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3.5 

Mrs. Dalloway

By Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Probably Virginia Woolf’s best-known novel, Mrs. Dalloway, originally published in 1925, is a glorious, ground-breaking text. On the surface, it follows Clarissa Dalloway, an Englishwoman in her fifties, minute by minute through the June day on which she is having a party. At a deeper level, however, the novel demonstrates, through an effortless stream of consciousness, the connections formed in human interaction—whether these interactions are fleeting, or persist through decades.

This is a novel to read and cherish, if only to marvel at Woolf’s linguistic acrobatics. Words and phrases swoop and soar like swallows. Woolf’s sentences are magnificent: sinuous, whirling, impeccably detailed. As narrative perspective shifts from character to character—sometimes within a single sentence—readers come to understand the oh-so-permeable barrier between self and other. Through Clarissa we meet Septimus Warren Smith, his wife Rezia, and a cast of dozens more, all connected by the “leaden circles” of Big Ben marking the passage of every hour, by the pavements of Bloomsbury that lead everywhere and nowhere. Modernist London has never been portrayed more sublimely: replete with birdsong and flowers, resplendent in sunshine, youthful yet eternal—and even in the aftermath of war and pandemic, resilient.

Mrs. Dalloway is Woolf’s attempt to express that which may be inexpressible. It offers a close examination of how difficult it is, even when our hearts are brimming, to say what we really feel; and it examines the damage we inflict through our reticence with words, our withholding of love. It is a novel of the soul, and a work of immense beauty.

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About Virginia Woolf

Adeline Virginia Woolf (née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device.

Woolf was born into an affluent household in South Kensington, London, the seventh child of Julia Prinsep Jackson and Leslie Stephen in a blended family of eight which included the modernist painter Vanessa Bell. She was home-schooled in English classics and Victorian literature from a young age. From 1897 to 1901, she attended the Ladies' Department of King's College London, where she studied classics and history and came into contact with early reformers of women's higher education and the women's rights movement.

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