I’m not sure what it says about my feminism and/or my bookworm-ery that I made it to my 30s without reading A Room of One’s Own. I don’t think I was even particularly interested in reading it… until…
About a year ago, I heard a dramatic reading by an incredibly compelling actress. She sat, in casual clothes, on a stool on an otherwise bare stage, and had the audience (myself included) absolutely enthralled. Before the reading was over, I’d decided that we would definitely be featuring this book in a NovelTea parcel!
A Room of One’s Own is an essay based on two lectures that Virginia Woolf gave in 1928. The title based on Woolf’s premise that in order to write, a woman must have two things; a room of her own, and money to support herself. The essay explores some of the history of female authors and ideas around how women have been excluded from literary culture. Woolf imagines a sister of William Shakespeare, equally talented with words, and how her life may have run differently to her famous brother.
This book was thought-provoking. Predominantly, it reminded me that writing was, and still is, a privilege. To have the time to sit and to think and to craft words. To have access to pen and paper, or a laptop. To have a steady income from elsewhere. To be educated even. These things haunted women through history, and they still haunt many people today.
I think that Woolf’s conclusions are somewhat limited - both by her own privilege and the time in which she was writing - but I still think this book is a worthwhile read.
A Room of One’s Own was featured in the March 2019 Classic parcel from the NovelTea Book Club. If you’d like to learn more, or sign up to receive one of our monthly book & tea subscription parcels, please feel free to check out the rest of our website.