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Pointed Roofs

Pointed Roofs by Dorothy Richardson
By: (1873-1957)

Miriam Henderson is one of what novelist Dolf Wyllarde (in her great work, The Pathway of the Pioneer) termed "nous autres," i.e., young gentlewomen who must venture forth and earn their living after their fathers have been financially ruined. Also, she has read Villette; she thus applies for and is offered a job teaching conversational English at a girls' school, albeit in Germany rather than France. Pointed Roofs describes her year abroad, as she endeavors to make her way in the hotbed of seething female personalities that populate the school, overseen by her employer, the formidable Fraulein.

Richardson is adroit at conveying nuances of human perception through acutely observed physical and emotional detail. She was unfortunately labeled the inventor of stream of consciousness, and her later novels suffered when she started believing her own press; but her early ones (the first half-dozen are pre-1923) are free from stylistic excess, and are poignant -- or in this case -- pointed explorations of the workings of the human mind. (Introduction by Grant Hurlock)

First Page:



By Dorothy Richardson



Miriam left the gaslit hall and went slowly upstairs. The March twilight lay upon the landings, but the staircase was almost dark. The top landing was quite dark and silent. There was no one about. It would be quiet in her room. She could sit by the fire and be quiet and think things over until Eve and Harriett came back with the parcels. She would have time to think about the journey and decide what she was going to say to the Fraulein.

Her new Saratoga trunk stood solid and gleaming in the firelight. To morrow it would be taken away and she would be gone. The room would be altogether Harriett's. It would never have its old look again. She evaded the thought and moved clumsily to the nearest window. The outline of the round bed and the shapes of the may trees on either side of the bend of the drive were just visible. There was no escape for her thoughts in this direction. The sense of all she was leaving stirred uncontrollably as she stood looking down into the well known garden... Continue reading book >>

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