It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Virginia Woolf's phrase, 'a room of one's own' has long since passed into popular parlance. Coined in response to talks requested by the women students of Newnham and Girton colleges in Cambridge on women and writing, Woolf's prescient phrase highlights an increasing awareness of the importance of spatial privacy to modern women and, in particular, to aspiring women writers. Yet there is nothing new about the idea of privacy for women. Though women through the centuries have not always enjoyed rooms of their own, they have had recourse to mental privacy, retreating to the internal spaces of their minds for refuge or silent critique. Patricia Meyer Spacks has noted with reference to Frances Burney's Evelina and Jane Austen's novels that privacy for women is often located in the internal spaces of silences snatched in the midst of more sociable moments or in the space that reading provides. As we move into the early twentieth century however, the terms of reference begin to shift. Where Austen's heroines understood 'that privacy [did] not altogether depend on physical situation' and located privacy instead within the inner and inviolable space of the mind, by the early twentieth century the demands from women were for rooms of their own, for physical privacy to accompany mental privacy. (1) Inner space was no longer entirely sufficient for female privacy. Sally Alexander, in considering the impulse expressed by diverse women in the twenties for rooms of their own, writes of this desire as a desire for inner space, 'a state of mind' to transform self and society. (2) I wish to argue however that it is not the push for inner space that is new but the asking for physical space to accompany the inner space of refuge. There needs to be physical solitude to make privacy complete.
Find Books, E-books, Articles, DVDs, and Streaming Videos
Looking for more Tips and Tricks of what you can do? Check our Primo Guide
Google Scholar Search
We suggest using the recommended databases first, but Google Scholar can offer additional sources.
General Search Tips
Start your search in Primo, then look in subject specific databases for more specific results.
Boolean Search terms: AND gives you only results with both of your search terms, OR gives you results with either one of your search terms (but not necessarily both of them), NOT excludes results with that search term.
Start general, and refine to a specific search. If you have a general idea of what you would like to focus on, search a broad term, and then refine as you discover what is available.
Look at the subject terms and keywords that the articles you find are using. If they seem relevant, you may wish to incorporate them into your search terms.
If your results are too broad, add additional search terms to refine your search.
Searching for a specific phrase? Place it in quotation marks to search for those exact works in that order. For example: “To be or not to be” will find that specific phrase, rather than each word individually.
Need to find a word or phrase in an article PDF, an e-book, or on a webpage? Use CTRL and F to open a search box that will search the text within a document.