Am thinking now vaguely about swarms, "the immense, quivering mass" with "incessant ebb and flow;" the pressure of a person-swarm in Sarraute, the swarm of history in Ouologuem's Bound to Violence, the pessimism inherent in those swarms (the pressure never offering to stop: the swarm continues infinitely). A swarm of figures dies in the Iliad, somewhat (only somewhat because there are so many) sorted and named. The poet is dumb before the majority of the dead. Alice Oswald extracts the names and deaths for her book Memorial, an argument for the dignity of lists. The characters in Woolf's Waves are named too, marching, advancing, not swarming, even though they are conceived in a mass. Reading Dorothy Richardson's Selected Letters (ed. Gloria G. Fromm) I see the writer defending the word "personality" and refusing to use "individual," an utterance that is, to her, so remotely scientific that it does not have the wherewithal to indicate a person. She says she can't let go of aristocrats because at least they are not part of the mass: they are people. "Richardson's fundamental commitment was to neither sexes or genders but to selves," writes Fromm. "[I]t is a story of success that Richardson tells in Pilgrimage, a story of victory over great odds, a bid for selfhood." Her character Miriam navigates crowds and gatherings of people in London; in the mountains of Switzerland she wants to walk among the snowed trees "into their strange close fellowship that left each one a perfect thing apart." (Oberland.) What about Louis Marlow (really Wilkinson) who sorted the Powys sisters into his own Linnean categories?
In the sisters, inheritance of Powys physical characteristics is on the whole rather less strongly marked than it is in the brothers. Philippa, however, is as much a Powys in appearance and in herself as any of them. She is very like Bertie, though she has not quite the same emphatic resemblance to their father as he has. Bertie's elder daughter is thoroughly Powys, and his younger daughter, by his second marriage, is is very like the Powys sister who died in childhood: her little twin-brother astonishingly, and sometimes ludicrously, resembles his father's father. No Powys could be cuckolded without certain detection if the the cuckoldry resulted in the birth of a boy.
A strange construction of individualisms.