Woolf in the World: A Pen and a Press of Her Own
Two of Woolf’s most famous feminist essays are shown here. “A Room of One’s Own is a history of a woman’s reading,” according to Hermione Lee in her biography of Woolf, while “Three Guineas makes a woman’s reading of biographies the basis of its attack on her patriarchal culture.” Woolf notes in her letter to the book dealer, Charles Brumwell, that “many people have been made very angry” by Three Guineas. She continues, “I had no axe to grind of my own; but I wrote it in order to make people think about certain facts.” Charles E. Brumwell ran a S.P.C.K. bookshop (Society for Promotion of Christian Knowledge) at 10 Broad Street, Hereford, England.
In Three Guineas Woolf explores the interconnection of patriarchal and fascist tyranny. In her essay, she hoped that the education at women’s colleges would produce the kind of people who will help prevent war. Three Guineas was read by feminist peace activists in the 1960s, and provided many of their slogans. On page 197 of the first edition, Woolf writes: “As a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.”
Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College