There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all. We speak; we spread round us with sounds, with words, an emanation from ourselves. Sometimes they overlap the circles that others are spreading round themselves. Then they are affected by these other circles, to be sure, but not because of any real communication that has taken place — merely as a scarf of blue chiffon lying on a woman’s dressing table will change color if she casts down on it a scarf of red chiffon.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
“There Is No Conversation,” The Saturday Evening Post (8 Dec 1928)

In the initial magazine appearance, the third sentence read, "There are interesting monologues." When reprinted in The Harsh Voice: Four Short Novels (1935), and subsequently, interesting was replaced with intersecting. More discussion here.

Added on 22-Mar-21 | Last updated 22-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by West, Rebecca

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *