Study Guide

A Room of One's Own Literature and Writing

By Virginia Woolf

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Literature and Writing

For one million dollars: what do geniuses need to write great books? (You've used up all your lifelines.) Oh, okay, need a hint? Well, how come Shakespeare was able to be so awesome? Instead of asking the audience, Woolf takes the history books down off the shelf and works out her own ideas. In A Room of Her Own, the simple answer is that writers need money and their own space to write anything good. But they need more than that: great writers need to send the male and female parts of their minds out on a hot date. And with this metaphor, Mary describes what's going on in the mind of an awesome writer: some sexy, sexy gender-bending.

Questions About Literature and Writing

  1. How could something fictional—i.e., made up—ever tell the truth? Does fiction have limits to what it can tell? How about facts?
  2. For Woolf, do life and writing have any connection? Do certain lives create certain kinds of literature? And what would a novel written by a dog look like?
  3. Do women's bodies—their physical beings—affect their writing?

Chew on This

For Woolf, fiction can express more truth than actual truth.

As far as Woolf is concerned, you'll never be able to write anything good unless you're independently wealthy.

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