‘The True Nature of Woman’: from Mary Wollstonecraft to Virginia Woolf

The Assembly Rooms
Friday 19th April
12:30pm to 1:30pm

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A Well Full of Leaves
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A talk by biographer Lyndall Gordon, author of the Prefaces to The Wise Virgins and A Writer's Diary, on radical women writers from the eighteenth to twentieth century. She will explain how Virginia Woolf, at the beginning of A Room of One's Own, challenged the undergraduates to whom Room was originally addressed with 'the great problem of the true nature of woman’; how Mary Wollstonecraft believed herself to be 'the first of a new genus’; and how writers such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Eliot defined their own ideas of the nature of women and asked themselves what women would contribute to civilisation when they were subdued no longer. (Also relevant: the 19 year-old Mary Wollstonecraft lodged directly opposite the Persephone Books building for a couple of years when she was working as a lady’s companion.)

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