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A Room of One's Own

A Room of One's Own

by Virginia Woolf

Wealth (and Poverty) Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Still the same flow of gold and silver went on; fellowships we founded; lectureships endowed [...] Hence the libraries and the laboratories; the observatories; the splendid equipment of costly and delicate instruments which now stands on glass shelves. (1.5)

Yep, cash rules everything around me. Note how Woolf exhaustively lists the material aspects of a fine university. What about the human capital?

Quote #2

What had our mothers been doing then that they had no wealth to leave us? Powdering their noses? Looking in at shop windows? [...] Mary's mother [...] may have been a wastrel in her spare time (she had thirteen children by a minister of the church), but if so her gay and dissipated life had left too few traces of it pleasures on her face. (1.28)

Mary's mother must have been a very busy woman... or women's poverty must be explained some other way. This quotation might remind you of what Woolf has to say about women's writing—that it is passed down from woman to woman, just like money. The better women's writing, the better later writing will be.

Quote #3

It is only in the last forty-eight years that Mrs. Seton has had a penny of her own. For all the centuries before that it would have been her husband's property [...] Every penny I earn, they may have said, will be taken from me and disposed of according to my husband's wisdom—perhaps to found a scholarship in Balliol or Kings. (1.28)

Mrs. Seton is the mother of the fictional Mary Seton, Mary Beton's dinner companion. She comes to stand in for all the impoverished women of the past. And the rub? Any of Mrs. Seton's money could be taken by her husband and used to found, say, a university scholarship—just for boys.

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