Mrs Dalloway (Oxford World's Classics) by Woolf, Virginia published by Oxford University Press (2008) Paperback
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Top Customer Reviews
The truth is that, yes, Woolf's writing can be a challenge and the reason for that is mostly because it's so unique. We're used to plot- or character-driven novels, where things happen in some semblance of order, where there's narrative resolution, and often where you can dip in and out with ease. The stream-of-consciousness style that Woolf employs in "Mrs. Dalloway" (1925) shirks conventions and as a result it can be a disorientating read.
But that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable. The thing to remember with "Mrs. Dalloway" is that it is not a plot-driven novel. As other reviewers have accurately stated, this is not a page-turner, not something to marvel at all the ingenious plot twists and turns. So why read it? The main thing I took away from "Mrs. Dalloway" was how much about the interior it is, and consequently how personal and intimate it feels. It's not "Mrs. Dalloway went up the stairs and sat down." It's all about inner thoughts, inner feelings, and as such this stream-of-consciousness style works wonders. We don't think in ordered sentences most of the time; our thoughts flit from one thing to another and we set off trains of thought and memory and memory association. The same is true of the writing in "Mrs. Dalloway"; there will sometimes be unexpected interjections and abrupt changes of thought process, which mimics our real human thought process.Read more ›
A thoroughly modernist book, superbly written. Woolf engages the reader by investigating the power of an integral modernist device: the inner voice. Also, by dint of following a day in the life of various people who are simply trying to survive in the throbbing heart of the capital, the book is fast-paced and leaves the reader with the sensation that he/she is in London too. The characters are subtly and cleverly linked to one another, and the chief protagonist is intensely likeable - despite AND because of her flaws.
This book is brief, exciting, exhilirating and leaves one's head in the clouds for days afterwards. It is excellently structured and uses modernist literary methods cleverly and quietly. Very refreshing.
'Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day', suggests Virginia Woolf in "The Common Reader", 'The mind receives a myriad impressions....is it not the task of the novelist to convey this?' In "Mrs Dalloway" the cause-and-effect narrative of the realist tradition is abandoned. The 'scaffolding' of the realist plot is taken down; there is 'scarcely a brick to be seen' in this critique of social convention. Instead, Woolf's reader follows an apparently random chain of external happening and thought-processes that comprise a single day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway.
Consider the two-page section in which Mrs Dalloway has left her long-anticipated party in search of privacy. Woolf's use of free indirect interior monologue grants the reader access to the protagonist's mind as the principal chain-of-events is halted, the narrative infused with a sort of psychoanalytical free-association, as memories of Boughton and the past merge into London and the present: 'It held...something of her own in it...this sky above Westminster'. Woolf's prose concentrates on minor events and descriptive details that are insignificant in the context of linear progression, unable to be twisted into the 'realist' tradition of a causal plot. Look at how Mrs Dalloway's thought-process is snapped by a sudden interjection ('Oh, but how surprising!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Why do people persist in calling Woolf a snob? I think one of the reasons people don't get this book is the terrible ignorance there is out there about how people lived in the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Susie Bookworm
Virginia Woolf's fourth novel, first published in 1925, is set over the course of one day in June and focuses on Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of Richard, a Conservative politician. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susannah B (Susie B)
Extraordinary how she captures characters' everyday thoughts and converts them into a gripping story.Published 3 months ago by Overheated credit card