Woolf in the World: A Pen and a Press of Her Own

A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas

A Room of One's OwnTwo 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.

Virginia Woolf. A Room of One’s Own. London: Hogarth Press, 1929. Presented by Marjorie Bache Menden ’30.

Woolf letter to Charles Brumwell
Virginia Woolf. Letter to Charles E. Brumwell,
12 July 1938.

Three GuineasIn 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.”

Virginia Woolf. Three Guineas. London: Hogarth Press, 1938. Presented by Frances Hooper ’14. Dust jacket designed by Vanessa Bell.

Three Guineas (inside pages)
Virginia Woolf. Three Guineas. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, [1938].
Inscribed on the front flyleaf: “Elizabeth Power, January 13, 1947”
and bequeathed by Mrs. Richardson in 1998.

Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College

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