Monday, March 05, 2007

Virginia Woolf wrote "A Room of One's Own," which said, among other things, that to produce art it helps a lot to have a room of one's own and money, which many women throughout history haven't had, which is part of the reason for the relative lack of great women art types.

It's long essay and short book and fairly widely known. It's reached the level where more people refer to it than have read it, but it's good enough, short enough, and surprising enough even if you know that main idea that it is well worth reading.

As is it's sequel. I like the sequel as much as the original, but it's not as well known. For one hting, though the essay may be as good, the title is not. The title of the sequel long essay/short book is "Three Guineas." That title doesn't travel well across time and space.

I wish she had kept her working title for the piece, "On Being Despised."

I can imagine some woman friend of mine in shock and pain and rage for the opening of some daily life abyss that showed how much some institution of person she dealt with all the time truly felt about her as a woman. I can imagaian listening and talking and at the right moment saying, "Did you know Virginia Woolf wrote a book called 'On Being Despised."

It is about how some realaly basic institutions she is involved with despise her as a woman and then cheerily and obliviously expect money from her. It is partly about thinking about elevated junk mail--appeals for funds not mass produced but for a kind of elite. She looks at various expectations of money she gets in the mail and thinks about how the expecters treat women.

I like it. She is more openly enraged than in "A Room of One's Own." Maybe partly because she herself did in fact have a room of her own and some money. The stuff she's ticked about in "Three Guineas" is bigg3er than she herself having a room and grates on her anyway.

Guineas were an elite kind of money that one might write a check for in response to an elite kind of appeal for funds. A pound at the time was 14 shillings and a guinea was one more shilling than that. It did not exist as printed money. It existed as a way to pay obligations if you were part of the elite or dealing with the elite. You wrote a check for guineas and that meant a pound plus a shillings for each guinea.

In "Three Guineas" Woolf thinks aboutu three groups that have written expecting money from her.