Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Men - how strong, how noble, how brilliant, how courageous

She's famous for her novels Mrs Dalloway and To The Lighthouse. Nicole Kidman played her in the movie The Hours. Virginia Woolf's writing is not only for literary lovers and feminists, but is a great sojourn into history, particularly her short story A Society in Monday or Tuesday which provides an interesting read on men and women:

  • 'we drew round the fire and began as usual to praise men - how strong, how noble, how brilliant, how courageous, how beautiful they were - how we envied those who by hook or by crook managed to get attached to one for life.'
  • 'I, for one, have taken it for granted that it was a woman's duty to spend her youth in bearing children. I venerated my mother for bearing ten; still more my grandmother for bearing fifteen; it was, I confess, my own ambition to bear twenty. We have gone on all these ages supposing that men were equally industrious, and that their works were of equal merit. While we have borne the children, they, we supposed, have borne the books and the pictures. We have populated the world. They have civilised it.'
  • 'if we hadn't learn to read,' she said bitterly, 'we might still have been bearing children in ignorance and that I believe was the happiest life after all.'
Today's woman is not just mother, sister and daughter, she has a career, takes care of the home and can be the main bread winner. Today's man is sensitive, uses beauty products, raises children sometimes full-time, cleans and cooks. We are all growing in our diversity and skills. On men and women today - how strong, how noble, how brilliant, how courageous!

The above were taken from the Hesperus Press edition 2003 from pages 7, 9 and 21. You can access a full copy of Monday or Tuesday free at

For more on men and women, you might like Does Marriage Make You Happy?

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