Essay about Woolf's Vision in A Room of One's Own

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Woolf's Vision in A Room of One's Own Many years have lapsed sinee Virginia Woolf spoke at Newnham and Girton colleges on the subject of women and fiction. Her remarkable words are preserved for future generations of women in A Room of One's Own. This essay is the "first manifesto of the modern feminist movement" (Samuelson), and has been called "a notable preamble to a kind of feminine Declaration of Independence" (Muller 34). Woolf writes that her modest goal for this ground-breaking essay is to "encourage the young women--they seem to get fearfully depressed" (qtd. in Gordon xiv). This treatise on the history of women's writings, reasons for the scarcity of great women artists, and suggestions for future literary…show more content…
She preserves this intimacy in the written essay as well. Woolf's nephew and biographer, Quentin Bell, writes that "in A Room of One's Own one hears Virginia speaking . . . . she gets very close to her conversational style" (144). Rather than submit her audience to the usual "dictation of the expert to the ignorant" (Marcus, Virginia 145), Woolf involves her audience in her quest for answers. She advises them that she plans to "make use of all the liberties and licenses of a novelist," that her fiction is "likely to contain more truth than fact," and that they must "seek out this truth and . . . decide whether any part of it is worth keeping" (4-5). She does not disclose "the truth as she sees it"; rather, she requires the audience to "participate in the drama of asking questions and searching for Woolf's creative departure from established lecture style delightfully foreshadows her intent to generate entirely new feminine traditions and searching for answers" (Marcus, Virginia 145). Woolf encourages women to personally participate and identify with her ideas. She creates a fictitious narrator through which she chronicles her thoughts and discoveries as she researches the topic of 'women and fiction, "'I' is only a convenient term for somebody who has no real being . . . call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please--it is not a matter of any importance" (4-5). Ellen Rosenman writes that by
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