Tuesday, May 19, 2020

"An inscrutable depth" and a "clear transparent surface" in Virginia Woolf's "Solid Objects"

In Virginia Woolf's "Solid Objects", the young politician John's first words are a dismissal of his profession: "Politics be damned!" When he then "burrows" his hand into the sand of the beach he's on, the expression in his eyes changes:  "[...] the background of thought and experience which gives an inscrutable depth to the eyes of grown people disappeared, leaving only the clear transparent surface, expressing nothing but wonder, which the eyes of young children display." As John "damns" the "inscrutable" world of adulthood, of politics and history, he experiences a childlike "wonder" unmediated by any "background". But this apolitical, "surface" immediacy only leads to the return of "depth" as kitsch. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 19 May)

No comments: