A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf


Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends on intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor, not for two hundred years merely, but from the beginning of time. Women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves. [108]

indicative quotes

Of the two--the vote and the money--the money, I own, seemed infitinitely the more important. [37]

It is remarkable, remembering the bitterness of those days, what a change of temper a fixed income will bring about. No force in the world can take from me my five hundred pounds...I need not hate any man; he cannot hurt me. I need not flatter any man; he has nothing to give me. [38]

why bother?

Simple thesis, with argumentation comedic, scathing, literary and historical. Virginia Woolf has just as much verve writing non-fiction.


Woolf is funny

The human frame being what is it, heart, body and brain all mixed together, and not contained in separate compartments as they will be no doubt in another million years. [18]

You cannot, it seems, let children run about the streets. People who have seen them running wild in Russia say that the sight is not a pleasant one. [22]

sometimes evasive re: the book's mission, probably to keep the audience on board

When I rummage in my own mind I find no noble sentiments about being companions and equals and influencing the world to higher ends. I find myself saying briefly and prosaically that it is much more important to be onself than anything else. Do not dream of influencing other people, I would say, if I knew how to make it sound exalted. Think of things in themselves. [111]

androgyny (sexual, tempermental) as a prerequisite for artistic expression

The reason perhaps why we know so little of Shakespeare--compared with Donne or Ben Jonson or Milton--is that his grudges and spites and antipathies are hidden from us. We are not held up by some 'revelation' which reminds us of the writer. All desire to protest, to preach, to proclaim an injury, to pay off a score, to make the world witness of some hardship or grievance was fired out of him and consumed. [56]

She wrote as a woman, but as a woman who has forgotten that she is a woman, so that her pages were full of that curious sexual quality which comes only when sex is unconscious of itself. [93]

It is fatal for any one who writes to think of their sex. It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly and man-womanly. [104]