Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Brooms of Bloomsbury

Virginia Woolf and her servants.
Woolf was definitely able to theorize about the importance of lower-class women's lives. In "A Room of One's Own" -- her plea for women's freedom to create their own destinies -- she posed the rhetorical question: "Is the life of the charwoman who has brought up eight children of less value to the world than the barrister who has made a hundred thousand pounds?" She even tried to imagine herself into such a life, writing a short sketch that centered on a female lavatory attendant. But she found it harder to empathize with the frustrations, moods and melancholy of the actual cook or charwoman right in front of her.

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