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Three Guineas


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First published in 1938, as Europe drifted towards war with the rise of fascism in Europe, "Three Guineas" is a book-length essay structured as a letter from Virginia Woolf to an unnamed correspondent who has asked her for help with his efforts to "prevent war". The book is also a companion piece to Virginia Woolf's earlier polemic "A Room of One's Own". The common themes are; women and education, and the need for women to be economically independent. The question Woolf discusses in "Three Guineas" is how women can prevent war when they are excluded from education, the professions, and the public sphere. The title Three Guineas derives from Woolf pondering whether she should support three causes with a guinea donation - these being; a society to stop war, a campaign to support the rebuilding of a women's college, and an organization to promote women's employment in the professions.

Woolf had been observing the rise of fascism in Europe with a keen interest. She was well aware that many of the newly gained women's rights in Germany were being eroded as Nazism forced women to readopt traditional roles. Woolf was concerned that a similar situation could occur in Britain. "Three Guineas" is essentially a critique of patriarchy.

"Three Guineas" is a relatively neglected work of Woolf's that deserves greater attention as it is central to an understanding Woolf's feminism. Her linking of the private and the public, and how the structures of patriarchal society lead to militarism is still a challenging argument for today's world.

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Additional Info

  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 239 Pages
  • File Size: 2,512 KB

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