A little of Virginia Woolf

Google search revealed that it was Virginia Woolf’s birthday yesterday, and naturally, I dug up some of her books. I’ve read Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Jacob’s Room, and A Room of One’s Own, and I remember enjoying her stream-of-consciousness style and mellow tone. Having moved so often since college, my copies are lost somewhere and all that’s left on my bookshelf are Mrs. Dalloway (not my original copy) and To the Lighthouse. An unfortunate case of lost scribbles, notes, and underlinings, forever forgotten. [sigh]. On the bright side, it gives me reason to read them again.

Here are some excerpts, lines I’ve starred or underlined throughout To the Lighthouse: 

“…sunk as he was in a grey-green somnolence which embraced them all, without need of words, in a vast and benevolent lethargy of well-wishing; all the house; all the world; all the people in it,…”

“…for [the sun] was bright enough, the grass still a soft deep green, the house starred in its greenery with purple passion flowers, and rooks dropping cool cries from the high blue.”

“Naturally, if one’s days were passed in this seeing of angular essences, this reducing of lovely evenings, with all their flamingo clouds and blue and silver to a white deal four-legged table… naturally one could not be judged like an ordinary person.”

“…never did anybody look so sad. Bitter and black, half-way down, in the darkness, in the shaft which ran from the sunlight to the depths, perhaps a tear formed; a tear fell; the waters swayed this way and that, received it, and were at rest. Never did anybody look so sad.”

“…how strangely he was venerable and laughable at one and the same time.”

“A light here required a shadow there.”

“For it was odd; and she believed it to be true; that with all his gloom and desperation he was happier, more hopeful on the whole, than she was.”

“So with the lamps all put out, the moon sunk, and a thin rain drumming on the roof a down pouring of immense darkness began. Nothing, it seemed could survive the flood, the profusion of darkness…”

“But what after all is one night? A short space, especially when the darkness dims so soon, and so soon a bird sings, a cock crows, or a faint green quickens, like a turning leaf, in the hollow of the wave. Night, however, succeeds to night. The winter holds a pack of them in a store and deals them equally, evenly, with indefatigable fingers. They lengthen; they darken. Some of them hold aloft clear planets, plates of brightness. The autumn trees, ravaged as they are, take on the flash of tattered flash kindling in the gloom of cool cathedral caves where gold letters on marble pages describe death in battle and how bones bleach and burn far away in Indian sands. The autumn trees gleam in the yellow moonlight, in the light of harvest moons, the light which mellows the energy of labour, and smooths the stubble, and brings the wave lapping blue to the shore.”

“‘What beautiful boots!’ she exclaimed. She was ashamed of herself. To praise his boots when he asked her to solace his soul; when he had shown her his bleeding hands, his lacerated heart, and asked her to pity them, then to say, cheerfully, ‘Ah, but what beautiful boots you wear!’ deserved, she knew, and she looked up expecting to get it, in one of his sudden roars of ill-temper, complete annihilation.”

“…all sorts of waifs and strays and things besides.”

 

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