A Room of One's Own Quotes

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A Room of One's Own A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
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A Room of One's Own Quotes (showing 1-30 of 111)
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. ”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“...who shall measure the heat and violence of a poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body?”
Virginia Woolf, A Room Of One's Own
“I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee’s life of the poet. She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross–roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here to–night, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her. For my belief is that if we live another century or so—I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals—and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting–room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky. too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton’s bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would he impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worth while.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“What is meant by “reality”? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech—and then there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Why, if it was an illusion, not praise the catastrophe, whatever it was, that destroyed illusion and put truth in it's place?”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Anyone who has the temerity to write about Jane Austen is aware of [two] facts: first, that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness; second, that there are twenty-five elderly gentlemen living in the neighbourhood of London who resent any slight upon her genius as if it were an insult to the chastity of their aunts.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are 'sides,' and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Women and fiction remain, so far as I am concerned, unsolved problems.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
tags: books
“Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“It is strange how a scrap of poetry works in the mind and makes the legs move in time to it along the road.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Truth had run through my fingers. Every drop had escaped.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Have you any notion how many books are written about women in the course of one year? Have you any notion how many are written by men? Are you aware that you are, perhaps, the most discussed animal in the universe?”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“However, the majority of women are neither harlots nor courtesans; nor do they sit clasping pug dogs to dusty velvet all through the summer afternoon. But what do they do then? and there came to my mind’s eye one of those long streets somewhere south of the river whose infinite rows are innumerably populated. With the eye of the imagination I saw a very ancient lady crossing the street on the arm of a middle-aged woman, her daughter, perhaps, both so respectably booted and furred that their dressing in the afternoon must be a ritual, and the clothes themselves put away in cupboards with camphor, year after year, throughout the summer months. They cross the road when the lamps are being lit (for the dusk is their favourite hour), as they must have done year after year. The elder is close on eighty; but if one asked her what her life has meant to her, she would say that she remembered the streets lit for the battle of Balaclava, or had heard the guns fire in Hyde Park for the birth of King Edward the Seventh. And if one asked her, longing to pin down the moment with date and season, but what were you doing on the fifth of April 1868, or the second of November 1875, she would look vague and say that she could remember nothing. For all the dinners are cooked; the plates and cups washed; the children sent to school and gone out into the world. Nothing remains of it all. All has vanished. No biography or history has a word to say about it. And the novels, without meaning to, inevitably lie.

All these infinitely obscure lives remain to be recorded, I said, addressing Mary Carmichael as if she were present; and went on in thought through the streets of London feeling in imagination the pressure of dumbness, the accumulation of unrecorded life, whether from the women at the street corners with their arms akimbo, and the rings embedded in their fat swollen fingers, talking with a gesticulation like the swing of Shakespeare’s words; or from the violet-sellers and match-sellers and old crones stationed under doorways; or from drifting girls whose faces, like waves in sun and cloud, signal the coming of men and women and the flickering lights of shop windows. All that you will have to explore, I said to Mary Carmichael, holding your torch firm in your hand.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“If woman had no existence save in the fiction written by men, one would imagine her a person of the utmost importance (...); as great as a man, some think even greater. But this is woman in fiction. In fact, as Professor Trevelyan points out [in his History of England], she was locked up, beaten and flung about the room.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“If we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women...”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
“Like most uneducated Englishwomen, I like reading--I like reading books in the bulk.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

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