On what would have been Virginia Woolf’s 136th birthday, we’ve compiled some of the quotes that best encapsulate the premise behind her 1929 extended essay: that women are not afforded the same advantages as men; that their creativity is stifled; and that, to be frank, the food they get at college is bad.
Allow these tidbits to convince you that A Room of One’s Own should be high on your must-read list (and reflect on how disturbing it is that they still resonate today).
1/ Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.
2/ All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are 'sides,' and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot.
3/ The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.
4/ Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
5/ Who shall measure the heat and violence of a poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body?
6/ Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
7/ Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.
8/ A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
9/ One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.