Wednesday, 24 January 2018

A Room of One's Own - Read a long in February

Recently, I wrote about the 100 best non-fiction books ever (a list from the Guardian). There were several books from the list I wanted to read, among them Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.  My friend Alex at the Sleepless Reader suggested we read it together during February. A good idea, otherwise it will take me a long time before I get around to read it.

Are you interested to read along with us? If so, please leave a comment below and I will contact you in the end of January. I like discussion points, which I like to consider during the reading. Voluntarily of course. I found these on  Shmoop.

1.  Do the fictional aspects of the essay make it more powerful, or do they distract you from the argument? Can you separate the argument from the fiction?
2.  Given that Woolf is a woman writing fiction, does the essay itself make some point about the kind of fiction-writing women might do?
3.  Do men and women really write so differently? Can you think of examples when a woman has been praised for writing in a masculine style?
4.  What titles would you give to the chapters?
5.  Does Woolf's argument still make sense today? Why or why not?
6.  Do you really have to be independently wealthy to write well?
7.  How would you make a movie version of A Room of One's Own?
8.  There are a few moments when Woolf starts to simply list things, like what she sees in London (6.1) or all of the possible roles "Professor von X" has (2.12). Why does she do this? How does it make you feel as a reader?
9.  Woolf's novel Orlando, which she published just before writing A Room of One's Own, is about a person who is both male and female. Does it seem like a coincidence that in A Room of One's Own, the best writers have minds with both male and female sides?
10.  Woolf has been criticized for being a snob. Is this true in A Room of One's Own? What do you think she would say if someone pointed out that everything she says about women is also true of impoverished people?

There is more than one answer to each of them. This is the first time I do a read along AND participating in one. I am just jumping out there and taking my chance. I will come back with some kind of organisation and exchange of views. Any ideas?

I am attending another read along in February; Dolce Belezza's The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. Looking forward reading these two books in February. James' book is rather long so maybe have to start a little bit earlier.

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