“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.
“‘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. And if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst, she would undoubtedly bid us break her and bully her, as well as honour and love her, for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured” (Woolf 154).
Woolf personifies fiction in this quotation from “Modern Fiction”; in doing so, she expresses the concept of encouraging writers to challenge fiction and incorporate their own ideas within it. This contrasts from other thinkers who view writing from a formulaic perspective and discourage deviation and creativity in terms of style.
Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 154. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.