But, you might say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction – what has that got to do with a room of one’s own?
I will try to explain …
– a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction …
I have just finished re-reading A Room of One’s Own, this time in Norwegian translation. Once again I am struck by the actuality of Woolf’s writing.
The essay A Room of One’s Own is framed as a spoken lecture. It originated out of two talks given at a university; actually the university her brothers attended. (There were however no family funding for higher education of Virginia or her sister Vanessa).
A Room of One’s Own (1929) was an immediate success with its readers; it has never gone out of print either in the UK or the US.
In my privileged part of the world equal rights are secured by the government in form of legislations, but looking around I see that even in my own democracy women are being harassed & supressed in many strange ways – especially through misogynistic religions. So – unfortunately – A Room of One’s Own delivers a still relevant critique of patriarchal societies.
The Sitting Room at Monk’s House. The armchair was one of Virginia Woolf’s favourite reading chairs. It is upholstered in a fabric designed by her sister, Vanessa
Going back to the origin, to Woolf’s situation in 1929, biographer Hermione Lee says:
A Room of One’s Own could be read as Woolf’s own disguised economic biography
– at this point of her life, at the age of 46, after having published 6 novels +, Woolf had sufficient money to plan, build, and furnish a new room at Monk’s House in Sussex. (Her reviews and essays continued to bring in more money than her fiction).
In A Room of One’s Own Woolf claim that women need an income of £500 a year, in today’s money this would equal a middleclass income.