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Lecture 14

ENGLISH 45C Lecture 14: 10/12 Mrs Dalloway #2

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Eric Falci

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find more resources at ● last time, we talked abt one of the novel’s projects: articulate different modes of temporality ○ time as society agrees to define it, a regulative force, structures our lives ■ we’re reminded of the time by chiming of Big Ben, or feel its passage in little moments like when Peter says he wants to find a bench so no one will bother him and ask him for the time - doesn’t want to accede to external time ■ can categorize charas by how quickly/well they accede to outside time; we have the least sympathy for charas like Hugh Whitbread, enthralled w/ ways of world ● p102 looking at clock, “one was grateful to R&L for giving one time ratified by Greenwich” - accepts its authority ○ interior moments-of-being time, that can dilate/contract/etc ● airplane boring in = external force occupying the consciousness -> ea/ chara has diff chain of thoughts in response ○ interfolds the 2 time schemes ● asymmetrical quality of rendering of time in a novel ○ plane’s speed + speed of thought, vs our slow process of reading - another way time’s an issue in this novel ○ charas negotiate/switch between these 2 times w/o a problem ● charas at thresholds of 2 time schemes: Clarissa Dalloway + Septimus Smith ○ Clarissa is fine - b/c of status - doesn’t have a problem separating inside/outside ○ when car backfires/plane flies, other charas cushion the blow from outside; while Septimus thinks it’s coming for him ● exterior time is also abt control/pwr - who gets to control access ○ doctors - get to decide who belongs in soc/doesn’t, by labeling someone mad ○ Sir Will is totally absb’d w/ notion of exterior proportion -> inhuman treatmt of Septimus ■ p99 - ideology of proportion ○ control/pwr indicatv of the patriarchal soc in which Woolf lives ■ “received the impress of Sir William’s will. he swooped, he devoured, he shut ppl up” ● problem of Septimus ○ why is he here? never meets Clarissa Dalloway, titular character, at all; novel does fine w/ 1 protagonist; Septimus is like a 2nd protag inside of the major story of Clarissa ○ how are we meant to read his suicide? ○ Woolf wrote that Sept and Clar are meant to be foils/a pair - but nothing alike ■ how do we understand this pairing? ■ from the moment we read Sept, we’re encouraged to read him as double ● chara’s fundamental inability to tell tw inside/outside ● p14 introduced to us twice ■ somehow helps us learn about Clarissa too ○ numerous examples in novel of women being made secondary - Bruton needs Rich/Hugh’s help, Rezia is phys moved aside when doc comes to see Sept ■ fascinating that a youngish man is a diff kind of victim of patriarchy: victim of Britain, sacrificed for the war; but still alive ○ can’t just put Septimus aside as a crazy lunatic - Woolf is clear abt loading Sept/Rezia w/ sympathy ■ “London had swallowed up many young men like Septimus” - can’t think about him as an exception ○ thrush knocking snail against rock - snail is being broken/opened to the world, and curling into itself to stay alive ■ Septimus does t
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