Anthony's Reviews > A Room of One's Own

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
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's review
Jan 02, 11

bookshelves: classics, read-in-2010
Read from December 11 to 20, 2010

I'm not exactly sure why I started reading this one. I found it for $1 in a used book store in Milwaukee this last summer while on my lunch break from an internship/pyramid scheme I was taking part in. I had previously read Woolf's "Orlando" which was given to me as a birthday gift since I share a name with the title character, and was a little put off from the get go since the gift bearer presented it thusly: "Yeah, it's a book about a guy that becomes a girl and has lots of sex. With men. It's about you having sex with men." Good one.

Anyway, i couldn't deny that that was one of the craziest-ass books I'd ever read. While I could certainly dislike my friends sense of humor, I could at worst say Virginia Woolf's writing was interesting. So I gladly traded a buck for another crack at one of her works.

Now back to the present and me writing about "A Room of One's Own". (... Ok I literally just finished this; will continue after some more reflection/beer)

Several days later:

Alright, I felt like I was reading some very obvious material. This book is (I believe...) an essay that Virginia Woolf presented at a college where she was invited to speak about women and literature. Rather then speculate solely on the merits of various works authored by women, she instead calls to attention the ridiculousness of differentiating the sexes by much more than physiology. She makes all her points rather brilliantly and remains engaging the whole way through, but I guess I was at first somewhat confused by the notion of why such a speech was necessary I felt like I hadn't really taken away much from this book that wasn't already there before. I don't think I've ever assumed I was more intelligent or creative or anything more than maybe physically stronger than the average woman; then I recalled some specific persons she cited in her speech. She notes how a certain well known english professor wrote "the most intelligent and creative woman is inferior to the least gifted man." or something along those lines. She relates stories of various female authors she has know have had to write in secrecy or under the guise of a male name. She begins her speech with a story about how she once was denied admittance to a library because she was without a male escort.

Eventually I became aware that I had learned something from this read. That while I had learned about the mistreatment of women and presumed inequality and all that, it never really hit me until i finished this book that "That shit was real." I never in a million years could have identified what it would be like to essentially be forced into servitude and to be blocked from expressing any sort of creative notion I might have simply because of the configuration of my genitals. I still can't identify at all, but this book kinda gave a slap in the face and said, "yeah, people were like that."

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