Virginia Woolfs Vision Essay Research Paper Virginia

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Virginia Woolf`S Vision Essay, Research Paper Virginia Woolf’s Vision Almost sixty-five years have lapsed sinee Virginia Woolf spoke at Newnham and Girton colleges on the subject of women and fiction. Her remarkable words are preserved for future generations of women in A Room of One’s Own. This essay is the “first manifesto of the modern feminist movement” (Samuelson), and has been called “a notable preamble to a kind of feminine Declaration of Independence” (Muller 34). Woolf writes that her modest goal for this ground-breaking essay is to “encourage the young women–they seem to get fearfully depressed” (qtd. in Gordon xiv). This treatise on the history of women’s writings, reasons for the scarcity of great women artists, and suggestions for future

literary creators and creations accomplishes far more than simple inspiration and motivation for young writers. Woolf questions the “effect . . . poverty [has] on fiction” and the “conditions . . . necessary for the creation of works of art” (25), and she persuasively argues that economics are as important as talent and inspiration in the creative process. She emphatically states and, with brilliant fiction, supports her thesis that every woman “must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” (4). Woolf’s witty and beautifully crafted essay has a practical message for aspiring women writers: as pioneers in the virtually unexplored frontier of women’s literature, and to create timeless, powerful works of art, they must forsake the established

mores of masculine creativity and forge their own traditions and styles. Woolf introduces this new literary tradition through the structure of her lecture. Rather than follow the traditional format established through centuries of male lecturing, she “transform[s] the formidable lecture form into an intimate conversation among female equals” (Marcus, “Still” 79). She preserves this intimacy in the written essay as well. Woolf’s nephew and biographer, Quentin Bell, writes that “in A Room of One’s Own one hears Virginia speaking . . . . she gets very close to her conversational style” (144). Rather than submit her audience to the usual “dictation of the expert to the ignorant” (Marcus, Virginia 145), Woolf involves her audience in her quest for answers. She

advises them that she plans to “make use of all the liberties and licenses of a novelist,” that her fiction is “likely to contain more truth than fact,” and that they must “seek out this truth and . . . decide whether any part of it is worth keeping” (4-5). She does not disclose “the truth as she sees it”; rather, she requires the audience to “participate in the drama of asking questions and searching for Woolf’s creative departure from established lecture style delightfully foreshadows her intent to generate entirely new feminine traditions and searching for answers” (Marcus, Virginia 145). Woolf encourages women to personally participate and identify with her ideas. She creates a fictitious narrator through which she chronicles her thoughts and discoveries

as she researches the topic of ‘women and fiction, “‘I’ is only a convenient term for somebody who has no real being . . . call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please–it is not a matter of any importance” (4-5). Ellen Rosenman writes that by “denying a ‘real’ existence, the narrator associates herself with anonymity,” and that “if we turn this statement around . . . [she] is Everywoman” (160-61). By choosing these particular historical names to represent anyone and everyone who joins the quest for truth, including herself, Woolf “accounts for much of the irony of her ’story’ and much of the force” of her essay (Jones 228). Through her clever use of fiction, Woolf shrewdly removes herself from the position of authority,