Sunday, January 18, 2015

Woolfy Style and expectation again

After finishing A room of one's own with the slot game of "the big bad wolf and three piglets" spinning on its own on the side, I found myself in a fog.

Ok, I did find traces of Mrs. Dalloway but "This is the Woolfy style?"

The fog I found myself in was a result of cognitive dissonance. Something expected was missing.

Based on the impression I got from bibliographical info online or the movie, The Hour, there had to be a hint of depression (not quite sure whether it's the right word) in the writing of this legendary lady who went with the river of no return--like what I sensed in Wallace's "A supposedly fun thing I will never do again," which, by the way, was considered as extremely funny and humorous by quite a lot of people.

Since I don't know squat about literature and writing, I have no business to meddle with what might contribute to what I sense in people's writing, or the content.

One thing I know is that Woolf must have had the work done when depression gave her a break, whether she was in the manic phase or not. If it's true, I have to really thank her for managing to bring herself out of depression when not required to be in it. It's because it somehow pains me greatly to read things that are supposed to be on the sunny side while something in the writing tells me, "The author is sort of like ... very depressed?"--whether the authors themselves know it or not, and whether it's my disordered thinking or not.

I was actually pretty afraid of Virginia Woolf--more precisely, reading her work--A room of one's own. It's a good thing that the estimated value of expectation is far off from the true value this round, when I learn that the "my feel" kind of thing is considered by me part of the stuff called a style (whether it belongs to other people's style or not, and whether it would remain so for me or not).

(P.S., Though I said I don't have the audacity to comment on the content, Woolf's emphasis on the progression of the collective does remind me of my call for the mental nation to strive on, helping ourselves and helping others to help ourselves, for the benefit of the future generation of we mentals--in the book I completed that was far too long and thus not published.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Curious George et al

I think that I knew Adam Bede was written by George Eliot when listening to the audio book.

Apparently, in Du côté de chez Swann, the rare volume of Proust's work that I managed to plow through, writing of George Sand were mentioned.

When I read the Chinese version of Jane Eyre, it never occurred to me the book was written by Currur Bell.

I just encountered these names when going through the rationale of Woolf's claim that in order for a woman to write fictions, she needs to have money and a room.

No, I didn't come to this book because I want to write fictions. I am already beyond sick and tired of writing with my limited English proficiency at this point. I arrived at this book because I have no inkling of the Woolfy style.

Then, I came across this sentence as I was trying to get a sense of this style thing ...

"Currer Bell, George Eliot, George Sand, all the victims of inner strife as their writings prove, sought ineffectively to veil themselves by using the name of a man."

This illiterate thought, "Eh, the name George Eliot sounds familiar."

The sense of familiarity led me to reread the sentence again, which got me confused, "You mean these men were women?" (And, yes, there really can be someone ignorant like me.)

So I went googling around, "Wow, it's true. The authors were female except they used a male pen name. They could have saved the whole trouble if their parents had named them with my name since it's a male name."

Then it struck me--the power of expectation in the process of mindless interpretation.

Midway through the book, I know where Virginia Woolf was going even though I have been reading more for her style than for content. Yet, despite the context and the fact that she explicitly stated that A, B, and C used "the name of a man," upon the presence of A, B, and C, a part of my head already established the expectation that these male authors were mentioned for certain argumentative purpose. As a result, my head almost stopped processing upon the presence of that expectation.

Since the purpose of my reading is to get a sense of the Woolfy style, it's nothing traumatic except, "Shit! How much of what I have learned in life so far is a result of the George et al phenomena?" :-X

Anyways, not quite sure whether this book is representative of the Woolfy style since it seems to be different from the trip Mrs. Dalloway took to get the flowers--as long as it's not like searching through Torrents of Spring for Hemingway's style. lol

(Thought I might post something since it's been a while since my last blurb.)