Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Commerce, Politics and the City in A Room of Ones Own and Mrs. Dallowa

Commerce, Politics and the City in A Room of One's Own and Mrs. Dalloway      Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   "...At this moment, as so often happens in London, there was a complete lull and suspension of traffic. Nothing came down the street; nobody passed. A single leaf detached itself from the plane tree at the end of the street, and in that pause and suspension fell. Somehow it was like a signal falling, a signal pointing to a force in things which one had overlooked ... Now it was bringing from one side of the street to the other diagonally a girl in patent leather boots and then a young man in a maroon overcoat; it was also bringing a taxi-cab; and it brought all three together at a point directly beneath my window; where the taxi stopped; and the girl and the young man stopped; and they got into the taxi; and the cab glided off as if it were swept on by the current elsewhere." (A Room of One's Own 100)    "Virginia Woolf" - the version of her that narrates the "events" of A Room of One's Own - observes the above urban scene from her window. In a pattern that she had perfected in Mrs. Dalloway four years earlier, the rhythms of urban existence are closely articulated with those of the natural world - and that rhythmic coordination in turn serves as a kind of authorization of that urban existence, a guarantee of the transcendent meaning of the evidently constructed human world. Thus the quietly definitive dropping of a leaf from its branch not only seems a sort of rhythmic blueprint for the ballet-like convergence of "girl," "man" and "taxi-cab", but also in fact the mystical cause of that convergence, a "signal" "bringing" this ... ...fied royal, the skywriting of an advertiser's airplane) are analogues of the narration's own confident focalizing sweep - now airborne, now moving down city streets, now fanning out across parks, always able to join disparate characters in a cohesive narrative line. But they are uneasy analogues, for they are patently the product not of some transcendent or natural meaning but of powerful modern interests: the nation, entertainment, commerce. Clarissa's intimations of timeless spiritual connectivity, and the narration's own performance of that connectivity, move in the grooves set down by these very modern institutions.       Works cited:    Virginia Woolf. Mrs. Dalloway. London: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1925.    ____________. A Room of One's Own. London: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1929.

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