Virginia Woolf

As I sped through the British countryside on a high speed train this weekend en route to London for a conference discussing Music and Philosophy at King's College London, I was reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse.  This particularly caught my attention and made me smile; what brilliant writing...

Mrs Ramsey is walking with her husband, slightly annoyed that he, being the intellectual that he is, seems to not appreciate the same beauty which evidently surrounds both of them, and that she, not understanding his brilliance fully, can only think of the beauty around her:

[...] But then, Mrs Ramsay, though instantly taking his side against all the silly Giddingses in the world, then, she thought, intimating by a little pressure on his arm that he walked up hill too fast for her, and she must stop for a moment to see whether those were fresh mole-hills on the bank, then, she thought, stooping down to look, a great mind like his must be different in every way from ours.  All the great men she had ever known, she thought, deciding that a rabbit must have got in, were like that, and it was good for young men (though the atmosphere of lecture-rooms was stuffy and depressing to her beyond endurance almost) simply to hear him, simply to look at him.  But without shooting rabbits, how was one to keep them down? she wondered.  It might be a rabbit; it might be a mole.  Some creature anyhow was ruining her Evening Primroses.  And looking up, she saw above the thin trees the first pulse of the full-throbbing star, and wanted to make her husband look at it; for the sight gave her such keen pleasure.  But she stopped herself.  He never looked at things.  If he did, all he would say would be, Poor little world, with one of his sighs.
At that moment, he said, 'Very fine,' to please her, and pretended to admire the flowers.  But she knew quite well that he did not admire them, or even realize that they were there.  It was only to please her ... Ah, but was that not Lily Briscoe strolling along with William Bankes? [...]
12,'The Window', To the Lighthouse 


Virgina Woolf studied Greek when she was fifteen at King's College London. 

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