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A Room of One's Own | Study Guide

Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf

Year Published






At a Glance

In 1928 established English author Virginia Woolf was invited to lecture on the topic of Women and Fiction at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges of England's well-known Cambridge University. The lectures she delivered on this topic were collected, refined, and published in 1929 as the six-part essay A Room of One's Own. Using a combination of literary techniques—ranging from direct address of the audience to following a fictional alter ego through the British Library—Woolf builds a feminist argument. She begins with the claim that to write, a woman must have money and rooms to write in. That is, a woman must have financial independence and a private space to call her own. Only then can she throw off the anger at the social, political, and economic limitations women experience as part of a society designed by men and for men.

Perspective and Narrator

First-person author Virginia Woolf suggests that the audience refer to the primary narrator in A Room of One's Own as Mary Beton. However, Woolf does not consistently refer to her alter ego as Mary Beton; the last name changes throughout the essay. As a fictionalization, the narrator is able to visit fictional places and interact with fictional people, but she speaks on behalf of Woolf as an alter ego.

About the Title

In the essay A Room of One's Own, Woolf concludes female authors need money and rooms of their own to facilitate their writing.


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