A Room of One’s Own

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Virginia Woolf’s highly influential essay on women and literature, which considers both literary history and future opportunity. In 1928 Woolf gave two lectures at Cambridge University about women and fiction. In front of an audience at Newnham College, she delivered the following words: “All I could do was offer you an opinion upon one minor point - a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved”. These lectures formed the basis of a book she published the following year, and Woolf chose A Room Of One’s Own for its title. It is a text that set the scene for the study of women’s writing for the rest of the 20th century. Arguably, it initiated the discipline of women’s history too.

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  • Hermione Lee 5 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford
  • Michele Barrett 2 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Modern Literary and Cultural Theory at Queen Mary, University of London
  • Alexandra Harris No other episodes
    Professor of English at the University of Birmingham

Reading list

  • Virginia Woolf: The Common Ground
    Gillian Beer (Edinburgh University Press, 1996) Google Books →
  • Reading Virginia Woolf
    Julia Briggs (Edinburgh University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Virginia Woolf
    Alexandra Harris (Thames & Hudson, 2011) Google Books →
  • Virginia Woolf
    Hermione Lee (Chatto & Windus, 1996) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf
    Susan Sellers (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas
    Virginia Woolf (ed. Michele Barrett) (Penguin, 1992) Google Books →
  • A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas
    Virginia Woolf (ed. Anna Snaith) (Oxford University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Women and Writing
    Virginia Woolf (ed. Michele Barrett) (Women's Press and Harcourt Brace, 1979) Google Books →
  • Women and Fiction: The Manuscript Versions of A Room of One's Own
    Virginia Woolf (ed. S. P. Rosenbaum) (Blackwell, 1992) Google Books →
  • Orlando
    Virginia Woolf (ed. Rachel Bowlby) (Oxford University Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • Selected Essays
    Virginia Woolf (ed. David Bradshaw) (Oxford University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • The Common Reader
    Virginia Woolf (Vintage Classics, 2003) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m001kh32

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001kh32

Auto-category: 820.9 (English literature from 1900 to 1999)