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Posted: September 6th, 2023

Explore and critically examine women’s writing of the 1930s

Essay task:
● The essay should balance close reading of relevant parts of chosen texts with wider
critical analysis. expected to refer to secondary sources, including theoretical or
historical sources.
● The essay should include an introduction explaining the essay’s focus and a conclusion
summarizing your overall argument.
● Harvard-style referencing and citations are MUST.
● The essay must be 4000 words long, properly formatted, edited, and referenced to a
high scholarly standard.
● Please reference all use of secondary and critical material, whether quoted directly or
referred to in your own language. You must also fully reference your primary text.
● The chosen topic is below, Kindly keep the title the same, And use SOME OF THE
SECONDARY references given in bullet points.
● Analyze the texts vis-a-vis the social context of the 1930s. Though the subtopics may
appear not in sync, they’ll be bought together through the historical background they
were written in with the quotations. Use Quotations to back ideas—critical angle With the
secondary sources.
Essay Topic:
1. Explore and critically examine women’s writing of the 1930s with reference to at least
two texts from the module.
1. A Room of Ones Own (1929) by Virginia Woolf
2. The Delicate Fire (1933) by Naomi Mitchison
Title: Virginia Woolf and Naomi Mitchison: A Critical Examination of Women’s Writing in the
● Explore how the 1930s’ historical environment, especially the Great Depression and the
development of fascism in Europe, impacted women’s writings.
● Discuss the literary worth of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and Naomi
Mitchison’s “The Delicate Fire” in the 1930s.
● Make the case that the works of Woolf and Mitchison reflect critically on women’s writing
in the 1930s.
Historical and Social Context of the 1930s
● Express the historical and social events that unfolded during the 1930s.
● Discuss how the Great Depression and the emergence of fascism in Europe affected
women’s writing.
● Analyze how these events impacted women authors’ representation of themselves and
the difficulties they encountered.
Literary Merit of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and Naomi Mitchison’s “The Delicate
● An outline of the critical arguments addressed in “A Room of One’s Own.” by Virginia
● Evaluate the importance of Woolf’s case for women having their own writing space and
● Analyze how the work tackles gender and class concerns in an 18th-century Scottish
● Enhancing the arguments using secondary resources.
● Exploring Woolf’s writing strategies for conveying her message.
The Significance of Women’s Writing in the 1930s
● Analyze how Woolf’s and Mitchison’s works challenge conventional views of women’s
societal responsibilities.
● Evaluate how their works provide fresh insights into the importance of women’s
contributions to the literary world.
● Explore their works’ influence on the feminist movement and the literary world.
● Summarize the main arguments of the essay.
● Restate the thesis statement.
● Discuss the implications of the essay’s findings for our understanding of women’s writing
in the 1930s.
● Provide suggestions for further research in this area.
Secondary References:
1. Showalter, Elaine. “A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to
Lessing.” Princeton University Press, 2009.
2. Marcus, Jane. “Virginia Woolf: A Feminist Reading.” Rutgers University Press, 1992.
3. Smith, Angela. “The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory.” Routledge, 1999.
4. Cunningham, V. (1988). British writers of the thirties. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
5. Cottrell, A. (2017). London Writing of the 1930s. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
6. Snaith, A. (2003). Virginia Woolf: public and private negotiations. London: Palgrave
7. Gardiner, J. (2011). The Thirties: an intimate history. London: HarperPress.
8. C

ritical Essays on Virginia Woolf, edited by Morris Beja. G.K. Hall & Co., 1985.
9. Hirsch, Marianne. “The Mother/Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism.”
Indiana University Press, 1989.

Ferguson, Moira. “Subject to Others: British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery,
1670-1834.” Routledge, 1992.
Virginia Woolf and Naomi Mitchison: A Critical Examination of Women’s Writing in the 1930s


The 1930s was a decade of significant social and political changes, including the Great Depression and the emergence of fascism in Europe. These events impacted women’s writing, influencing how women authors portrayed themselves and their challenges. Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and Naomi Mitchison’s “The Delicate Fire” were two of the many works produced during this period that addressed women’s issues. This essay will explore the historical and social context of the 1930s and how it impacted women’s writing. It will critically examine Woolf’s and Mitchison’s works and discuss their literary merit. Finally, the essay will analyze the significance of women’s writing in the 1930s.

Historical and Social Context of the 1930s

The 1930s were marked by significant political and social events. The Great Depression, which began in 1929 and lasted throughout the decade, had a significant impact on the world economy, leading to high levels of unemployment and poverty. Additionally, the rise of fascism in Europe, particularly in Germany, Italy, and Spain, posed a significant threat to democracy and human rights.

Women’s writing during this period was also influenced by these events. Many women writers faced financial difficulties due to the economic crisis, and the rise of fascism threatened their freedom of expression. As a result, women authors of the time were concerned with issues of gender, class, and race, and their work often reflected these concerns.

Literary Merit of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and Naomi Mitchison’s “The Delicate Fire”

Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” is a landmark feminist essay that argues for the importance of women having their own space and resources to pursue their writing. Woolf’s argument is rooted in the idea that women have been historically marginalized and excluded from literary culture. She argues that women need a room of their own and financial independence to overcome these barriers and produce meaningful work.

Woolf’s work has been praised for its literary style and rhetorical power, as well as its contribution to feminist theory. Elaine Showalter argues that Woolf’s work marked a turning point in women’s literature, moving from a focus on domestic realism to the exploration of female subjectivity and experience (Showalter 2009). Jane Marcus contends that Woolf’s writing reflects her feminist politics and challenges traditional views of gender and identity (Marcus 1992).

Naomi Mitchison’s “The Delicate Fire” is a novel that explores issues of gender and class in an 18th-century Scottish community. The novel follows the life of a young girl, Janet Sandison, as she navigates her place in society and seeks to find her voice as a writer. Mitchison’s work is notable for its focus on female subjectivity and the challenges women faced in pursuing their creative interests.

Mitchison’s work has been praised for its feminist themes and its contribution to the literary canon. Angela Smith argues that Mitchison’s writing challenged traditional gender roles and representations of women in literature (Smith 1999). Additionally, Moira Ferguson contends that Mitchison’s work provides insight into the intersection of gender, race, and colonialism in the 1930s (

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