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November 19, 2018


#Classic Mrs. Dalloway

by N@ncy



  1. Oxford World Classic is an excellent choice to read.
  2. ISBN 9780199536009
  3. There is a trove of extra information available
  4. …even a map of Mrs. Dalloway’s London!
  5. I also listened to the audio book ( 7 hours 5 minutes)
  6. I like to know what I’m getting myself into before I read a classic.
  7. This book is best read after doing some research.


Scrope Purvis  is name of arms dealer who made a huge amount of money for Nobel Explosives Company that provided arms for WW I (WW I)

Lady Bexborough : is the woman Clarissa  most admired Lady Bexborough refers to Kathrine Mansfield  who died in 1923. (good friend of V. Woolf)

Structure:  There are no chapter headings. Big Ben: The chiming  of Big Ben is a structure technique. “First a warning, musical; then the hour irrevocable.” Also the storyline is an overlapping of observations.  We read of moments of ‘near misses’. People whose paths cross but are never meeting. This feels like pathos that appeals to our emotions…the “what if'”-situations.

Images:  Many images take you into WW I. Septimus experiences many hallucinations. He sees Evans coming out of the trees.  “But the branches parted. A man in grey was actually walking towards them. It was Evans!” Shortly after  WWI there was a project to plant young trees as a memorial to the war dead.

Favorite quote:    description of friends Septimus and Evans

“It was a case of two dogs playing on the hearth-rug; one worrying a paper screw, snarling, snapping, giving a pinch, now and then at the old dog’s ear, the other lying somnolent, blinking at the fire, raising a paw, turning and growling good temperedly.”   Amazing!

Favorite quote:    description of Elizabeth (Clarissa’s daughter)

“ a hyacinth sheathed in glossy green, with buds tinted a hyacinth which has had no sun.”

Sexuality: We think with a title like  Mrs. Dalloway the book wil  be all about marital bliss….but  Clarissa was in love with Sally Seton  “a kiss that turned the world upside down.”  Sally has a radiance as she enters the party unexpectedly!  We read the Clarissa’s erotic desires. Woolf also creates a critique  up the social system that restrains people. Virginia Woolf  creates fluid characters and a fluid sexuality is included in them.

Marriage: Clarissa and Richard…”They went in and out of each other’s lives without any effortThere is a need for space and freedom within a relationship.



  1. I knew one day I would read Virginia Woolf.
  2. It has taken me decades to get to this point.
  3. Mrs. Dalloway is a day in the life novel.
  4. Mrs.Dalloway reflects on her choices made 30 years earlier.
  5. …marriage proposal by Peter Walsh
  6. …decides to marry Richard and ends up in a ‘chilly’ relationship.
  7. It is centers around four intersecting lives in Edwardian England.
  8. Woolf shows the interaction between
  9. ….proper British people who speak politely to one another.
  10. The reader  senses that there are
  11. fierce and passionate undercurrents and
  12. ..thoughts that seems to be unspoken.
  13. Read:  the  E-book…as I listened to the audio book.
  14. Juliet Stevenson is an excellent narrator!
  15. Movie: watched Vanessa Redgrave as Mrs. Dalloway
  16. Movie: watched The Hours (N. Kidman, M. Streep and J. Moore)
  17. The book was better than any film!


Strong point:   something new for the 1920’s

  1. It’s a novel that takes place in a single day in June.
  2. This was new and certainly different in 1925.
  3. James Joyce did it in 1922. (Ulysses )


Last thoughts:

  1. Mrs. Dalloway is considered  Woolf’s masterpiece.
  2. She deals with mental illness (shell-shock WW I, Septimus).
  3. How the mental ill are handled and especially
  4. …how difficult is was
  5. to care (Rezia) for a person suffering mental issues.
  6. Woolf  also able to encode lesbian-erotic into the  text (Sally Seton)
  7. …that passed the censors in 1925!
  8. #MustRead…at least once in your life!


Read more from Classic, fiction
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 19 2018

    I read this last year and was blown away by it. It’s a stunning book.


    • Nov 19 2018

      After reading this book I cannot ride my bike without
      noticing that I DO exactly what Virginia Woolf did
      …my thoughts jump here and there
      I think and notice the most bizarre things!

      It is an amazing feat to put such erratic thoughts
      on paper and make a good story of it all!
      Virginia Woolf has presented us with a revolutionary writing style
      as was also done by James Joyce.



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