Friday, August 13, 2004

What Once Was Lost...

now is found. An essay Virginia Woolf wrote in 1931 for Good Housekeeping magazine was lost and has beenrediscovered. One of the great things about Woolf is that she is so good at character. Here's a tantalizing tidbit:

The truth was she did not want intimacy; she wanted conversation. Intimacy has a way of breeding silence, and silence she abhorred. There must be talk, and it must be general, and it must be about everything. It must not go too deep, and it must not be too clever, for if it went too far in either of these directions somebody was sure to feel out of it, and to sit balancing his tea cup, saying nothing. Thus Mrs Crowe's drawing-room had little in common with the celebrated salons of the memoir writers. Clever people often came there - judges, doctors, members of parliament, writers, musicians, people who travelled, people who played polo, actors and complete nonentities, but if anyone said a brilliant thing it was felt to be rather a breach of etiquette - an accident that one ignored, like a fit of sneezing, or some catastrophe with a muffin.
The last bit cracked me up and the line "some catastrophe with a muffin" is a hoot. What kind of catastrophe can one have with a muffin? The essay is a wonderful and The Guardian was kind enough to print the whole thing.