Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Textual Editing as Meditation

And then, every time I go through the book, just as I am my most bored and irritated, I find something.

It feels like a glimpse of enlightenment must feel to those who meditate: patience, patience, patience, then, suddenly, with a quiet but brilliant clarity, the curtains part and I can hear something I had never heard before.

Thus, when Dr. Holmes gives Rezia a tranquilizer after Septimus’ death, she falls to sleep, “She put on her hat, and ran through cornfields.” And, somehow it’s clear: Rezia, the young widow far from home, Ruth, “in tears amid the alien corn,” as Woolf had it in the essay she wrote alongside Mrs. Dalloway.

I think I am the first person to notice this. Of course, if I’m not, do tell me and I can give credit.

2 comments:

amcorrea said...

Wow...that's pretty wonderful. I never thought of that comparison with Ruth, but it makes perfect sense. How lovely and heartbreaking.

Textual editing = extreme close reading = meditation. I like that.

(I have a feeling that long translation projects may be similar...)

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