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Reflections on Virginia Woolf

"Now, in the passages I have quoted from JANE EYRE, it is clear that anger was tampering with the integrity of Charlotte Brontë the novelist. She left her story, to which her entire devotion was due, to attend to some personal grievance. She remembered that she had been starved of her proper due of experience—she had been made to stagnate in a parsonage mending stockings when she wanted to wander free over the world. Her imagination swerved from indignation and we feel it swerve. But there were many more influences than anger tugging at her imagination and deflecting it from its path. Ignorance, for instance. The portrait of Rochester is drawn in the dark. We feel the influence of fear in it; just as we constantly feel an acidity which is the result of oppression, a buried suffering smouldering beneath her passion, a rancour which contracts those books, splendid as they are, with a spasm of pain." (From A Room of One's Own, p. 60-61)

A few years ago I read Virginia Woolf's work on writing. There was much that resonated with me, especially this passage about women writing in anger. I have tried to let it influence my writing. This morning I tried to write poetry, on the theme "Closure" (it was for a local contest, and I rarely even try to write poetry), and while there were some good images and real feeling, I felt I might be falling prey to what she writes here about Charlotte. Not sure that resulted in any more than a self-serving slosh of driveling words.

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