Allied Artillery of World War Two by Ian V. Hogg

By Ian V. Hogg

Allied Artillery of global struggle

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She must set up a new method, and since she is a born writer, a great artist, she can only discover it in the act of writing itself: ‘In this book I practise writing, I do my scales,’ she confesses to her diary on 17 October 1924. She calls it ‘the tunnelling process’ (15 October 1923). She proceeds by ‘digging out caves’ behind her characters. She learns to do it by doing it: ‘I am always to wrench my substance to fit in… It is a devil of a struggle’ (19 June 1923), but she does it. And she finishes the novel, much to her surprise: ‘… the astounding fact — the last words of the last page of Mrs Dalloway… “For there she was”… I kept my feet on the tight rope’ (17 October 1924).

Time is at the centre of the novel, embodied in the loud vertical presence of Big Ben. From that sonorous centre rings of sound emanate, expanding horizontally until they reach the ear, that receives and transmits them through the nervous ramifications of the body, tunnelling down towards a depth where a different sense is reached, the most immaterial in the scale of senses assigned to the seizing of the real — memory. The sum of all the senses, it seems in the novel, is realized precisely by this last one, which is not an organ; on the contrary, it marks a passage towards the non-sensual.

She can welcome him back through the past. As for the present, she is never there, never was; at least, not for him. ’ Continuing to sew, she evades him in his very presence, repeating her virginal withdrawing ‘into the tower alone’ to be all at one with her self, at a distance from the others. Having resisted and overcome that assault in the morning, at night Clarissa finds herself again in danger. We are at the end of the novel, at the party upon which ‘all must bear; which expresses life, in every variety… while Septimus dies’.

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