Woolf on Purpose

A Room of One’s Own

For my belief is that if we live another century or so — I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals — and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own;  if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think;  if we escape a little from the common sitting-room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality;  and the sky, too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton’s bogey, for no human being should shut out the view;  if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down.  Drawing her life from the lives of  the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born.  As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would be impossible.  But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worth while.

A Room of One’s Own

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