Why do we consider Virginia Woolf as one of the greatest modern novelists?

       ‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’, wrote Virginia Woolf in her novel ‘A Room of One’s Own’. Virginia’s father Adeline Stephen was a famous literary critic, and Virginia grew up in a book lined home. Along with other talented writers such as E.M. Forster and Dora Carrington, she formed the Bloomsbury group, which rejected Victorian values. She married Leonard Woolf, and together, they started the Hogarth Press which published some of the greatest writers of the day.

          ‘The Voyage Out’ was Virginia’s first novel. Virginia displayed the psychological and emotional motives of her characters in her novels. This is known as stream of consciousness. Virginia wove mental illness into her novel, ‘Miss Dalloway’. ‘The Waves’ and ‘To The Lighthouse’ are two of her notable novels. Virginia Woolf fought depression to become one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. 

How did Helen Keller triumph in the face of tragedy?

A sudden illness at 19 months of age left Helen Keller blind and deaf. Helen devised more than fifty signs to communicate with her family, but she was frustrated. A young teacher Anne Sullivan was sent to work with Helen. It was the beginning of a celebrated teacher-student relationship. Anne placed Helen’s hand under running water and spelled out the word ‘water’. Helen understood. This breakthrough put Helen on the track to academic success.

Anne introduced Helen to Braille. Helen became the first blind-deaf woman to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. She published three works including ‘The story of my life’, ‘Optimism’ and ‘The world I Live In’. She campaigned for the deaf-blind and the disabled. She was a founding member of the Permanent Blind War Relief, which is now known worldwide as Helen Keller International. Helen Keller showed the world that there are no boundaries to courage and faith. 

What are the achievements of Julia Morgan?

Julia Morgan was the first woman to receive a certificate in architecture from the prestigious Ecole Nationale in Paris. After graduation, she returned to her native San Francisco and worked for the architect John Galen Howard. Morgan opened her own architectural firm in 1904. Morgan’s style was noted for using exposed support beams, California redwood, and horizontal lines that blended with the landscape. She also used rectangular wooden tiles and preferred earth colours. One of her first independent projects was the bell tower on the campus of Mills College in Oakland. This bell tower withstood the San Francisco earth quake. Morgan gained fame for supervising the construction of Hearst Castle. She personally designed in minutest detail most of the structures in the castle. She was the architect of over 800 buildings in her lifetime. Julia Morgan was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2008.

Who is the founder of the Montessori education method?

Maria Montessori braved the opposition of society to become Italy’s first female doctor. However, she achieved fame in the field of children’s education. Initially, she worked with mentally retarded children, orphans, and the poor. She made some sensational discoveries. At that time it was believed that children could only be taught; they could not learn by themselves. Montessori found that children had a natural desire to learn, and could learn a lot by themselves. She found that this natural power of learning worked best when they were turned loose in a safe, hands on-learning environment. A child friendly environment, self correcting puzzles, and other equipment were essential to foster this learning. Mentally handicapped children schooled by Maria Montessori not only mastered the basics of self care, but also passed tests meant for mainstream children. Montessori believed that teachers should observe children. The Montessori Method has been embraced as the scientific method for teaching children.


How did Helena Rubinstein become one of the richest women in the world?

Helena Rubinstein made millions by selling make up. In fact, she laid the foundations of the beauty industry. She was bold, beautiful, and had a knack of spotting a business opportunity. Helena, who was Polish by birth, visited her relatives in Australia, when in her early thirties. She noticed that the women’s skins lost their beauty in the harsh sun. Helen had with her a jar of facial cream mixed to a family formula. She realized that she held the recipe for business success in her hands. She produced and marketed a wide range of products never before available to women including coloured face powder, and foundation cream. Later, she opened a string of beauty salons. Queen Alexandria and the actress Sarah Bernhardt were among the rich and the famous who frequented her salons. In 1953, she set up the Helena Rubenstein Foundation, which enables young women to take up higher education and follow non traditional careers.