Kant's example of the poet highlights two functions of the poet's activity: "through the mediation of an imagination that strives after reason's example of reaching for a maximum, with a completeness for which one can find no example in nature," the poet ventures to "sensualize
rational ideas" and to "make sensible beyond the limits of experience that which we do indeed find examples of in experience." (37) As was the case with Kant's definition of aesthetic ideas, however, there is an important ambiguity here: Kant does not specify whose imagination he has in mind.
Representing an earlier, more decorous era, Clara Schumann deemed Tristan "the most repulsive thing I have ever seen or heard in my life," and she equated it with "a sickness, which rips the heart in pieces out of the body, and which the music sensualizes
with the most loathsome sonorities" (38).
In short, far from maintaining the prudery or ethereality with which Woolf has often been identified, her narrative sensualizes
metaphysical questions -- of death and presence, speech and silence, time and space.