Published in 1929, A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. She largely based the feminist work on lectures she gave at women’s colleges, advocating for women’s intellectual freedom. In these speeches Woolf described a “new woman,” one whose value extended beyond raising children and being homemakers. As Woolf explained, women were just as capable as men—but they had previously not been given the opportunity to use their minds outside the home.
A literary master, Virginia Woolf more than proved that a woman could write words worth reading. The Mrs. Dalloway author created such opportunities herself, setting up the Hogarth Press with her husband, which would later release most of her own works.
In honor of Virginia Woof’s birthday, the literary world recognizes January 25 as A Room of One’s Own Day. To celebrate, enjoy the 21 Virginia Woolf quotes below!
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”―Virginia Woolf
“But then anyone who's worth anything reads just what he likes, as the mood takes him, and with extravagant enthusiasm.” ―Virginia Woolf
“The most extraordinary thing about writing is that when you've struck the right vein, tiredness goes. It must be an effort, thinking wrong.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Often on a wet day I begin counting up; what I've read and what I haven't read.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Literature is no one’s private ground, literature is common ground; let us trespass freely and fearlessly and find our own way for ourselves.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ―Virginia Woolf
“When I cannot see words curling like rings of smoke round me I am in darkness—I am nothing.” ―Virginia Woolf
“I am reading six books at once, the only way of reading; since, as you will agree, one book is only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the full sound, one needs ten others at the same time.” ―Virginia Woolf
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Why are women... so much more interesting to men than men are to women?” ―Virginia Woolf
“My brain hums with scraps of poetry and madness.” ―Virginia Woolf
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ―Virginia Woolf
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.” ―Virginia Woolf
“Once she knows how to read there's only one thing you can teach her to believe in and that is herself.” ―Virginia Woolf
“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.” ―Virginia Woolf
“I feel that by writing I am doing what is far more necessary than anything else.” ―Virginia Woolf
“At last she shut the book sharply, lay back, and drew a deep breath, expressive of the wonder which always marks the transition from the imaginary world to the real world.” ―Virginia Woolf