Monday, 9 November 2009

Virginia Woolf

“Now let us consider the relationship of cinema to poetry. In Mrs Virginia Woolf’s latest novel, The Years, the following passage occurs at the beginning of the second section, headed 1891:

The autumn wind blew over England. It twitched the leaves off the trees, and down they fluttered, spotted red and yellow, or sent them floating, flaunting in wide curves before they settled. In towns coming in gusts round the corners, the wind blew here a hat off; there lifted a veil high above a woman’s head. Money was in brisk circulation. The streets were crowded. Upon the sloping desks of the offices near St Paul’s, clerks paused with their pens on the ruled page. It was difficult to work after the holidays. Margate, Eastbourne and Brighton had bronzed them and tanned them. The sparrows and starlings, making their discordant chatter round the eaves of St Martin’s, whitened the heads of the sleek statues holding rods or rolls of paper in Parliament Square. Blowing behind the boat train, the wind ruffled the channel, tossed the grapes in Provence, and made the lazy fisher boy, who was lying on his back in his boat in the Mediterranean, roll over and snatch a rope.

“What I want to emphasise is that the further her method gets away from straightforward reporting –from the description of a single scene from a single fixed viewpoint- the nearer it comes to another kind of description in which the cinema excels.
What is Mrs Woolf’s method? The scenes she evokes are shattered through space and time: her total picture is something which does not and cannot exist as an entity in the physical world. It is a picture of something created by herself, which comes into being for the first time when she writes. And in order to create it she has first to break down the given unity of the physical world and choose from it certain elements which are brought together into a new unity designed to convey a particular experience – an experience which could not be had from directly observing the physical world itself.”
Charles Davy

No comments:

Post a Comment