PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This article is taken from PN Review 52, Volume 13 Number 2, November - December 1986.

Virginia Woolf William Empson

Shakespeare was like Nature; we have been saying it for three centuries. There were more echoes in his work than he knew; he wrote from his Preconsciousness; any work in hand formed a world he was living in, so that he could find his way about in it as if by habit; any of his stones may have been made bread, and repay turning. Novelists have seldom been called Nature in this sense; at any rate they have not been commented on in such detail; and by way of showing that the same claim might be made for Mrs Woolf I shall try to pick up, turn in my hand for the moment, two quite small stones from the road to the lighthouse, till they catch the light, and are seen to be, if not bread, at least jewels.

Mrs Ramsey feels tired at the beginning of her dinner party.


. . . the whole of the effort of merging and flowing and creating rested on her. Again she felt, as a fact without hostility, the sterility of men, for if she did not do it nobody would do it; and so, giving herself the little shake that one gives a watch that has stopped, the old familiar pulse began beating, as the watch begins ticking - one, two, three, one, two, three. And so on and so on, she repeated, listening to it, sheltering and fostering the still feeble pulse as one ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image