Mrs. Dalloway Paperback – Jan 1985
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As Clarissa Dalloway walks through London on a fine June morning, a sky-writing plane captures her attention. Crowds stare upwards to decipher the message while the plane turns and loops, leaving off one letter, picking up another. Like the airplane's swooping path, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway follows Clarissa and those whose lives brush hers--from Peter Walsh, whom she spurned years ago, to her daughter Elizabeth, the girl's angry teacher, Doris Kilman, and war-shocked Septimus Warren Smith, who is sinking into madness.
As Mrs. Dalloway prepares for the party she is giving that evening, a series of events intrudes on her composure. Her husband is invited, without her, to lunch with Lady Bruton (who, Clarissa notes anxiously, gives the most amusing luncheons). Meanwhile, Peter Walsh appears, recently from India, to criticize and confide in her. His sudden arrival evokes memories of a distant past, the choices she made then, and her wistful friendship with Sally Seton.
Woolf then explores the relationships between women and men, and between women, as Clarissa muses, "It was something central which permeated; something warm which broke up surfaces and rippled the cold contact of man and woman, or of women together.... Her relation in the old days with Sally Seton. Had not that, after all, been love?" While Clarissa is transported to past afternoons with Sally, and as she sits mending her green dress, Warren Smith catapults desperately into his delusions. Although his troubles form a tangent to Clarissa's web, they undeniably touch it, and the strands connecting all these characters draw tighter as evening deepens. As she immerses us in each inner life, Virginia Woolf offers exquisite, painful images of the past bleeding into the present, of desire overwhelmed by society's demands. --Joannie Kervran Stangeland --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“With its annotated contemporary reviews, newspaper articles, and historical and medical documents, Broadview’s Mrs Dalloway is an ideal student text.” ― Maggie Humm, University of East London, editor of The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts
“Jo-Ann Wallace’s superb edition of Mrs. Dalloway offers students, scholars, and common readers a richly contextualized framework for Woolf’s fourth novel. Brief, clear, and unobtrusive annotations cover geographical, historical, economic, social, and literary allusions. A thorough yet readable introduction covers Woolf’s biography and reputation, her novel’s modernist and experimental features, and its status as a war novel. Excellent appendices capture a wide range of contemporary reactions, locate the novel within Woolf’s fictional and nonfictional canon, and give readers entry into the lived experience of the time through political, medical, educational, and social documents. The select bibliography and brief chronology are also helpful.” ― Beth Rigel Daugherty, Otterbein University--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I found myself relying on an online study guide to help me interpret what was happening in the story. I often had to reread passages several time, thinking critically about the meanings and then referring to other's interpretations of the work to help me comprehend what was happening. Perhaps this is a byproduct of growing up in the information age, and expecting all the answers to be readily available, without having to work for them.
The various characters in Mrs. Dalloway are relatable and you empathize with them. You want to know more about them and get even more inside their heads. However, due to the style of writing, this is difficult. As you read the novel you loose track of whose thoughts you are currently reading, and what their objective for the day is. There are so many a characters that it is hard to keep track of them all and this is unfortunate, because you want to stay connected with them all. Their lives, while simple, are engaging and leave the reader wanting to be invited to Clarissa Dalloway's party, simply to meet all of them.
I recommend this novel to anyone who is up for a challenging read. It truly is a classic novel that everyone should read. If you are willing to put in the work, the story will reward you. Virginia Woolf was one of the most prolific and influential writers of the 20th century, and Mrs. Dalloway proves why this is true.
But the poor is separated from his friend." -- Proverbs 19:4 (NKJV)
Think of Mrs. Dalloway as being the anti-Ulysses (the James Joyce's masterpiece). The concepts for the novels are similar, but the styles are polar opposites. I recommend becoming familiar with both works in order to appreciate the different ways that character studies can be developed during a day by relying extensively on thought life. Both are brilliant, but in much different ways.
Mrs. Dalloway is English, delicate, fussy, ornate, and feminine. Ulysses is Irish, crude, unrestrained, common, and masculine.
What stands out the most about Mrs. Dalloway are the many original descriptive sentences and phrases that look as though they went through 200 rewritings to be so polished and complete. Their expressions overwhelm the story at time because the reader is left gasping at a stunning turn of phrase or an idea. In writing, you can sit and admire and forget to read on.
A blessing of listening to the excellent reading by Virginia Leishman is that the brilliant writing is better integrated into the story by forcing you to keep going. I enjoyed the experience. I don't want to discourage you from reading the book first, but I believe you will appreciate the overall craft more if you listen before reading. It's the same advice I provide for William Faulkner's books. There's a beauty in the oral expression that is otherwise lost.
I found the story to feel a little dated. I also found myself not being terribly engaged by Mrs. Dalloway or her husband. That's a pretty big problem to have when listening to or reading a novel. Someone today who wrote historical fiction about this period would do it differently.Read more ›
A novel like "Mrs. Dalloway" using interior monologue is not for everyone and it does take a bit of getting used to. But it is an excellent way for the author to allow the reader access to her thoughts on friendship, marriage, a sense of self identity within women, aging, social change, the aftermath of war and insanity. I will have to read this book again, at least once, to do it full justice. This is a novel that requires time - time after you've read it to let it drift in and out of your thoughts until the pieces start to fall together. It can be a difficult novel to read but it stays with you in a nice way; no good thing comes easily.
Most recent customer reviews
Amazing novel. But on second reading it didn't stand up as well as I had hoped. It read a little too much like a rip of of Proust. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Kyle Kay
First let me start off by saying that this was a borrowed book from the library as I do not believe in Kindle or "downloading" material. I am sooooo glad it was a borrowed book. Read morePublished 8 months ago by DireWolf
representation of the twentieth century is well done and described throughout the entire book. hard but interesting book to read.Published 15 months ago by Kindle Customer
"Mrs. Dalloway" is almost a story without a story. At first sight the plot of this book seems almost banal. After all, who wants to know how Clarissa Dalloway spends her day?. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2007 by B. Alcat
Mrs. Dalloway is Woolf's novel about the ecstasy of living against a barrage of limitations brought about by the aging process, the roles we play in the world, and the... Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2005 by Rosanna DeRango
My initial response of hostility, sustained through much of the book, mellowed some at the end. It is a sensitive story of love and madness, apparent mostly on afterthought. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by Shirley A. Phillips