Vast moon-spider

Vast moon-spider

Something wonderfully round and opalescent about these glowing pearls likened to the pearly eggs of a ‘vast moon-spider’. ‘… so that her pearls glowed like the eggs of some vast moon-spider.’ Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography,...
Varied like an ocean floor

Varied like an ocean floor

And the more we learn about the ocean floor, the better it seems as a metaphor for variety.  Curious to think of Virginia Woolf using this since so much less was known of ocean floors in her lifetime and they didn’t have the incredible underwater images we now...
Plump with meaning

Plump with meaning

When there is substance behind them, the most ordinary words acquire meaning, and so satisfy the senses as ripe nuts falling in the lap of a hungry man might satisfy hunger. This idea of commonplace words placed uncommonly and so providing nourishment for the mind or...
Our many selves

Our many selves

This short discourse on our fragmented and multiplicitous selves struck me, and their resemblance to plates piled on a waiter’s hand conveys something of the precarious state they can create in the single person accommodating them all.  Later on, Orlando manages...
Like silver-headed nails

Like silver-headed nails

Dots and gleams of silver brightness resembling nails?  This is an unusual image. ‘The road shone like silver-headed nails…’ Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, ed. with an introduction by Rachel Bowlby (Oxford: World’s Classics,...
A quickening of senses

A quickening of senses

Orlando does in fact travel through a time tunnel for hundreds of years, so this is less of a metaphor than it seems. The real metaphor lies in that quickening of his – by now her – senses as if a tuner had keyed her nerves to tautness as tightened piano...
Blotted images and spotted mirrors

Blotted images and spotted mirrors

An original way to convey a flawed image, likening it to the spots you used to find on old mirrors, which would transfer themselves to any face reflected in the glass. May your happiness and your dreams be unsullied. ‘Hail, happiness, then, and after happiness,...
Like drops of scalding water

Like drops of scalding water

Curious to use ‘scalding’, suggesting she was happy to have the present fall away from her, that in some respect it had been burning her.  It’s a good image for being freed of something which has injured you. ‘The present fell from her like...
Thought like a risen moon

Thought like a risen moon

This one puzzles me a little – the moon a sheet of silver calm yet the water turbulent, which would discombobulate the image of the moon on the water. ‘And whenever she thought of him, the thought spread round it, like the risen moon on turbulent waters, a...

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