Rooms of Our Own

Author: Susan Gubar
The once and future history of sex and gender
Paper – $24
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/2006
Cloth: 10/30/2006
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About the Book

With a little help from Virginia Woolf, Susan Gubar contemplates startling transformations produced by the women’s movement in recent decades. What advances have women made and what still needs to be done? Taking Woolf’s classic A Room of One’s Own as her guide, Gubar engages these questions by recounting one year in the life of an English professor.

A meditation on the teaching of literature and on the state of the humanities today, her chapters also provide a crash course on the challenges and changes in feminist intellectual history over the past several decades: the influence of post-structuralism and of critical race, postcolonial, and cultural studies scholarship; the stakes of queer theory and the institutionalization of women’s studies; and the effects of globalism and bioengineering on conversations about gender, sex, and sexuality. Yet Rooms of Our Own eschews a scholarly approach. Instead, through narrative criticism it enlists a thoroughly contemporary cast of characters who tell us as much about the comedies and tragedies of campus life today as they do about the sometimes contentious but invariably liberating feminisms of our future.

About the Author

Susan Gubar, Distinguished Professor of English at Indiana University, is the author of many books, including The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, coauthored with Sandra M. Gilbert.


"This experimental narrative criticism is an astute feminist revision of Woolf's title that reflects contemporary academic moods and mores. It builds on a year in the life of an on-campus professor and beyond. Gubar's attention to descriptive and explicative detail doesn't falter. Characterizations are meticulous yet humorous and emphatically drive home critical points about changes and advancements in feminism. Highly recommended for all academic libraries and women's studies collections."--Library Journal

"This thoughtful book . . . wisely observes the bewildering multiplicity of what is, without dwelling in liberal feminist fantasies of what could be. . . . Recommended."--Choice

"The meandering, stream-of-consciousness narrative makes the book accessible, lulling the reader with the familiarity of everyday occurrences while presenting questions and viewpoints that turn convention on its head."--Bloomsbury Review

"Gubar weaves a provacative tapestry of fact and fancy."--Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature

"Rooms of Our Own provides a richly detailed snapshot of where we are now, documenting a feminism that is both fragmented and inclusive, that is established yet imperiled, and that is undergoing something of an identity crisis of its own. . . . It is hard to imagine a more enjoyable introduction to contemporary feminist theory for scholars, students, and common readers alike. . . . A treasure trove of information about contemporary Women's Studies in the academy and a welcome addition to any bookshelf."--Woolf Studies Annual

"This book is a witty, polished, and thought-provoking homage, which perfectly captures Woolf's deft style."--Canadian Literature

"If there is a young scholar, somewhere, who does not know Susan Gubar's work, or the history of feminist thought, Rooms of Our Own would make an excellent gift. Indeed, the book itself reads as a kind of gift: a gift to feminist scholars, to university communities, and to the reader rooted among either of these. Which is to say, this book is a gift to the people and institutions its author has lived among with such brilliance and wit for the past four decades as one of our most influential feminist literary critics."--Women's Studies Quarterly

"I am thrilled at her asking the hard questions. . . . Lots of fun and stimulation for readers."--Virginia Woolf Miscellany


"Rooms of Our Own will charm and hearten fans of Woolf’s works. Indeed, much of the delight and effectiveness of the book comes from Gubar’s deft incorporation not only of Woolf’s structure, but of her memorable turns of phrase. As an experiment, one cannot imagine this being done otherwise or better.”--Maria DiBattista, professor of English and comparative literature, Princeton University

“Spoken from the heart, Rooms of Our Own provides a powerful antidote to the pessimism so often expressed about ‘feminism’ or ‘the women’s movement’ or younger women’s seeming lack of interest in battles that still need to be fought. Gubar, one of the foremost pioneers, addresses these issues with elegance and wit, elucidating the multiple currents swirling around gender studies and social activism today and illustrating why they still profoundly matter. Rooms of Our Own speaks as much to the students she so lovingly depicts as to those of us who teach them.”--Brenda R. Silver, Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor, Dartmouth College


Received an Honorable Mention Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights (2007)