As always, please use the links on this website on the BOOK LIST page to get directed to the correct edition of any of my books (there have been past editions by other publishers which say “Out of Print”). Thanks!
And now for something completely different!
For fans of Virginia Woolf, and particularly her novel Mrs. Dalloway, you might like my own stream-of-consciousness extended essay and commentary: Reading Mrs. Dalloway. It’s a deep and broad look into this classic novel of poetic consciousness, revealing allusions, prompting musings, deepening thought and exploring hidden treasures as we accompany Clarissa Dalloway during her famous Hours. Here’s the opening paragraph:
“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”
You read the first sentence, and you’re in. In the midst of things; in medias res. A classic, and classical, element of literature. Recall The Iliad, which begins so famously in medias res: “Sing, O Muse, the wrath of Achilles.” You are thrown onto the battlefield, the Greeks and Trojans weary, heartbroken, nearing the fate that will send Odysseus on his arduous journey and Agamemnon home to horror and doom. How different from the opening lines of that other ancient book, “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth, when the earth was wild and waste…” which declares forthrightly that it will start you “here” and take you on a journey to “there.” The origin and the endpoint, causality and teleology are paramount for religion and science; the messiness and unpredictability of daily living, the “middle part” between beginning and end—and what we humans do with it—belong to philosophy and literature. Medieval classical literature’s meta-example of in medias res, the opening lines that will bring us back to modern Mrs. Dalloway, are from Dante’s Inferno: “Midway in the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost.”
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