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POSSIBLY the first outstanding characteristic of VirginiaWoo1f’s work is the dazzling technique, a technique akin,in its emotional subtlety and intricate interpretation ofmoods, to that of Henry james and Proust. The Markon the Wall is a practical exposition of her method—to fixthe object and let the mind sway round it and all theassociations it brings, with the freedom and suppleness oia gymnast. It is the method which Proust had developedsome years earlier, and implies a very delicate balancingof attention—on the one hand, sensitiveness to the sub-conscious, and therefore free, movement of thought oremotion, and on the other hand, a continual intellectualcontrol. The method is akin to psycho-analysis, withthis difference, that here the subject and the controllingobserver are one and the same person. Proust in hisdescription of Elstir’s art in A l'Ombre des Jeunes Filles enFleurs indicates the raison d'être of this method—to freethe senses from the restraint which convention or habitimposes on an impression and to enable an object to berepresented, at once clearly and with an exquisite fresh-ness, as for the first time.

Nothing perhaps could better illustrate VirginiaWoolf's technique than the opening pages of Jacob'sRoom, especially where the child's impression of thesands — the rock-pool, the red-faced holiday-makersasleep, the sheep's skull—are given with a seeming in-consequence and with the shock of a first encounterEvents are focused with the same shifting brilliance andsurprise as in a kaleidoscope. See first, connect afterwards,says the artist. So in the description of Mrs Ambrose'stear in The Voyage Out, we see first mistily through thequivering round tear, the water for her tremblesvii