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Can you please find a passage from Mrs. Dalloway that illustrares the pleausure of...

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salerno1 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted January 15, 2012 at 6:57 AM via web

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Can you please find a passage from Mrs. Dalloway that illustrares the pleausure of modernist writing?

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 16, 2012 at 5:57 AM (Answer #1)

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A pleasure offered by modernist writing can be found in moments where conventional grammar is subsumed by a larger syntactical logic, so that a sentence which might be a "run-on" elsewhere becomes a moving utterance in the modernist novel, breaking from conventional grammar but holding together and sensible on the page.

The long, flowing sentence is not characteristic of all writers who are classified as modernist, but it is present in the work of Woolf and Faulkner and Joyce. The result and effect on the reader is often one of discovery, poetry and insight.

The long sentence offers its own grammar which adheres to the rules of the character’s mind with which it is associated. In this way, the ungrammatical sentence becomes a moment of simultaneous characterization, artistic insight and of stylistic achievement.

One example of a moment like this from Mrs. Dalloway concerns the poet character:

But what of all this could the most observant of his friends have said except what a gardener says when he opens the conservatory door in the morning and finds a new blossom on his plant: It has flowered; flowered from vanity, ambition, idealism, passion, loneliness, courage, laziness, the usual seeds, which all muddled up (in a room off the Euston Road), made him shy and stammering, made him anxious to improve himself, made him fall in love with Miss Isabel Pole, lecturing in the Waterloo Road upon Shakespeare.

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