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"Look within and life, it seems, is very far from being 'like this'. Examine for a moment an
ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind reeives a myriad im!ressions - trivial,
fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. "rom all sides they
ome, an inessant shower of innumerable atoms# and as they fall, as they sha!e themselves
into the life of $onday or Tuesday, the aent falls on differently from of old# the moment
of im!ortane ame not here but there...
Life is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a
semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the
end. Is it not the task of the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and
uncircumscribed spirit, whatever aberration or complexity it may display, with as little
mixture of the alien and external as possible% &'()*+,-from $odern "ition by -irginia
/ 0oom of 1ne's 1wn introdued the one!t of "the androgynous mind" as a model for
the artist. /ttributing the idea to 2amuel Taylor 3oleridge &45,, .oolf desribes the
androgynous mind as "resonant and porous; . . . it transmits emotion without
impediment; . . . it is naturally creative, incandescent and undivided" !"#. $ndrogyny
is necessary because "it is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be
woman-manly or man-womanly" &)*6,.
%econstruction&s attack on the 'estern idea of the unified self.
.oolf states at the beginning of 0oom that she will be "making use of all the liberties and
lienses of a novelist" in her letures and that the &I& is only a convenient term for
somebody who has no real being" (#. )he notes "a straight, dark bar, a shadow
shaped something like the letter &I&," which makes it hard "to catch a glimpse of the
landscape behind it" !!#, and she ontinues, "*ne began to be tired of &I.& +ot but
what this &I& was a most respectable &I&; honest and logical; as hard as a nut, and
polished for centuries by good teaching and good feeding. . . . ,ut . . . the worst of
it is that in the shadow of the letter &I& all is shapeless as mist" &)**,.
7othing need be said# nothing ould be said. There it was, all round them. 8t !artook, she
felt, arefully hel!ing $r. 9ankes to a s!eially tender piece, of eternity# as she had
already felt about something different one before that afternoon# there is a coherence
in things, a stability# something, she meant, is immune from change, and shines out &she
glaned at the window with its ri!!le of refleted lights, in the face of the flowing, the
fleeting, the spectral, like a ruby# so that again tonight she had the feeling she had had
one today, already, of peace, of rest. 1f suh moments, she thought, the thing is made
that endures.
The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye, that o!ened
suddenly, and softly in the evening. 7ow:;ames looked at the Lighthouse. He ould see the
white-washed roks# the tower, stark and straight# he ould see that it was barred with
blak and white# he ould see windows in it# he ould even see washing s!read on the roks
to dry. 2o that was the Lighthouse, was it% 7o, the other was also the Lighthouse. -*.
+*/0I+1 '$) )I23L4 *+5 /0I+1. The other Lighthouse was true too. &To the
The grou!, whih inluded .oolf, ;oye, and <eats, began to develo! a theory of
su!!lemental "selves" that !oints toward a elebration of diversity as antidote to individual
limitation. 8n $rs. =alloway, .oolf has 3larissa !ro!ose a theory that she is many things and
many !eo!le, "so that to know her, or any one, one must seek out the !eo!le who om!leted
them" &)4'>, re!rint, )45), >'->?,. <eats worked out an analogous idea in his theory of the
anti-self in "@er /mia 2ilentia Lunae" &)4)A,, a notion that eah individual is im!liit in his
or her o!!osite, whih eventuated in the om!lex theory of interloking !ersonality ty!es
outlined in / -ision &)4'>, rev. ed., )4?A,. 8n Blysses &)4'',, ;oye also !ursues the idea
that the self is luxuriously heterogeneous, a heterogeneity brought to the surfae by
multi!le enounters with differene. He makes his hero an a!ostate ;ew who is defined on
either extreme by a "s!oiled !riest" and an adulterous woman, and in these sli!!ages
between limited individuals he elebrates suh limits, suh insuffiienies, as onditions of
ommunal !ossibility. /s 2te!hen =edalus ex!lains in the library, the varied world
re!resents the !otential so!e of a disunited selfdom( "5very life is many days, day after
day. 'e walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men,
wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves" &Blysses, )4'', ed. Hans
.alter Cabler, )456, ha!. 4, ll. )*66-6+,.