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A Room of One's Own

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  118,077 ratings  ·  7,560 reviews
In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister: a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different.This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. But if only she had found the means to create, urges Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Barnes & Noble Books (first published September 1929)
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Clive Campbell Since Virginia Woolf is regarded as one of the most important writers of any language ever, yes. Simply labeling Woolf with the term ''feminism'' is a…moreSince Virginia Woolf is regarded as one of the most important writers of any language ever, yes. Simply labeling Woolf with the term ''feminism'' is a little bit unfair since she was much more than just that. Although not one of my ''top 5'' favourite writers, Woolf is one of the most sympathetic and intelligent writers I have read and writes perhaps the most beautiful lines I have ever read in literature. Similarly, she is universally regarded along with George Orwell, Samuel Johnson and William Hazlitt as among the finest essay writers of the English language. Anything by Woolf (whether you like it or not) is worth reading for her intelligence, use of language, and influence on literature.(less)
Leonardo I think that if I had read this in middle school, some sentences would've confused me, and some social comments would've passed over my head. As its c…moreI think that if I had read this in middle school, some sentences would've confused me, and some social comments would've passed over my head. As its content, there isn't anything inappropiate in the text for middle school students. But I would recommend a teacher guiding the reading and explaining some parts for full understanding of the context and the subtleties of the text(less)

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Kelly
Every woman should read this. Yes, everyone who told me that, you were absolutely right. It is a little book, but it's quite likely to revitalize you. How many 113 page books and/or hour long lectures (the original format of this text) can say that?

This is Woolf's Damn The Man book. It is of course done in an overtly polite British way... until she brings up her fountain pen and stabs them right between the eyes. She manages to make this a work of Romantic sensibility, and yet modern, piercing,
...more
Lisa
I can't believe I only read this book now. I would have needed it when I was 18, and 25, and last year and yesterday!

The opening sentence caught me, right away:

"But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction - what has that got to do with a room of one's own?"

I don't even need to read Virginia Woolf's justification before I exclaim:

"EVERYTHING, it has EVERYTHING to do with a room of one's own!"

Whoever loves art, literature, and the act of writing, drawing or reading knows how h
...more
Trevor
There are so many books that one ‘just knows’ what they are going to be about. I have always ‘known’ about this book and ‘knew’ what it would be about. Feminist rant, right? Oh, these people do so preach to the choir, don’t they? Why do they hate men so much? In the end they are no different to the male chauvinists they are attacking. Why can’t they just be more even handed?

That none of this is the case, of course, does not matter at all, because reiterating received wisdom seems to be all that
...more
jessica
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.’

i am so, so, so grateful as a woman to live in a time where my education is an expectation and my creativity is encouraged. i try to imagine myself 100 years in the past and i hope i would be the kind of woman woolf was - someone who understood the importance of granting women equal opportunities in work and school and who bravely expressed her opinions.

and what i would give to be able to have attended the lec
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on 24 October 1929. The essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928.

While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled "Wom
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
”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. Without that power probably the earth would be unknown. We should still be scratching the outlines of deer on the remains of mutton bones and bartering flints for sheep skins or whatever simple ornament took our unsophisticated taste. Supermen and Fingers of Destiny would never have existed. The Czar and the Kaiser would never have worn cro ...more
Brina
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading my first work by Virginia Woolf was just what the reading doctor ordered after my frustrating experience with Kawabata over this past weekend. In the last few days, I have been organizing my reading challenges for next year, and decided to get a jump start on women's history as well as a January group read in catching up on classics by reading Woolf. Although written ninety years ago, Woolf could be discussing the status of women authors today. Her work remains timely and was a pure joy ...more
Sean Barrs
“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.”

This is a highly charged feminist essay loaded with powerful rhetoric and words that demand to be heard.

Virginia Woolf doesn’t ask for a lot really. She just wants a room of one’s own. Sounds simple enough but this room has far reaching implications. The room is space, space to grow, learn and write. Creativity is the key. Far too often women didn’t get the oppo
...more
Samadrita
Words fail me as I seek to express what I think of Virginia Woolf. Or to sum up in a few measly paragraphs, a book that may just have shattered into a million pieces all my illusions about the art of writing and reshaped my whole perspective.

Have you ever imagined a disembodied voice whispering into your ears, the wisdom of the ages as you flipped through the pages of a book? how often have you conjured up the vision of the writer talking to you, teaching you, humoring you and coaxing you to ope
...more
Violet wells
First thing I'd like to say is I wish I could keep Virginia Woolf alive for all eternity so as to read her thoughts on other writers. My favourite parts of this book, reminding me of my love for The Common Reader, a handbook for how to write a creative review if ever there was one, were often when she discusses the female writers who came before her. Some fabulous insights on Austen (of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness) and Charlotte Bronte in particul ...more
Macy_Novels at Night
I would give 6 stars if I could. What a wonderful reminder as a woman, what we are truly capable of! I believe that Virginia is looked at by some as a feminist that hates men and that is simply not true. She just wants a woman to be able to have the ability to live life to her fullest potential. I am grateful for a woman like Virginia, for bringing these issues to life and pushing women to be their very best. I agree with her statements that women need certain things to be able to write and foll ...more
Riku Sayuj

A World Of Her Own

“Here then I was (call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please – it is not a matter of importance) sitting on the banks of a river a week or two ago in fine October weather, lost in thought.”

And they all do appear, as fictional novelists. Avatars of the Gauri.

Of course, I didn’t know they were so, and I didn't want to find out. I knew Woolf was perfectly capable of inventing novelists and novels inside this small thought-world she was spinning.

W
...more
Piyangie
If a book can stir you, teach you, and guide you as a woman and as a writer, none would do a better job than A Room of One's Own. It is a brilliant work and a masterpiece, “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.” And to me, this work is the collective body that represents the common voice of the women who have struggled to ...more
Dilushani Jayalath
The true pressure one finds themselves in when writing a review can be really taxing. I have had this review open for the past 10 minutes, typing and deleting the first few sentences. Especially when you are an amateur writer and still unable to truly put to words what is felt inside. Virginia Woolf is one of the greatest feminist authors out there. No, the correct manner to express who she truly is by telling that she was one of the foremost feminists at a time the word feminism was growing. A ...more
Henk
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping and modern take on privilege and feminism - 4.5 stars rounded up
Some of the most inspired words, some of the most profound thoughts in literature fall from her lips; in real life she could hardly read, could scarcely spell and was the property of her husband.

An essay, non-fiction...
A poor child in England has little more hope than had the son of an Athenian slave to be emancipated into that intellectual freedom of which great writings are born. That is it. Intellectual freedom depends u
...more
ALet
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
★★★★★ /5
This was a truly great book. Captivating and honest, it kept my attention and was quick but on the other hand really important read. I really liked statements she made and just general her though process and conclusions were logical and thought-provoking.
Highly recommend.
Kalliope



May be if ‘i’ were androgynous, had five hundred a year and a good lock on my own room, ‘i’ would be able to write a truly fabulous review of this already well reviewed book. It would require imagining the room of reviews completely empty and with no tradition for me to draw upon.

Or may be not, even with all those conditions present, 'i' still would not be able to.
...more
Dolors
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers and writers regardless of their gender
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” exposes Woolf and her multiple fictional narrators, Mary Beton, Mary Seton and Mary Carmichael, embodying the universal voices of female writers that once were and the ones that never came to be, while relentlessly beguiling the reader, sinuously spiralling him down with evocative prose, genial dexterity with words and an unapologetic tone dripping with irony, righteousness and lyricism.

Sitting on the riverside in fro
...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
"So that when I ask you to earn money and have a room of your own, I am asking you to live in the presence of reality, an invigorating life, it would appear, whether one can impart it or not."

.
.
.
She sounds like my long lost soul.

"Women are hard on women. Women dislike women. Women - but are you not sick to death of the word?"
.
.
.
My thoughts after reading this book:

She is one hell of a writer. She meant to write this book on women and writing looking back when women would not even dare to think ab
...more
Tara
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Once, I loved Virginia Woolf. She gets two stars here because of that former devotion, and because of the quality of her prose. But this is a toxic book.

Be very clear what Woolf means: to be a writer, one needs to be isolated from life. Art is for the elite of the bourgeois. It is not for your housekeeper. It is not for the janitor at the school where you learned to appreciate the subtleties of verse. It is not for the chef who provides you the lush meals you and your female colleagues mull over
...more
Diane
The only thing better than reading Virginia Woolf is having her work performed by Juliet Stevenson.

I listened to this on audio, performed by the talented Juliet, and I was so impressed that I essentially listened to the book twice. In short, I lovedloveloved this essay by Woolf on women and fiction. When Woolf was asked to talk about women and fiction, she chose to focus on the poverty and subjugation of women in a patriarchy.


"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fi
...more
Rowena
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't really made up my mind about how I feel about Virginia Woolf, until now, that is. This book definitely showed her genius and I loved it. I enjoyed reading about the history of women writers including one of my favourites, George Eliot, and how they have been suppressed systematically by patriarchy. I filed this book under "feminism" but in no way does it ridicule men or say women are better than men, it simply states that women have not been given adequate chances in literature in the p ...more
Paul
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
A standard must read text based on Woolf’s lectures to the two Cambridge colleges which admitted women in 1928. It expresses a clear truth and clear injustice in very inventive ways. She describes her trials and tribulations in writing and researching the lectures using a skilfully woven skein of history, fiction, opinion and musings on the outrageousness of the place of women. The part about Shakespeare’s sister is brilliant.
Woolf is pointing out the importance of space and opportunity that hav
...more
Maria
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It's is 7:45 and Im already waiting dressed as best as I can with my dark suit and white/blue collar shirt outside the office for a meeting I've been expecting over a month. A meeting that perhaps will lead me get closer to accomplish a goal I've been working nonstop for years, just waiting for an opportunity to be given. After fifteen minutes, the secretary arrives and nicely welcomes me. She tells me that the meeting was arranged to be held at 2:00p.m. I don't show her the email and the alarm
...more
Phrynne
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
This book started its life as a series of lectures presented by Virginia Woolf at Cambridge University. What a great experience it must have been to hear her speaking. Her ideas are still solid to the present day and her writing style is wonderful.

I think what I enjoyed most from A Room of One's Own was Woolf's logic and the examples she gave to prove her points. The fact that literature and all the arts were a man's domain for so long just because the expectations of women(marriage and child be
...more
Paula
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Paula by: Catching up on Classics group
Brilliant. Powerful.

“How are we fallen! Fallen by mistaken rules,
And Education’s more than Natures’s fools;
Debarred from all improvements of the mind,
And to be dull, expected and designed;
And if someone would soar above the rest,
With warmer fancy, and ambition pressed,
So strong the opposing faction still appears,
The hopes to thrive can ne’er outweigh the fears.”

- Lady Winchilsea, born in 1661
Quoted by Virginia Woolf

5 out of 5 stars
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Virginia Plain Live

Virginia Woolf constantly defies my expectations, always for the better.

Nothing I had read prepared me for the light and comic touch of this short work (which is not to deny the lasting significance of its subject matter).

The essay grew out of a talk she gave to the female students at two Cambridge Colleges in 1928. She edited and added to it afterwards.

However, it still bears the traces of a live performance. It must have been inspiring to hear it in person.

The Four Marys

At
...more
Nandakishore Varma
Woman's Day Read

Virginia Woolf, in a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928, talked about "Women and Fiction" - which were subsequently collected and expanded into this book. Of course, Virginia being Virginia, any straightforward lecture from her was impossible to expect. So discussions about women and fiction became a talk about "A Room of One's Own" - that too, a room reached by wandering aimlessly t
...more
Erin
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been mulling over what exactly I want to say about this important work that hasn't already been said. So I am just going to let Virginia Woolf do the talking.

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.(page 971 of my Kindle copy)


Lock up your libraries if you like;but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt, that you can set
...more
Jan-Maat
This is a mild book, and a short one, indeed a quick little read, I dragged it out rather more than one needs to. It was originally a lecture on women and fiction, the title is part of Woolf's conclusion.

When I was reading Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass the thought emerged from the recesses of my head that a book is a wonderful thing - one person shares how they perceive the world with unknown people. For reasons I don't pretend to understand that idea didn't consolidate into the review
...more
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15,844 followers
(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 e
...more

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