February 11th, 2013


More About Woolf

Woolf was a poet who wrote in prose. To The Lighthouse has the structure of one of those Hardy poems in which stanza one is all about the bright dewy past and stanza two about the blighted present. One place, two moods and several deaths in between. "Down their carved names the raindrop ploughs". 

She wasn't any kind of a story teller. She really has no idea how to hook the reader. I picked up The Years.  Chapter 1 is a diffuse description of London on a spring afternoon. Chapter 2 introduces us to Colonel Blimp. Colonel Blimp might be tolerable if he were funny but he's not and it's very hard to know why we should be interested in him when his creator isn't. 

She was an inspired writer. When the spirit's with her there's no one like her. She leaves you speechless. When the spirit deserts her she's dull- and sometimes worse than dull because she's trying to fake the inspiration she doesn't feel- and falling into pretentiousness and sentimentality.  Her writing either soars or falls flat - just as poetry does.The collected works of the average poet are full of dead wood. We tolerate the Collected Tennyson because it contains Tears idle Tears and a few other things of similar intensity. Woolf's novels are the same.