Note: The book on the mantel is a well-worn copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (written here in French as Les aventures d’Arthur Gordon Pym).
“Therefore I hate looking- glasses which show me my real face.
Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness…”
“At any rate, the looking glass shame has lasted all my life, long after the tomboy phase was over. I cannot now powder my nose in public. Everything to do with dress- to be fitted, to come into a room wearing a new dress- still frightens me; at least it makes me feel shy, self-conscious, uncomfortable”
(The source of that shame lied on the fact she was abused for her half-brother Gerald in front of a mirror)
“Let me add a dream; for it may refer to the incident of the looking-glass. I dreamt that I was looking in a glass when a horrible face –the face of an animal- suddenly showed over my shoulder. I cannot be sure if this was a dream, or if it happened. Was I looking in the glass one day when something in the background moved; and seemed to me alive? I cannot be sure. But I have always remembered the other face in the glass, whether it was a dream or a fact, and it frightened me.”
A Sketch of the Past
The Unknown Virginia Woolf