Tuesday, January 14, 2003

From our reading:

"The complexity of things becomes more close," said Bernard, "...the excitement of mere living becomes daily more urgent. Every hour something new is unburied in the great bran pie. What am I? I ask. This? No, I am that. Especially now, when I have left a room, and people talking, and the stone flags ring out with my solitary footsteps, and I behold the moon rising, sublimely, indifferently, over the ancient chapel — then it becomes clear that I am not one and simple, but complex and many. Bernard, in public, bubbles; in private, is secretive. That is what they do not understand, for they are now undoubtedly discussing me, saying I escape them, am evasive. They do not understand that I have to effect different transitions; have to cover the entrances and exits of several different men who alternately act their parts as Bernard.... But you understand, you, my self, who always comes at a call (that would be a harrowing experience to call and for no one to come; that would make the midnight hollow, and explains the expression of old men in clubs — they have given up calling for a self who does not come), you understand that I am only superficially represented by what I was saying to-night. Underneath, and, at the moment when I am most disparate, I am also integrated. I sympathise effusively; I also sit, like a toad in a hole, receiving with perfect coldness whatever comes."

— Virginia Woolf, The Waves (which I'm currently re-reading yet again), pp. 48–49 in the Vintage U.K. edition.

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