“She was getting impatient; the whole of her being was setting positively, undeniably, domineeringly brushing her aside all this unnecessary trifling (Peter Walsh and his affairs) upon that subject which engaged her attention, and not merely her attention, but that fibre which was the ramrod of her soul, the essential part of her without which Millicent Bruton would not have been Millicent Bruton; that project for emigrating young people of both sexes born of respectable parents and setting them up with a fair prospect of doing well in Canada. She exaggerated. She and perhaps lost her sense of proportion” (108-9).
In this passage the extent of Lady Bruton’s impatience for Hugh Whitebread is expressed by explaining how her impatience let her be successful in the past, and constructs who she is today. This impatience, which is suggested to be a feeling of sublime impatience, was so powerful that she was able to conduct the emigration project. Considering Lady Bruton’s ratio of patience to impatience, her “sense of proportion” is like that of a crazy person.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.108-9
If we want understanding of the soul and heart where else shall we find it of comparable profundity? If we are sick of our own materialism the least considerable of their novelist has right of birth a natural reverence for the human spirit.
Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 15. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.
Words of fiction is a confounding captivation of human lives that is an escape from our reality into another.
“‘The proper stuff of fiction’ does not exist; everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every feeling, every thought; every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon; no perception comes amiss.”
Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 154. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.
I couldn’t agree more with this essay, and this summarizing quote. For me, this idea that fiction is what you make it and not what you’re told it is, is one that I struggle with. Not that I don’t stand behind it to the fullest, but, as I intend to teach creative writing classes someday, I’ve been finding it difficult to decide how I can teach a craft that comes from the heart and soul rather than a defined method or period of time. Of course there will never quite be an answer to my woes, but it’s great to know that my viewpoint is shared by so many I admire.
“If we tried to formulate our meaning in one word we should say that these three writers are materialists. It is because they are concerned not with the spirit but with the body that they have disappointed us, and left us with the feeling that the sooner English fiction turns its back upon them, as politely as may be, and marches, if only into the desert, the better for its soul”.
Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 149. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.
Who knew that finding the meaning of a book could only be found through the soul of the book? And even so, the author themselves may not even know the true meaning.