A Poetics of Postmodernism and Neomodernism: Rewriting Mrs by Monica Latham (auth.)

By Monica Latham (auth.)

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Extra resources for A Poetics of Postmodernism and Neomodernism: Rewriting Mrs Dalloway

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Thus, the problems the author notes in her private papers are dealt with and solved during the process of rewriting the novel: Septimus must deliberately be ‘left vague’ (quoted in Wussow 418), we can read in the author’s instructions to herself. The Dalloway-esque fabric becomes more economical, more intense and tighter while at the same time the scenes, just like Septimus’s hallucinations, become more elusive and unexplained, as events are perceived through the characters’ subjective perspectives, without much narrative guidance or support.

The Dressing-rooms’ 45 I foresee, to return to The Hours, that this is going to be the devil of a struggle. The design is so queer & so masterful. I’m always having to wrench my substance to fit it. The design is certainly original, & interests me hugely. I should like to write away & away at it, very quick and fierce. Needless to say, I cant. In three weeks from today I shall be dried up. (Diary 2: 248–9) As the novel’s design came to her first, the substance that she gradually pours into the novel must be carefully shaped to fit this visionary mould.

Baker, Mrs Lewis, Dora Jameson, J. Ellis Robertson; he is one of those who ‘often escape notice entirely; like those sea anemones which grow on the roofs of caves and are only seen when an explorer holds his torch right up’ (319). When Septimus is mentioned for the first time, the author focuses on his mouth, characterised by specific teeth and laughter: ‘Septimus Smith was utterly different. He was goat-toothed and laughed very violently’ (321). When the conversation at the table reaches a standstill, Septimus’s inner visions take over and his mental state is unveiled to the reader: his laughter is actually the outward expression of a rich and disturbing mental activity.

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