Virginia Woolf, the feminist

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Today (28th March) marks the 76th death anniversary of Virginia Woolf, a woman who inspired the Modernist canon. But Virginia Woolf was not merely the queen of Modernist writing (after all, she championed the stream of consciousness). Her works are also a delicious unpacking of the feminist agenda. From To The Lighthouse, Orlando, Mrs. Dalloway to A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf’s books has been adamant about women living their lives as they saw best. Her collection of essays A Room of One’s Own is considered a seminal text that speaks about building a history of women’s writing, women’s access to education and lesbianism.  

Here’s a collection of some her truly inspiring words to wake the guerrilla girls within all of us:

On women and writing

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

On patriarchy

“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”

On same-sex love

“…Do not start. Do not blush. Let us admit in the privacy of our own society that these things sometimes happen. Sometimes women do like women… (and) how interesting it would have been if the relationship between the two women had been more complicated. All these relationships between women, I thought, rapidly recalling the splendid gallery of fictitious women, are too simple. So much has been left out, unattempted.”

On depression

“When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Brontë who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to.”

On misogyny

“A woman knows very well that, though a wit sends her his poems, praises her judgment, solicits her criticism, and drinks her tea, this by no means signifies that he respects her opinions, admires her understanding, or will refuse, though the rapier is denied him, to run through the body with his pen.”

On grief

“Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.”

On HIStory

“But what I find deplorable, I continued, looking about the bookshelves again, is that nothing is known about women before the eighteenth century. I have no model in my mind to turn about this way and that. Here am I asking why women did not write poetry in the Elizabethan age, and I am not sure how they were educated; whether they were taught to write; whether they had sitting-rooms to themselves; how many women had children before they were twenty-one; what, in short, they did from eight in the morning till eight at night.”












You can read Virginia Woolf on Juggernaut here


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