A Room of One's Own

a room of one's own

what factors according to Virginia Woolf, that would prevent Shakespeare's sister from achieving literary greatness?

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Virginia Woolf's context for this book is a lecture that she is giving on the topic of women and fiction. Her premise is basically that women, in Shakespeare's time, had no voice. They were portrayed in the mythology of men. This isn't to say that they had nothing important to write, if they knew how to write. She embodies her thoughts in the mind of an unnamed narrator. The narrator speculates what a woman like Shakespeare's sister might have had to say. She invents a woman named Judith Shakespeare. Judith is as gifted as her brother but has no education. She learns in secret by herself. When she refuses marriage she is cast out by her father, ends up with a theatre manager, gets pregnant and finally kills herself. Woolf's point is that Judith, with all her intellect, never had a chance. Her brilliance was silenced by virtue of her gender. If only Judith could have afforded a room of her own. Imagine what she could have achieved.


A Room of One's Own