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”Fear no more the heat of the sun.”
Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf's fourth novel, offers the reader an impression of a single June day in London in 1923. Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of a Conservative member of parliament, is preparing to give an evening party, while the shell-shocked Septimus Warren Smith hears the birds in Regent'sPark 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 ofexistence, 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.
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
”Mrs. Dalloway ... contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English ...” -- Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
About the Author
Adeline Virginia Woolf (born Jan. 25, 1882, London, Eng. - died March 28, 1941, near Rodmell, Sussex) British novelist and critic. Daughter of Leslie Stephen, she and her sister became the early nucleus of the Bloomsbury group. She married Leonard Woolf in 1912; in 1917 they founded the Hogarth Press. Her best novels - including Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927) - are experimental; in them she examines the human experience of time, the indefinability of character, and external circumstances as they impinge on consciousness.
Orlando (1928) is a historical fantasy about a single character who experiences England from the Elizabethan era to the early 20th century, and The Waves (1931), perhaps her most radically experimental work, uses interior monologue and recurring images to trace the inner lives of six characters. Such works confirmed her place among the major figures of literary modernism. Her best critical studies are collected in The Common Reader (1925, 1932).
Her long essay A Room of One's Own (1929) addressed the status of women, and women artists in particular. Her other novels include Jacob's Room (1922), The Years (1937), and Between the Acts (1941). She also wrote a biography of Roger Fry. Her health and mental stability were delicate throughout her life; in a recurrence of mental illness, she drowned herself. Her diaries and correspondence have been published in several editions.
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