Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A room of one's own

I don't easily cry. In particular, I never cry at movies, and I almost never cry at books. There is one conspicuous exception to this, though. When I arrive at this sentence in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own I always feel my eyes getting moist:
Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream. For I am by no means confining you to fiction. If you would please me—and there are thousands like me—you would write books of travel and adventure, and research and scholarship, and history and biography, and criticism and philosophy and science.
I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't in the selection from the book published in the Guardian today. For those who haven't read it yet, do read it. Not that sentence only, which is much lamer out of context, and not the Guardian's selection, but the whole book.

Like the Guardian editors, I find it impressive how modern Woolf's feminist essays have stayed, even after a century of such big changes in the relationship among the sexes. I will reserve a list of detailed comparisons between Three Guineas and the department I work in for a later rant.

2 comments:

Holly said...

I haven't read that book; you make me want to though! I also read your post about attractiveness in science. I agree that a beauty and science carnival would be interesting.

estraven said...

Beauty and science is a topic I thought about a lot, but I seldom have occasion to discuss it with colleagues.

I'm a big fan of Virginia Woolf. I must have read both A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas, her feminist essays, several times. But how can I not love an author who
imagined
a young woman who studies mathematics secretly, hiding her formulas in a Greek dictionary?