Into the wilderness of the author's mind

by Stefan Alievikj on 19th April, 2013 at 2:04 PM CEST

It's the splendid morning. Like the pulse of a perfect heart, life struck straight through the streets.

You are about to start reading another interactive ATW on the Challenge:Future platform. You are HERE and NOW, reading this text... and a lady in her mid 50's tells you that she would buy the flowers herself.

You are to be shifted in someone's else stream of thoughts. However, you can catch only fragments of those thoughts. Note that they are somewhere situated in a text, that these thoughts compose a novel, which you might be familiar with.

So, this lady, she is out in the streets and observes the other people... She sees that "they love life. In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp and trudge; in the bellow of the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumphs and the jungle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment in June..... As a cloud crosses the sun, silence falls on London' and falls on the mind. Effort ceases. Time flaps on the mast. There we stop; there we stand. Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame...."

You are now suddenly being swept into a mind of a male character... This guy has had his journey to India and now is back in London.... "he had been sent down from Oxford - true. He had been a Socialist, in some sense a failure - true. Still the future of civilization lies, he thought, in the hands of young men like that; of young men such as he was thirty years ago; with their love of abstract principles; getting books sent to the all the way from London to a peak in the Himalayas; reading science; reading philosophy. The future lies in the hands of young men like that, he thought..... And just because nobody yet knew he was in London, except Clarissa, and the Earth, after the voyage, still seemed an island to him, the strangeness of standing alone, alive, unknown, at half past eleven at Trafalgar Square overcame him. What is it? Where am I?"

(Can you guess the title of the novel so far?)

So the lady goes to her florist and she picks the flowers for tonight's party. She always had that strong sense of society, yet she gave these parties mostly because her husband was a minister or something. She is aware she has made the wrong choices in life. "Oh, if she could have had her life over again...A clock. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air." Time passes. Tonight's the party. But there's a death at the party. How horrible! A young man who has been taking part in the war is now dead. The lady is disturbed and she climbs up to her room. She stands by the window and sees an old lady in the opposite building. She is lonely. A sense of premonition. She would be the same old lady in twenty years from now... lonely. Before seeing the old lady she was about to embrace death, but now she embraces life. She accepts her reality.

Now you are slowly coming back from this short journey. Literary critics often would comment that a novel cannot be taken out of the autobiographical context of the author. There is a special sort of wilderness in the mind of the author. Would you agree or disagree? And two more questions: Did you recognized the book? Are you an avid reader?

They also say that Literature is maybe a finished story, but we must agree that reading is not. This is just a glimpse of a fantastic novel. Hope this ATW will persuade you to take the book and go through it!

images (300×168)

pic credit


W.V, Mrs. D. (1925)

Please log in or register to post a comment.

Ana Mihajloska

Ana Mihajloska | Action team

I just had an interesting trip, Stefan! To be honest, I guessed the book because I know you personally :)) However, I love to read!
And yes, I think that there is a special sort of wilderness in the mind of the author - when you write, only you know what is going on in your head, and when your work is out on the open for everyone to see it, you get different kinds of interpretations on the same work.

20th April, 2013 @ 9:09 PM CEST

Stefan Alievikj

Stefan Alievikj | C:F staff

yup, that's part of the reader-response criticism :)

Glad you enjoyed the trip dear! Next time when I am about to do such piece, I'll pick a more difficult book haha :))


21st April, 2013 @ 11:56 AM CEST

Anna Iv

Anna Iv | Action team

Wonderful article!
Actually, I recently read the book, and it was my first reading from Mrs. Woolf. I quite enjoyed her style. :)

26th April, 2013 @ 6:56 PM CEST



Nice article.

30th April, 2013 @ 5:53 PM CEST

Bookmark and Share
global youth think tank & student competition