Includes 'The Tunnel'and 'Interim'....
|Title||:||Pilgrimage, Volume 2: The Tunnel and Interim|
|Number of Pages||:||456 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Pilgrimage, Volume 2: The Tunnel and Interim Reviews
From the first few pages - her technique has already developed and progressed from Honeycomb - look at how she moves from third to first person "When she turned out the gas the window spaces remained faintly alight with a soft light like moonlight. At the window she found a soft bluish radiance cast up from below upon the opposite walls and windows. It went up into the clear blue darkness of the sky. When she lay down the bed smelt faintly of dust. The air about her head under the sharply sloping ceiling was still a little warm with the gas. It was full of her untrammelled thoughts. Her luggage was lying about, quite near. She thought of washing in the morning in the bright light on the other side of the room . . . leaves crowding all round the lattice and here and there a pink rose . . . several pink roses ... the lovely air chilling the water . . . the basin quite up against the lattice . . . dew splashing off the rose bushes in the little garden almost dark with trellises and trees, crowding with Harriett through the little damp stiff gate, the sudden lineny smell of Harriett's pinafore and the thought of Harriett in it, feeling the same, sudden bright sunshine, two shouts, great cornfields going up and up with a little track between them ... up over Blew-burton . . . Whittenham Clumps. Before I saw Whittenham Clumps I had always known them. But we saw them before we knew they were called Whittenham Clumps. It was a surprise to know anybody who had seen them and that they had a name."I think what moves me, and impresses me, most about the novel so far is the honesty and openness of her attempt to render experience/life in prose - her willingness to detail all the youthful idiocies of thought, all the confusions, all the anxieties, the awkwardness...And this allow us to truly get the sense of a mind growing and developing - in particular her wrestling with the position of women as we shift from the 19th century to the 20th - there is much here that reads like a precursor to Woolf's Room - Miriam even goes through that exact struggle herself... DR's style and the complexity of her writing is increasing as we move through the sequence - it is not a difficult read by any means (though I can imagine it was when these books were published almost 100 years ago) - it moves fast and (despite the beauty of much of the writing) is not a text that requires slow lingering over. But it is wonderful wonderful stuff. What is particularly interesting is that there are significant differences between the original text of 1919 and the modified version published in the 1930's - DR was heavily criticised for her punctuation (or lack of) and her experimentation with prose and essentially went back through these two books and inserted commas etc to make them more readable. From what I can see of the originals, I wish she had not done so!. For example, look at this piece of text from the original version, which I think could almost have been written by William Gaddis:"I can see Grace – she drove on carrying them with her, ignoring the swift eyes upon the dim things settling heavily upon her heart – gazing out of the window in the little room where I was supposed to be holding a German class – Yes I know Miriam darling, but now you know me you know I could never be good at languages – – You’re my pupil – – It seems absurd to think of you as a teacher now we know you chuckled Florrie."Now that is just great stuff...I have tracked down a not insanely overpriced first edition of Interim and will report back once I have been able to read and compare...
All that has been said and known in the world is in language, in words; all we know of Christ is in Jewish words; all the dogmas of religion are words; the meaning of words change with people’s thoughts. Then no one knows anything for certain. Everything depends upon the way a thing is put, and that is a question of some particular civilization. Culture comes through literature, which is a half-truth. People who are not cultured are isolated in barbaric darkness. The Greeks were cultured; but they are barbarians . . . why? Whether you agree or not, language is the only way of expressing anything and it dims everything. So the Bible is not true; it is a culture. Religion is wrong in making word-dogmas out of it. Christ was something. But Christianity which calls Him divine and so on, is false. It clings to words which get more and more wrong . . . then there's nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be quite sure of rejoicing about. The Christians are irritating and frightened. This is an odd series of books to try and review without falling too heavily into repetition. That’s not to say that there is not a great deal of depth here – there is (and I’m going to touch on exactly why that is in a moment), and I’m sure one could write loads of criticism based on what Richardson is doing and the topics she explores; but I’m not trying to write criticism, I’m just trying to briefly cover why these books are excellent and move on.As noted in my review of volume one, these books contain a massive depth of interiority: Specifically Miriam’s. Pretty much no matter what events are occurring – whether at her clerical job, sitting having tea, writing a letter to her sister, walking the streets of London, tutoring in French – the real action is all in Miriam’s head. Real life basically pales in comparison to her specifically filtered view of real life. It is a very vibrant combination of interior strength, and societal embarrassment, and frustration; there is both fragility as well as a core of independent intellectual strength to Miriam. There is also, in great quantities, an immense depth of rage at societies views of, expectations for, and general dismissals in regards to women; Miriam (/Dorothy Richardson) pulls no punches in her scathing critique of male dominated society, as some of the best passages in these books positively boil with indignant rage. These books ache, and they make me ache when I read them. There is just so much bearing down, the intimate claustrophobia of an other; snippets and fragments and feelings that are familiar and recognizable, but with that there is an alienness that shifts the perspective just enough to put me out of phase. The weight is almost too much at times.All of that is to say that they are excellent. But, again, I’m not sure how many other ways I’m going to be able to say it if it continues for the next eight books. I might just start picking quotes out and letting them stand alone. If, by one thought, all the men in the world could be stopped, shaken, and slapped. There must, somewhere, be some power that could avenge it all . . . but if these men were right, there was not. Nothing but Nature and her decrees. Why was nature there? Who started it? If nature ‘ took good care’ this and that . . . there must be somebody. If there was a trick, there must be a trickster. If there is a god who arranged how things should be between men and women, and just let it go and go on I have no respect for him. I should like to give him a piece of my mind . . . •———————————• There was nothing to turn to. Books were poisoned. Art. All the achievements of men were poisoned at the root. The beauty of nature was tricky femininity. The animal world was cruelty. Humanity was based on cruelty. Jests and amusements were tragic distractions from tragedy. Religion was the only hope. But even there there was no hope for women. No future life could heal the degradation of having been a woman. Religion in the world had nothing but insults for women. Christ was a man. If it was true that he was God taking on humanity—he took on male humanity . . . and the people who explained him, St Paul and the priests, the Anglicans and the Nonconformists, it was the same story everywhere. Even if religion could answer science and prove it wrong there was no hope, for women. And no intelligent person can prove science wrong. Life is poisoned, for women, at the very source. Science is true and will find out more and more, and things will grow more and more horrible. Space is full of dead worlds. The world is cooling and dying. Then why not stop now?
When alerted to the fact that a book has no 'narrative', two (albeit similar) question arise; 1)Will I want to keep on reading if there's no central narrative thread to pull me through? and 2)Will the lack of drama and events leave me bored?The answer to question one, as regards Dorothy Richardson, is a very firm Yes. Her writing style- despite my having read in some places about its being difficult- is very easy to read. By this I mean that it is not clunky nor digressive nor intentionally complex; it is mellufluous, thought-provoking, hilarious and beautiful. That is not to say that question two will not arise at some point as you read on, thoroughly enjoying her writing but wondering to yourself 'is this going any where...?' Then suddenly, you get it: This isn't someone simply divulging all their deepest thoughts and telling you what they do from day to day, thoughtlessly and lazily adopting the epistolary form, nor is it its opposite; she isn't experimenting with form to make you admire her writing style. What she has done is attempt to write a psychological novel without pandering to the reader; she parachutes you into siutation after situation without ever explaining what is happening and one has to draw one's own conclusion; a hugely rewarding manner of writing. Authors such as Henry Green, Christine Brooke-Rose and Carole Maso, much later in the 20thC would go on to remove nouns or write with an obstruction, to highlight particular issues with society or with the novel itself, often resulting in admirable but more often 'difficult' novels. Richardson succeeds where others fail. Sure, you need to be open-minded, certainly you need to be able to enjoy the kind of novel in which no one kills anyone, but aside from that, this book is akin to any other novel which seeks to get to the core of human nature but, perhaps, moreso.In short, she is has created a remarkably readable, extremely enjoyable novel which using an intruging form allows us to see and hear the inner voice with precision, without feeling as if we are reading a novel. Having only read The Tunnel and having just begun Interrim, shie is already one of my favourite authors. She is less stylistically obsessed than Woolf, less digressive than Proust and funnier than both, but I would place her somewhere betwixt the two. It's such a tremendous shame that she is so neglected. Hopefully the upcoming centenary of the first part of this book, and the fact that Oxford appear to be reissuing it (it is, otherwise, a print on demand title and thus pretty hard to find) will see her gradually gain back a reputation which she most certainly deserves. She's fabulous; read her.
The Tunnel, one of the longer books. Miriam now works at a dental centre, the book reflects her thoughts about life, her family and those around her.Interim, is just that a short book in which Miriam goes away to a boarding house. There she meets a group of characters including a doctor from Canada. She spends much of her time watching the other people staying at the house. It's interesting to read what she thinks of others and how she feels later in the book to hear their impressions of her.
I recognize the importance of this novel, and there were parts that were genuinely really funny, but oh my god Miriam is infuriating.