A room of one’s own
I read this book slowly marking all the notes, quotes, books and authors that were mentioned and their ideas. This book remains a cornerstone of feminist literature because the things said in the book still hold as true in the current times if not more.
A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on the 24th of October, 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women’s colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled Women and Fiction, and hence the essay, are considered nonfiction.
The essay is seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy.
A room of ones own is not just a room, it means a place of peace away from the daily chores the women were and are still expected to do and the financial independence that many women are still struggling to find. These things are not just important to write fiction I feel, but rather to live.
And there’s is a whole other side of the story for which I would highly recommend reading In search for our mother’s garden’ by Alice Walker
“I found myself disagreeing with Woolf. While a room along with funds are certainly important for a person’s state of being, the only real necessity for creating works of fiction is the drive to do so. If Phillis Wheatley, a slave who didn’t even own herself was able to create great poems through great effort to herself then why can’t any other striving female writer?”
“Two of the most famous and well known pieces of fiction, The Iliad and The Odyssey, were passed down through the generations through word of speech until they were finally published once the tools were available to do so. Unfortunately for many of the black mothers described by Walker, their names will never be accredited to the stories their children wrote.”
There’s is no denying in that women like Virginia Woolf even in those days had very different lives from women of color, as now women in different cultures and countries live very different lives. And as a woman of color myself I can say that creating a safe space for women to express their creativity, giving them opportunities for better lives giving them a room of one’s own can definitely help.