'MEMORY IS THE SEAMSTRESS' lyrical prose by Virginia Woolf

Virginia woolf

I love that a seamstress in this poetic passage is a metaphor for memory. It’s such a delicate and feverishly energetic piece of writing.



lyrical prose 

by Virginia Woolf, 1928

“Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither. We know not what comes next, or what follows after. Thus, the most ordinary movement in the world, such as sitting down at a table and pulling the inkstand towards one, may agitate a thousand odd, disconnected fragments, now bright, now dim, hanging and bobbing and dipping and flaunting, like the underlinen of a family of fourteen on a line in a gale of wind.”


(Photograph by Ottoline Morrell 1926, photo credit:lrb.co.uk. Portrait of Virginia Woolf by Vanessa Bell 1912, photo credit: National Trust)

Posted by Katie Larmour

Katie Larmour