"Three Guineas" is written as a series of letters in which Virginia Woolf ponders the efficacy of donating to various causes to prevent war. In reflecting on her situation as the "daughter of an educated man" in 1930s England, Woolf challenges liberal orthodoxies and marshals vast research to make discomforting and still-challenging arguments ...
"Three Guineas" is written as a series of letters in which Virginia Woolf ponders the efficacy of donating to various causes to prevent war. In reflecting on her situation as the "daughter of an educated man" in 1930s England, Woolf challenges liberal orthodoxies and marshals vast research to make discomforting and still-challenging arguments about the relationship between gender and violence, and about the pieties of those who fail to see their complicity in war-making. This pacifist-feminist essay is a classic whose message resonates loudly in our contemporary global situation. Annotated and with an introduction by Jane Marcus
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Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas is more obviously a polemic against war than her classic Room of One's Own, but it brilliantly interweaves the author's opposition to war with feminism, and shows how patriarchy curtails women's capacity to be truly demonstrate independence of mind. Realpolitik would argue that Woolf is naively utopian, but there need to be thinkers who articulate the visionary position--and Woolf was one of them. It is somewhat troubling to consider what she would have proposed to counter the Nazi threat, but the essay sadly still has currency today. Consider as well her condemnation of the "fact-purveyors" who "prostitute culture." She was critiquing media in the 1930s. Genius isn't a word that should be bandied about lightly, but the word obviously applied to Virginia Woolf.
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