A Room of One's Own, based on a lecture given at Girton College Cambridge, is one of the great feminist polemics. Woolf's blazing polemic on female creativity, the role of the writer, and the silent fate of Shakespeare's imaginary sister remains a powerful reminder of a woman's need for financial independence and intellectual freedom.
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Required reading for literary critics, feminists,
I love Virginia Woolf's ability to build a scene, or series of scenes, around a metaphor. The book opens in fictional Oxbridge, a conflation of Oxford and Cambridge, where Woolf's (or the narrator's--are they the same person?) journey from an opulent men-only college to the down-at-heel women's college of Fernham perfectly captures societal views towards women and education. The scenes aren't rigid enough to qualify as allegory; rather, they allow the reader to explore the ideas from a number of angles.
Though ostensibly a work of non-fiction, A Room of One's Own is replete with fictional characters, all metaphors or allegories to explore different facets of women and literature, women in literature, and literature by women. She posits a theoretical Judith Shakespeare, for example, sister to the famed playwright, to demonstrate why even a woman with tremendous talent and dedication often cannot succeed as a writer.
I can't recall any of Juliet Stevenson's other work, but I can say that her voice perfectly fits the tone of A Room of One's Own. She lends the material the dignity it deserved, and yet also captures Woolf's occasional whimsical flourishes perfectly.
I'm not even going to attempt to answer this question. For one thing, the audience for such a film would be so tiny that even the most intrepid indie filmmaker would pass it over without a second thought. And while there might be certain scenes or vignettes that would translate beautifully to film, the highly theoretical nature of the book would not work well on screen.
I recently attempted reading Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, her stream-of-consciousness effort in the vein of James Joyce's Ulysses, and found it unpalatable. Modernist literature simply isn't to my taste. Yet I recognized her power as a writer.
A Room of One's Own is one of the finest pieces of non-fiction I've read. I happen to be an aspiring literary critic and also, dare I say this as a man?, a feminist. Yet even forgoing all that, Woolf's powerful prose, and also her ability to temper her words with restraint, is beautiful to read.
- Seth H. Wilson
The great Woolf