I am afraid of Virginia Woolf

If I ever found myself in a room Virginia Woolf, I think I’d be terrified. And not just because she’s dead, and so that would be spooky, but because from her quotes, her work, and all I have read about her, she seems unlikely to suffer fools. And I am a fool. I’m pretty sure if, out of nervousness, I said something stupid about ideal first names for giraffes (Geoff, obviously) or a statistic about ingrowing toenails, Jane Austen might have nodded and smiled, while internally labeling me as an idiot. I fear Virginia may have presented me with a stoney face or, er, stone.

She wasn’t scared to write harsh reviews about books lauded by everyone else. She was remarkably clever, phenomenally clever, and maybe I’m being very unfair, as maybe she was easy and warm company and maybe her Yorkshire Pudding’s didn’t always rise just like mine don’t, and she was appalling at calculus like me, but nothing about her seems down to earth. Although her struggle with mental illness does make her more human, it in no way makes her seem incompetent, or dulled in any way.

I spent £10 of my birthday money on this book, a second impression of a first edition of A Room Of One’s Own. This is the first trade copy, printed just a month after the first edition came out in 1929. It’s small and sweet, the weight of braincells it contains are absolutely not.

 

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