A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on 24 October 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women’s colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928.

While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled “Women and Fiction”, which was published in the magazine Forum March 1929, and hence the essay, are considered non-fiction. The essay is generally seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by men.

“…the spine, which is the seat of the soul.”

“Fiction must stick to facts, and the truer the facts the better the fiction – so we are told.”

“… the beauty of the world which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.”

“Life for both sexes – and I looked at them, shouldering their way along the pavement – is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion as we are, it calls for confidence in oneself.”

“Whatever may be their use in civilized societies, mirrors are essential to all violent and heroic action.”

“…an avalanche of opinion hot as lava…”

“Anon, who wrote  so many poems without signing them was often a woman.”

“Had she survived, whatever she had written would have been twisted and deformed…”

“…it is time that the effect of discouragement upon the mind of the artist should be measured…”

“…a woman acting put him in mind of a dog dancing.”

“What one means by integrity, in the case of the novelist, is the conviction that he gives one that this is the truth.”

“Literature is open to everybody.”

“…as indeed literature is impoverished beyond our counting by the doors that have been shut upon women.”

“Ought not education to bring out and fortify the differences rather than the similarities?”

“…the accumulation of unrecorded life…”