Academic journal article Woolf Studies Annual

37 Handwritten: November 7, 1929

Academic journal article Woolf Studies Annual

37 Handwritten: November 7, 1929

Article excerpt




New York


Nov. 7, 1929.

Dear Mrs. Woolf

I have just finished reading A Room of One's Own, & it has excited & delighted me so greatly that I cannot refrain from writing to thank you for it, & for the acute pleasure you have given me.

You express with such perfection, whimsically, imaginatively & so vividly, what I, with numberless other women, know to be the truth, that people--both men & women--may heed it, just because your [begin strikethrough]have[end strikethrough] genius has clothed it in this delightful form.

I have taught young women--as well as some men--for nearly 30 years, & I have always had the profoundest belief in the potential powers--intellectual & artistic--of women, & in common with nearly all women who have tried to use their brains, have realised how incalculably these powers have been thwarted, cramped or extinguished by circumstances & convention. And you have shown it all in a few words, in the story of Shakespeare's sister alone.

Yet how amazingly women have risen above it at times--I wonder do you know that in full mid Victorian England, in addition to the greatest authority & innovator on army hygiene being a woman, & the greatest battle painter being a woman (Lady Butler) that the head of the Army medical service was a woman (disguised as a man of course ) Dr. James Barry? (see D.N.B.)

My life goes back almost to mid-Victorian times. I began to educate myself at the age of 25, & 17 years later I was the first woman to be elected to a University Chair in England, (English Literature, Univ of London), so I know all about it, though my own small efforts are in the direction of scholarship, for I have no imaginative gift. …

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