10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Not Perfect, But Interesting and Still Relevant,
This review is from: Three Guineas (Paperback)
If you've come in search of more Virginia Woolf essays after being blown away by A Room of One's Own, be warned - Three Guineas isn't as good as that earlier, astonishing essay. Nevertheless, a second-tier Virginia Woolf essay is still a Virginia Woolf essay, which is to say, clever, funny and dangerously sharp.
In Three Guineas, Woolf discusses three letters, each requesting a donation of a guinea, one from a society seeking to prevent war, one from a society promoting the employment of professional women and one from the building fund of a women's college. All worthy goals, and anyone else might have been satisfied to send them each a guinea and be done with it. Woolf, on the other hand, uses these three requests to launch a discussion about women's role in society and the effect that educated, professional women can and should have on it.
As in A Room of One's Own, some of what Woolf says is obvious or outdated. What's staggering, however, is how many of her observations remain fresh and relevant. Even more staggering is how accurately she predicts the changes that have taken place since society began making a real place for women - changes in society, but also changes in women. Although I knew much of what Woolf was saying, I doubt that I had ever seen these thoughts so clearly and intelligently formulated. As an added bonus, Three Guineas provides a brief but fascinating glimpse into the history of the suffrage movement (and its opposition) in England.
It is easy to guess Three Guineas' flaws. It is too long, too detailed, and ultimately not as revelatory and exciting as A Room of One's Own. It is, however, important to anyone interested in thinking about women's place in society, and the affect that each has on the other. Along with A Room of One's Own, it should be required reading for young women who (like myself) take their rights and freedom for granted.