Posts Tagged ‘ virginia woolf ’

The Big Bad Woolf

Virginia Woolf is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most over-rated authors in the history of English literature. No classical, theoretical or any other variety of bias could ever hope to defend the utter horror that is working your way through the muddled fiction she creates. English students around the world are assaulted by her rambling stream-of-consciousness writing style every year, and I feel it is only right to defend their pleas against writing about this woman’s failed attempt at inspirationally original literature in some way or form.

Today, I attempted to tackle the literary mess that is Mrs Dalloway. Within a few sentences, I began to develop the same feeling in the back of my mind that I had experienced in 2006 when attempting to comprehend To The Lighthouse. Quite simply, she’s a terrible author. Rather less simply, I shall expand on this, as I feel a failure to recognise a false icon in literature, to this degree, constitutes a failing by the ruling classes of academical literary criticism, and is simply comprised of bored professors punishing students by attempting to get them to tackle “real” literature.

To read Mrs Dalloway, as I did, with the theme of trauma and its disruption of literary narrative firmly in mind (I find if you explore books by pursuing a certain theme, they become less boring literature and more the English nerd’s version of a CSI episode), is a rather ironic experience. This is due, pretty much, to the trauma you yourself will undergo in an attempt to decipher what exactly Woolf is trying to say to the reader at any given moment. Call me blasphemous all you like – I am no author of the Great English Novel, by any means, but the woman uses more semi-colons in a paragraph than I will in a year. I find the acid test for whether or not a sentence is too long, and either needs to be cut in half or simply saturated with the correct punctuation to maintain the flow of prose you are attempting to construct, is to read it out loud and see if you can reach the end without running out of breath.

In her case, I wager I would asphyxiate approximately eight to ten times, per page. However, when reading it out loud, this is very much a problem. Thankfully, as a Londoner who enjoys relative silence on a daily commute, people don’t generally read out loud in contemporary Britain, and thus we are spared the swathes of dying literary sycophants.

*comes back to this post, six days later*

Frankly, I’m done with this woman. She’s a horrible novelist, and writing about her is like writing about the village fair – it’s quaint, and everyone accepts its existence, but ultimately, the only ones who accept it as a force of all that is good and whole in the world are either fifty-five or think videogames are for mental patients.

I think I’ll wait until Bioshock 2, and imagine every British-accented splicer as Woolf herself. The manic laughing, deranged outfits and bizarre syntax fit just right.

That being said, after a novel’s worth of literary analysis, so do embedded bullets. As an optional fashion accessory, of course.