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To transmit that experience to another would be to communicate the kind of meaningful experience that Benjamin sees as so threatened in the modern age. Later, the narrator imaginatively follows Celia out into the woods in another exercise of sympathetic imaginative movement. But she is soon forced to reflect on the artificiality and ineffectuality of this exercise, finally conceding, “But it’s all fancy. I’m not in the room with her, nor out in the wood. I’m here in London, standing by the window, holding The Times” (109).

48 To “fix the date” in the manner of the newspaper, as we have seen, is to use the date as an emblem of the calendrical coincidence that clocks the daily passing of homogenous, empty time. The speaker’s reluctance to clock time this way, indeed her determined resistance to doing so, is precisely what opens a space for alternative experiences and conceptualizations of time. Rather than to mentally flip back, as though in a newspaper archive, to a certain date in January, Woolf ’s speaker is more concerned to reclaim an experience in time and an experience of time.

11 This calendrical coincidence is quite obvious, of course, but Anderson’s insight that this coincidence merely clocks the progression of homogenous, empty time helps to underscore part of what Benjamin finds so problematic in the newspaper from a historical materialist’s standpoint. As we have seen, Benjamin associates the concept of history as homogenous, empty time with the negative values of universal history and historicism. To view time as a continuum is to set the conceptual 30 MODERNIST FICTION AND NEWS stage for false narratives of historical progress.

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