A Room of One's Own is a very clear example of how creative thinkers connect and present things in novel ways.
Based on the text of a talk given by Virginia Woolf at an all-female Cambridge college, Room considers the subject of 'women and fiction.' Woolf’s approach is to ask why, in the early 20th century, literary history presented so few examples of canonically 'great' women writers. The common prejudices of the time suggested this was caused by (and proof of) women's creative and intellectual inferiority to men. Woolf argued instead that it was to do with a very simple fact: across the centuries, male-dominated society had systematically prevented women from having the educational opportunities, private spaces and economic independence to produce great art. At a time when 'art' was commonly considered to be a province of the mind that had no relation to economic circumstances, this was a novel proposal. More novel, though, was Woolf's manner of arguing and proving her contentions: through a fictional account of the limits placed on even the most privileged women in everyday existence. An impressive early example of cultural materialism, A Room of One's Own is an exemplary encapsulation of creative thinking.
Table of Contents
Ways In to the Text
Who was Virginia Woolf?
What does A Room of One's Own Say?
Why does A Room of One's Own Matter?
Section 1: Influences
Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context
Module 2: Academic Context
Module 3: The Problem
Module 4: The Author's Contribution
Section 2: Ideas
Module 5: Main Ideas
Module 6: Secondary Ideas
Module 7: Achievement
Module 8: Place in the Author's Work
Section 3: Impact
Module 9: The First Responses
Module 10: The Evolving Debate
Module 11: Impact and Influence Today
Module 12: Where Next?
Glossary of Terms
People Mentioned in the Text
Dr Tim Smith-Laing took his DPhil at Merton College, Oxford, and has held positions at Jesus College, Oxford, and Sciences Politiques in Paris.
Dr. Fiona Robinson holds a PhD in early twentieth-century English literature from Yale University.