The Mrs. Dalloway Reader

Front Cover
Francine Prose, Mark Hussey
Harcourt, 2004 - Fiction - 378 pages
23 Reviews
This first volume of its kind contains the complete text of and guide to Virginia Woolf's masterpiece, plus Mrs. Dalloway's Party and numerous journal entries and letters by Virginia Woolf relating to the book's genesis and writing. The distinguished novelist Francine Prose has selected these pieces as well as essays and appreciations, critical views, and commentary by writers famous and unknown. Now with additional scholarly commentary by Mark Hussey, professor of English at Pace University, this complete volume illuminates the creation of a celebrated story and the genius of its author.

Includes essays and commentary from:
Michael Cunningham
E. M. Forster
Margo Jefferson
James Wood
Mary Gordon
Elaine Showalter
Daniel Mendelsohn
Sigrid Nunez
Deborah Eisenberg
Elissa Schappell

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Review: The Mrs. Dalloway Reader

User Review  - Sheila - Goodreads

I had to (a) age a bit and (b) read this book twice, no three times, before I "got it". Now that the light has come on, I am a fan of Woolf's prose. I'm in the mind of the characters, I feel the ... Read full review

Review: The Mrs. Dalloway Reader

User Review  - Kristin Boldon - Goodreads

This contains Woolf's early stories she based Mrs. Dalloway on, essays by famous authors on Mrs. Dalloway and Woolf, then the text of the novel. I'm glad I had the Oxford World's Classic edition of ... Read full review

About the author (2004)

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.

Francine Prose was born on April 1, 1947. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1968. She received the PEN Translation Prize in 1988 and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. Francine Prose novel The Glorious Ones, has been adapted into a musical with the same title by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. It ran at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City in the fall of 2007. Prose has served as president of PEN American Center, a New York City based literary society of writers, editors, and translators that works to advance literature in 2007 and 2008. Prose novel, Blue Angel, a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses, was a finalist for the National Book Award. One of her novels, Household Saints, was adapted for a movie by Nancy Savoca. In 2014 her title Lovers at the Chameleon Club - Paris 1932, made The New York Times Best Seller List.

Mark Hussey is Professor of English at Pace University, New York.

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