possessing Women
  • Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Liberation Movement
  • Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women's Liberation Movement
  • The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography
  • The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution
  • James Baldwin: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations
(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es
More about Virginia Woolf...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“No guinea of earned money should go to rebuilding the college on the old plan just as certainly none could be spent upon building a college upon a new plan: therefore the guinea should be earmarked "Rags. Petrol. Matches." And this note should be attached to it. "Take this guinea and with it burn the college to the ground. Set fire to the old hypocrisies. Let the light of the burning building scare the nightingales and incarnadine the willows. And let the daughters of educated men dance round the fire and heap armful upon armful of dead leaves upon the flames. And let their mothers lean from the upper windows and cry, "Let it blaze! Let it blaze! For we have done with this 'education!” 14 likes
“The questions that we have to ask and to answer about that procession during this moment of transition are so important that they may well change the lives of men and women forever. For we have to ask ourselves, here and now, do we wish to join that procession, or don't we? On what terms shall we join that procession? Above all, where is it leading us, the procession of educated men?...Let us never cease from thinking--what is this "civilisation" in which we find ourselves? What are these ceremonies and why should we take part in them? What are these professions and why should we make money out of them? Where in short is it leading us, the procession of the sons of educated men?” 4 likes
More quotes…