A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

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How does the author’s discussion of Shakespeare’s sister in paragraph 6 contribute to the meaning of the text?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The essays in A Room of One's Own grew out of a request that Virginia Woolf received to lecture about "women and fiction." Throughout the book, she elaborates on different aspects of her interpretation of this topic, as she originally wondered if it meant the fiction that women have written or the fiction that has been written about them.

In chapter 3, Woolf turns to a specific period in English literary history, "the time of Elizabeth." She selected this period not only because William Shakespeare—widely considered England's greatest writer—lived and wrote then, but also because it was an era when so many talented writers were productive. Given that high quality and level of productivity, she finds it

a perennial puzzle why no woman wrote a word of that extraordinary literature….

Focusing on this singular era allows her to contextualize the reasons that women have gained less renown and financial success than men. She accepts, but finds there is not as yet a satisfactory explanation...

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