Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being (1976)

It’s amazing how easily I’m taking up non-fiction these days. Just a few months ago, I could not remember more than 2 books of essays I’d read in the whole past year, now I’m reading more non-fiction than fiction, or so it seems. I’m delighted with these texts by Woolf, that are really several autobiographical texts written at different periods. I’m halfway through, but her writing is so smooth and witty that it’s a pleasure and an instant change of scenery when I pick up a paragraph or two in the public transport. Her sentences are delicately crafted just like a piece of embroidery. I just want to let you enjoy this beauty:

Directly your grandmother was dead, Stella inherited all the duties that she had discharged; and like some creaking old wagon, pitifully rusted, and yet filled with stirring young creatures, our family once more toiled painfully along the way.

[…]

when you examine feelings with the intense microscope that sorrow lends, it is amazing how they stretch, like the finest goldbeater’s skin, over immense tracts of substance. And we, poor children that we were, conceived it to be our duty evermore to go searching for these atoms, wherever they lie sprinkled about the surface, the great mountains and oceans, of the world. […] And so some grain would be saved, or some pin-point closed, and our immense task of piecing together all the torn fragments of his life would progress by the breadth of an atom.

(in Reminiscences)

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One thought on “Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being (1976)

  1. Sigh. She is wonderful. I’ve been in a sort of Woolf-ish place myself. Rereading To the Lighthouse, started Inner Life by Julia Briggs (really marvelous) and toeing into VW’s essays on London. In spite of my resolutions to cut back on book buying, I’m afraid I really must find Moments of Being.

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