Mrs Dalloway

Front Cover
Collector's Library, 2003 - England - 224 pages
119 Reviews
Mrs Dalloway explores both the raw hold of the past and the brighter potential of the future. Clarissa Dalloway is the wife of an MP and an assured socialite, yet as she prepares for her party on a hot London day in June 1923 the shell-shocked Septimus Warren Smith hears the birds in Regent's Park chattering in Greek. There seems to be nothing, except perhaps London, to link Clarissa and Septimus. She is middle-aged and prosperous, with a sheltered happy life behind her; Smith is young, poor, and driven to hatred of himself and the whole human race. Yet both share a terror of existence, and sense the pull of death. The world of Mrs Dalloway is evoked in Woolf's famous stream of consciousness style, in a lyrical and haunting language which has made this, from its publication in 1925, one of her most popular novels. Through Virginia Woolf, we can follow Clarissa through London as she interacts with servants, shopkeepers, her children, her husband, and even an ex-lover. We see revealed inner machinations that are incongruous with her class-defined behaviour, that ultimately enable her to transcend them.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
47
4 stars
35
3 stars
23
2 stars
10
1 star
4

The book is simple in plot, but rich in language. - LibraryThing
To be fair to the book, I skipped the Introduction. - LibraryThing
This book is light on plot and light on dialogue. - LibraryThing
There's little discernable plot. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - piccoline - LibraryThing

Woolf is amazing. To read her is to feel understood, to feel human, and to feel very grateful to be human. Her narrative choices are almost flawless throughout, especially her handling of the final few pages. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - FKarr - LibraryThing

Can't remember if I was as impressed the first time I read this as i am now. Loved Woolf's long, cumulative sentences. Loved the epithet like descriptions & talismans & anecdotes that were attached to each character- made me think of the Iliad. Read full review

All 10 reviews »

Selected pages

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Virginia Woolf was born in London, the daughter of the prominent literary critic Leslie Stephen. She never received a formal university education; her early education was obtained at home through her parents and governesses. After death of her father in 1904, her family moved to Bloomsbury, where they formed the nucleus of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of philosophers, writers and artists. As a writer, Woolf was a great experimenter. She scorned the traditional narrative form and turned to expressionism as a means of telling her story. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927), her two generally acknowledged masterpieces, are stream-of-consciousness novels in which most of the action and conflict occur beneath a surface of social decorum. Mrs. Dalloway, set in London shortly after the end of World War I, takes place on a summer's day of no particular significance, except that intense emotion, insanity, and death intrude.To the Lighthouse's long first and third sections, each of which concerns one day 10 years apart, of the same family's summer holidays, are separated and connected by a lyrical short section during which the war occurs, several members of the family die, and decay and corruption run rampant. Orlando (1928) is the chronological life story of a person who begins as an Elizabethan gentleman and ends as a lady of the twentieth century; Woolf's friend, Victoria Sackville-West, served as the principal model for the multiple personalities. (The book was made into a movie in 1993.) Flush (1933) is a dog's soliloquy that, by indirection, recounts the love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their elopement and life in Florence. Her last short novel, Between the Acts (1941), was left without her final revision, but it is, nonetheless, a major representation of a society on the verge of collapse. Having had periods of depression throughout her life and fearing a final mental breakdown from which she might not recover, Woolf drowned herself in 1941. Her husband published part of her farewell letter to deny that she had taken her life because she could not face the terrible times of war. Leonard Woolf also edited A Writer's Diary (1953), which provides valuable insights into his wife's private thoughts and literary development. Equally informative are his own autobiographies, particularly Beginning Again and Downhill All the Way (1967), and The Letters of Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey . Virginia Woolf's Granite and Rainbow contains 27 essays on the art of fiction and biography. There are many sidelights on Woolf in the writings, letters, and biographies of other members of her Bloomsbury circle, such as Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes (see Vol. 3), and Lytton Strachey (see Vol. 3). Also casting much light on her life, thought, and creative processes are The Common Reader (1925), The Second Common Reader (1933), A Room of One's Own (1929), Three Guineas (1938), The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays, The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942), and various collections of her autobiographical writings, diaries, and letters. In addition, in recent years there has been a veritable industry of writers dealing with Woolf and her work.

Bibliographic information