Wednesday, August 02, 2006


After many posts about 1946, it is time to write about some other reading I have been doing. Mainly these days I am reading the fiction of 1951, but from time to time I need to move out of that year and read some more current books.

This first one here is actually an older book, from 1929, but is so timeless in its message that it doesn't matter.

A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc, 1929, 118 pp
The famous book, which I have now finally read, was nothing like what I expected. I had thought of Virginia Woolf as some kind of wild mad woman. Now that I think about it, I don't know where I got that idea. I suppose it was from all the recent stuff in the media after "The Hours" came out. Of course, she did end her own life, she did have breakdowns and suffer from depression. Mostly though I suspect that, just as she outlines in A Room of One's Own, because she was a woman who had ideas and published them in the first half of the 20th century, she had to be labeled as insane. Many male authors have breakdowns, suffer from depression and are sexually odd in some way, but they are not usually called insane.

In any case, in A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf comes across as very sane, intelligent and articulate. Her review of women's history versus the arts is balanced and does not particularly make victims of us. She urges and exhorts us to rise above the truly insane statements of various men and take charge of ourselves and our lives. The writing is exquisite, being descriptive of both the outer environment and the inner world. She displays a healthy sense of humor.

Probably any woman working in the arts ought to read A Room of One's Own at least once a year.

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