By Monica Latham (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Poetics of Postmodernism and Neomodernism: Rewriting Mrs Dalloway
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. Septimus’s hallucinations in ‘The Prime Minister’ constitute the author’s first endeavour to capture this character’s distorted emotional life and disturbed imagination, and suggest how he becomes aspired into his mental vagaries. 28 A Poetics of Postmodernism and Neomodernism Like ‘an explorer’ who ‘holds his torch right up’, the narrator penetrates his consciousness and describes the associations and metamorphoses operated by his mind, which lead to his laughter: There was complete silence.
They exist in their relationship to each other and their corresponding echoes give the Woolfian prose an inner twofold rhythm. The twinned resemblance and progress is efficiently established through intertextuality, too, which brings together the ‘heat o’ the sun’ and ‘the furious winter’s rages’. While the first intertext that initially appears in ‘Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street’ is abandoned (‘From the contagion of the world’s slow stain’), Woolf retains only the one which links both experiences, Clarissa’s and Septimus’s: ‘Fear no more the heat o’ the sun’ (‘Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street’ 155, 158; ‘The Hours’ 266).
Even if the narrator superficially penetrates the character’s vision, unlike in Mrs Dalloway where the reader ‘sees’ everything the character is experiencing and is caught up in the vortex of his poetic hallucinations, even if these visions are not yet as chiselled out, refined and intense as certain passages in Mrs Dalloway, this excerpt is still outstanding as it represents the recording of the author’s earliest attempts to render Septimus’s Dalloway-esque visions, along with the next glimpse of his insanity, or the expression of his ‘insane truth’ after he leaves the restaurant and plots to assassinate the Prime Minister and then commit suicide (321–2).
A Poetics of Postmodernism and Neomodernism: Rewriting Mrs Dalloway by Monica Latham (auth.)