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A Room Of One's Own: Virginia Woolf
London: Hogarth Press, 1929.

A Room Of One's Own cover

Woolf’s feminist essay uses the metaphor of a room of one’s own to represent liberty and independence from patriarchy. The essay is based upon lectures Woolf gave at Cambridge in 1928 about “Women and Fiction.” While she was at Cambridge, Woolf noticed the differences in wealth between the men’s and the women’s colleges and lamented “the poverty of our sex.” Woolf concludes her essay with the following observation: “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” (In 1909 Woolf inherited £2500 from her aunt Caroline Stephen, which allowed her the freedom to write.) Woolf also acknowledges her mentors, including Aphra Behn, realizing that “a woman writing thinks back through her mothers.” Many modern writers have also acknowledged Woolf’s influence on them, including Sylvia Plath: “Virginia Woolf helps. Her novels make mine possible.”

Presented by the family of Eleanor Chilton Agar ’22
Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College

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