were, by giving us also, intermittently, the streams of consciousness 
of her husband, of her friend Lily Briscoe, of her children: 
so that we are documented, as to Mrs Ramsay, from every quarter 
and arrive at a solid vision of her by a process of triangulation. The 
richness and copiousness and ease, with which this is done, are a 
delight. These people are astoundingly real: they belong to a 
special “class,” as Mrs Woolf’s characters nearly always do, and 
exhale a Jane-Austenish aroma of smallness and lostness and incompleteness: 
but they are magnificently real. We live in that delicious 
house with them—we feel the minute textures of their lives with 
their own vivid senses—we imagine with their extraordinary imaginations, 
are self-conscious with their self-consciousness—and 
ultimately we know them as well, as terribly, as we know ourselves.

Thus, curiously, Mrs Woolf has rounded the circle. Apparently, 
at the outset of her work, avoiding any attempt to present life 
“immediately,” as Chekhov and Katherine Mansfield preferred to 
do; and choosing instead a medium more sophisticated and conscious, 
as if she never for a moment wished us to forget the frame 
of the picture, and the fact that the picture was a picture; she has 
finally brought this method to such perfection, or so perfectly 
allowed it to flower of itself, that the artificial has become natural, 
the mediate has become immediate. The technical brilliance glows, 
melts, falls away; and there remains a poetic apprehension of life 
of extraordinary loveliness. Nothing happens, in this houseful of 
odd nice people, and yet all of life happens. The tragic futility, the 
absurdity, the pathetic beauty, of life—we experience all of this in 
our sharing of seven hours of Mrs Ramsay’s wasted or not wasted 
existence. We have seen, through her, the world.