Virginia Woolf wants you to write “For the good of the world”

Virginia Woolf

The following passage from A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf reminds us that each woman who writes is both an inheritor and an originator.

In it, she asks women who write to produce all kinds of books — and why stop at books? Let’s include all sorts of written output, fiction and nonfiction; articles, essays, blog posts, verse, and many etceteras for our own good and that of the world at large.

Let’s pay homage to her and other women writers who have paved the way by doing just that — elevating the voices of women in literature and in discourse in general.

“I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or how vast. By hook or by crook, I hope you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.

For I am by no means confining you to fiction. If you would please me — and there are thousands like me — you would write books of travel and adventure, and research and scholarship, and history and biography, and criticism and philosophy and science. By so doing you will certainly profit the art of fiction. For books have a way of influencing each other.

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virginia woolf

See also: Virginia Woolf: The most self-critical author of all time?

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Fiction will be much the better for standing cheek by jowl with poetry and philosophy. Moreover, if you consider any great figure of the past, like Sappho, like the Lady Murasaki, like Emily Brontë, you will find she is an inheritor as well as an originator, and has come into experience because women have come to the habit of writing naturally; so that even as a prelude to poetry such activity on your part would be invaluable…

Thus when I ask you to write more books I am urging you to do what will be for your good and for the good of the world at large.” (— from A Room of One’s Own, 1929)

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Virginia Woolf

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