March is Women's Lit Event Month at Lost in Books and today we are celebrating with Julie from Book Hooked Blog. She is reviewing Woolf's A Room of One's Own. Welcome, Julie!
I was so excited when I saw that Becca was hosting a Women's Lit event. It's so important to celebrate women who are involved in literature and how opportunities for women to write have changed so drastically in the last hundred years. I knew right away that I'd want to read and write about A Room of One's Own. I read a portion of the book/extended essay (it's right around 110 pages) in college and it has never left me.
The portion I read at that time was the story of Shakespeare's sister, who, in Woolf's imagination, was also a talented writer. Like all women of her time, she is not afforded any educational opportunities and is forced into an engagement as a young teen. When she runs away to follow her older brother to London, she tries to get a job at a playhouse but is laughed away. Eventually she is taken on as a lover, rejected for her promiscuity, and winds up dead, her body abandoned in a ditch after less than a year in London.
It was this story that drew me in, but the truth is that the entire essay, originally written as a speech, but expanded on later, is a very important read. The basis for the essay, and the title, come from Virginia's Woolf's thoughts on what women need to write. Her premise is that women need an income of 500 pounds a year (enough to live on in her time) and a room of her own to write in.
Woolf is a beautiful writer and the essay is both charming, inspiring, and hilarious. Her wit blew me away. The portion I had read in college was wonderful, but it didn't showcase the depth of Woolf's sense of humor. I think, had I known her, she and I would have liked each other or at least shared a sense of humor. She's sarcastic and dry, but in a very witty way. It's not only an important work in terms of women's literature, but it's also an enjoyable read and, as a bonus, short enough to read in one sitting.