Sunday, 23 September 2012

Women and Fiction

"The scene, if I may ask you to follow me, was now changed.  The leaves were still falling, but in London now, not Oxbridge; and I must ask you to imagine a room, like many thousands, with a window looking across people's hats and vans and motor-cars to other windows, and on the table inside the room a blank sheet of paper on which was written in large letters WOMEN AND FICTION, but no more. The inevitable sequel to lunching and dining at Oxbridge seemed, unfortunately, to be a visit to the British Museum.  One must strain off what was personal and accidental in all these impressions and so reach the pure fluid, the essential oil of truth.  For that visit to Oxbridge and the luncheon and the dinner had started a swarm of questions.  Why did men drink wine and women water? Why was one sex so prosperous and the other so poor? What effect has poverty on fiction?  What conditions are necessary for the creation of works of art? -- a thousand questions at once suggested themselves.  But one needed answers, not questions; and an answer was only to be had by consulting the learned and the unprejudiced, who have removed themselves above the strife of tongue and the confusion of the body and issued the result of their reasoning and research in books which are to be found in the British Museum.  If truth is not to be found on the shelves of the British Museum, where, I asked myself, picking up a notebook and a pencil, is truth?"

A Room of One's Own  Virginia Woolf

No comments:

Post a Comment