Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking toward Bond street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely; all this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely? but that somehow in the streets of London, on the ebb and flow of things, here, there, she survived, Peter survived, lived in each other, she being part, she was positive, of the trees at home; of the house there, ugly, rambling all to bits and pieces as it was; part of people she had never met; being laid out like a mist between the people she knew best, who lifted her on their branches as she had seen the trees lift the mist, but it spread ever so far, her life, herself.
–Virginia Woolf, from Mrs. Dalloway


Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
The language, structure, grammar and punctuation of this sentence are shaped along the lines of Clarissa's mind, which asks questions of itself, thinks in fragments, clauses strung along to make music out of the unlikely opening phrase "did it matter then"; with repetition, "did it matter that"; then variation, "did she resent it"; and finally "did it not become; the words "part" and "of" perform similarly: Anaphora + epistrophe = symploce. So what if there is a question mark in the middle of this long supple sentence with its 19 commas and 6 semi-colons? It begins as a meditation on death with “she must inevitably cease completely,” but out in the streets of London for the first time after a long illness, Clarissa Dalloway is happy that it is June, that the sun is out, the war over, and the pile up of clauses celebrate life rather than mourn death, and end on a mystical conception of immortality, her remains a mist “spread ever so far,” and she finishes with “her life, herself," though it is only some kind of afterlife.
–Pearl Abraham is the author of The Seventh Beggar and American Taliban