A Room of One's Own

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feminist criticism

Aphra Behn (1640—1689) writer

Dorothy Osborne (1627—1695) letter writer

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A feminist essay by V. Woolf, published 1929 and based on two lectures on ‘Women and Fiction’.

The author describes the educational, social, and financial disadvantages and prejudices against which women have struggled throughout history, arguing that women will not be able to write well and freely until they have the privacy and independence implied by ‘a room of one's own’ and ‘five hundred a year’. She pays tribute to women writers of the past (including A. Behn, D. Osborne, J. Austen, and the Brontës); and projects a future in which increasing equality would enable women to become not only novelists but poets. In the last chapter she discusses the concept of ‘androgyny’, pleading for unity and harmony rather than a rigid separation into ‘male’ and ‘female’ qualities.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

Virginia Woolf (1882—1941) writer and publisher