Tuesday, 7 April 2009
The Mysterious Case of Miss V. 1906
The Mysterious Case of Miss V. is a very short story, indeed running to only two and a bit pages, it is really a short character study. Miss V. is in fact the Misses V, two sisters who are always at the social functions that the narrator attends, but who blend into the background, “melt into some armchair or chest of drawers” (p31) When the sisters stop attending these functions the narrator is aware that something is not quite right but is not able to put her finger on it. The ending of the piece has a supernatural quality to it, so I wont spoil it. I love Virginia Woolf’s style of writing, she is not afraid to use long sentences, with lots of punctuation which gives a very distinct rhythm to the words and dictates how you read it.
The opening line
“It is a commonplace that there is no loneliness like that of one who finds himself along in a crowd; novelists repeat it; the pathos is undeniable; and now, since the case of Miss V. I at least have come to believe it.” (p30)
Semi-colons seem to have been a favourite of Virginia’s. Matt from A Guy’s Moleskine has been reading Mrs Dalloway and comments here on her frequent use of semi-colons.
At first this use of punctuation can make her work difficult to read, but I have found that as you get used to it being forced to slow down and read everything more carefully actually makes reading the piece more interesting and you get more out of it.