Just sailed through Virginia Woolf’s delightful book: A Room of One’s Own with great awe and wonder.
The book originates from a lecture delivered by Virginia Woolf in Cambridge University in 1928. I was spellbound by the broad view and detailing of the impact of poverty as well as chastity on women’s creativity. It is generally acknowledged to have achieved the status of ‘one of the greatest feminist classics of the century’.
But I haven’t seen it that way. I was left amazed by the smooth flow of a great mind exploring a subject with great delicacy and precision. It was a pleasure to see how a trained mind maintained its balance throughout the book, without slipping even once.
She didn’t take sides at all. There was neither any evidence of a reckless dash towards feminism nor any evidence of appeal of righting the injustice inflicted on women by a predominantly man’s world.
In fact, she does just what is least expected. She shows a reasonable way forward for women to free themselves from the shackles of societies to unleash their creativity through their writings without sacrificing their womanhood in the least. Surprisingly, the condition is to have £ 500 a year and a room of one’s own to not only regain their self-esteem but also enrich humanity.
What I liked most was the view that the best writers who have retained their appeal over the years neither took a man’s view nor a woman’s view of the world while expressing reality as they saw it. Such great minds were androgynous.
In addition, such great minds completely avoided the big ‘I’ to infiltrate into their writings. It was as if they dreaded the big ‘I’ like some infectious disease.
The other interesting thing was to see how awareness of one’s own body and its relationship to one’s environment gets reflected through one’s mind in one’s creation.
These are big lessons – very big lessons. It boils down to the fact that creativity is simply a reflection of a state of mind where the ‘creator’ is no longer a prisoner of his own ‘perceptions’ but is happy to stay as a witness – and in some cases not even that. It calls for courage of the rarest kind.
One of the many ways for allowing that state to arrive is to simply watch and enjoy such an unfettered mind effortlessly cut through delusions to expose layers of reality in things and phenomena that happen around us.
If that is one’s intention, I would highly recommend a deep study of this book – just to see how such a liberated mind works – if not for any thing else.