Présentation de l'éditeur
In a lengthy essay, the narrator explores how the different educational experiences privilege men over women. Spending a day in the British Museum Library perusing the scholarship on women, she concludes that most of it —if not all— had been written by men in anger and hostility. The study of history was of no help. So she constructs in her own imagination what she imagines was the plight of women; to this effort she explains the impediments Judith Shakespeare —Shakespeare’s sister— would have encountered. She then analyzes the achievements of the major women novelists of the nineteenth century, reflecting on the importance of tradition to an aspiring writer. Following up with living writers, she takes a close look at a novel by one of the narrator’s contemporaries. Using a curious metaphor: “a spot the size of a shilling at the back of the head,” she urges women to be original, and to write about what others don’t see and miss; and that the writing must be smooth and clear: “Not a wheel must grate, not a light glimmer.” In one word: writing that is incandescent. The problem as Woof sees it is that to accomplish that fine writing a woman must first achieve intellectual freedom as granted by having a room of one’s own and five hundred a year in income. This edition has been re-paraphrased to lighten the density of the heavy paragraphs one finds in the original version. In addition, the work has been subdivided into chapters with appropriate headings. In other words, this is a version for the contemporary reader in the early 21st Century.