dimanche 8 février 2009

Mrs Dalloway

I’m reading Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

I loved the opening; Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. It is not grand or punchy, but I found it particular for an opening line and so liked it (I think it's the intimacy that struck me, it's written as if the reader know what the flowers are for, and who was supposed to buy them).

Then I got through a couple of pages and wasn’t so sure I liked it anymore, until I read (in the introduction?) about the stream of consciousness narrative. With it, I went back to the text and what I’d before seen as meaningless jumping about became much more interesting, a window to a subjectivity that felt so very personal for not being mine. The way the sensations flit on random links is fascinating.

I love how a character whose strands of thoughts are laid bare for us meets another character and has all kind of emotions and opinions and feelings about that other character; then later on, we’ve moved on to the insides of the second character, and we see how circumscribed our information about this second character was. Was it Einstein that said there’s a big difference between what we are, what we think we are and what other think we are, or at least, what they say they think we are...?

But then again, what is the “real” us; I could go into all kinds of pseudo-intellectual babble asking whether the me in my head is or isn't truer than the me in the other’s perceptions, or - for that matter - who is “the me in my head” and from where does it come, are its origins physical or spiritual... but, blergh, I can never stand my own for long in these talks, I always run out of steam and/or arguments (as I've already determined, I have no staying power) and deep philosophical reflection is not what I want to do with this blog anyway. All I wanted to say was, I’m enjoying Mrs Dalloway.

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