'Intellectual freedom depends on material things. Poetry depends on intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor...' In these two classic essays of feminist literature, Woolf argues passionately for women's intellectual freedom and their role in challenging the drive towards fascism and conflict. In A Room of One's Own she explores centuries of limitations placed on women, as well as celebrating the creative achievements of the women writers who overcame these obstacles. In this first history of women's writing, she describes the importance of education, financial independence, and equality of opportunity to creative freedom. Three Guineas was written under the threat of fascism and impending war. A radical articulation of Woolf's pacifist politics, it investigates the causes of gender inequalities and the ways in which women's historic outsider position make them crucial in the prevention of war. Both these works started life as talks to groups of young women, and their engaging wit and informality establish Woolf as one of the twentieth-century's greatest essayists. Their arguments continue to reverberate in feminist discourse to this day.
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Anna Snaith is the author of Virginia Woolf: Public and Private Negotiations (2000), and Modenist Voyages: Colonial Women Writers in London 1890-1940 (2014). She is the editor of the Cambridge University Press Edition of Woolf's The Years (2012) and Locating Woolf: the Politics of Space and Time (with Michael Whitworth, 2007).