Grey Incandescence


But the light, instead of being the dawn, turned out in a very short time to be the dusk. And the sun, instead of rising higher and higher in the sky as I confess I confidently expected, calmly set, and night, the passing of which I had just celebrated after my fashion, calmly fell again. Now the reverse, as you might say, I mean day closing in the twilight of the dawn, I must confess to never having experienced, and that goes to my heart, I mean that I cannot bring myself to declare that I experienced that too. And yet how often I have implored night to fall, all the livelong day, with all my feeble strength, and how often day to break, all the livelong night.


That's from Malone Dies which -- like Woolf's Orlando and Musil's "Perfecting of a Love," this has come at such a perfect moment for me -- the sensation again of reading over lines which say better what I was so recently trying to say myself. First this dawn-dusk, and then there is this --

But before leaving this subject and entering upon another, I feel it is my duty to say that it is never light in this place, never really light. The light is there, outside, the air sparkles, the granite wall across my window, but it does not come through. So that here all bathes, I will not say in shadow, nor even half shadow, but in a kind of leaden light that makes no shadow, so that it is hard to say from what direction it comes, for it seems to come from all directions at once, and with equal force. I am convinced for exampe that at the present moment it is as bright under my bed as it is under the ceiling, which admittedly is not saying much, but I need say no more.


And he continues -- there is so much and I will have to continue some other time.