For a critical article to be read in conjunction with Jacob’s Room, I read “Mind the Gap: The Spaces in Jacob’s Room” by Edward L. Bishop. I know, I know, this will be the second article of his I’ve read. People will start to talk. :o) Although Neverow mentions the situation of the gaps in the introduction, Bishop gives specific examples and explains the loss. With Woolf being concerned with space and image, I am surprised that she didn’t specify that these gaps be in the American edition. These spaces give what Bishop refers to as a “spatial silence.” In fact, he states that in her diary she wrote, “I think I see how I can bring in interludes—I mean spaces of silence.” So, these spaces did matter to her. Mark Hussey’s edition of Jacob’s Room that we are using for this class does have the spaces; however, they are just double-spaces and not the four-line spaces that she had in some locations. When I started this article, I realized that poetry uses space constructively. A return gives us pause as do gaps between sections. The gaps set up or change a rhythm to the meaning. Bishop addresses this also in his essay. Some of the effects that the gap creates according to Bishop are: isolation, contemplation, emphasis, and others. My opinion is that the gaps are a time for the reader to reflect, imagine, and perhaps more importantly reset. And maybe even set up some antica—(say it!)—pation. (Okay, I stole that line out of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.) It’s not so much the silence, but what is not said—what the reader surmises. And my last comment is that taking out the gaps, or not using the same size of gap, is like taking a poem and printing it in one continuous line.
(I know no one will get the silly picture and caption below, but I couldn't help myself.)