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“Dancing Apparitions”: The Fiction of Being In Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (“Suddenly The Sense Of What People Are Leaves One”)
|Title:||“Dancing Apparitions”: The Fiction of Being In Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (“Suddenly The Sense Of What People Are Leaves One”)|
|Date Issued:||15 Jan 2014|
|Publisher:||University of Hawaii at Manoa|
|Abstract:||"The body never lies," Betty Jones once said when asked why dance. In view of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, Betty’s people explanation seems quite apt. Having studied with Betty for as long as I have been a modern dancer--three years--I think I know one main idea that was implicit in her reply. I believe that ultimately she was discussing a truth about dance as an art form. For a dance, like all art, including works of literature, presents a truth in itself that is unique to itself. It does not necessarily represent something else or mean anything. Like the poem, it “should not mean/But be." ("Ars Poetica, " Archibald MacLeish) There is a beautiful, untainted truth involved in the viewing of a dance and the reading of a novel like The Waves in that there is really no way to return to the moment of that experience. There is only the reflection. We can see the dance or read the book again, but we would live a different truthful moment. The second or third time around our experience is affected by the memory and expectation (residues of the previous event), by the changes in ourselves, in the performance or performers (perhaps even the text), or by our own ability or inability to digest certain things. There can be only the spontaneous truth of that event. After that moment of beauty and truth, we have only apparitions dancing in our minds. "In a world which contains the present moment," says Neville, "why discriminate? Nothing should be named lest by doing so we change it. Let it exist, this bank, this beauty, and I, for one instant, steeped in pleasure." (81) Consequently, once we have translated the exactitude of the event into words, we have somewhat contaminated what was once true. Hence, even I have probably distorted Betty's words through my transcription. But in effect, I have created a separate experience--a separate fiction--with a truth of its own.|
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Honors Projects for English|
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