Mrs Dalloway

Description

On a June day in 1923, Clarissa Dalloway prepares for the party she will throw that evening. Her day – spent happily in love with life and London after a recent illness – is juxtaposed with that of Septimus Warren Smith, a veteran of the First World War. He is shellshocked, and hears sparrows speaking to him in Greek, but the doctors insist that ‘there is nothing wrong’. Virginia Woolf wished to present characters directly, without an intrusive authorial descriptive voice. In Mrs Dalloway she perfected an innovative new technique: stream of consciousness. The book is a dazzling, virtuoso display, as Woolf effortlessly glides between direct and indirect speech, shuttling the reader between past and present and jumping between characters to show the same event from different perspectives, from an old woman Mrs Dalloway sees in a park to a young Scottish maid.

For all its stylistic innovation, Mrs Dalloway is perhaps the most entertaining and accessible of Virginia Woolf’s novels, easily read as the story of a woman’s exploration of her past and a young man’s rejection of his future. When first published in 1925, it established Woolf as a pre-eminent Modernist writer and its reputation has only grown. In 2005, Time magazine chose Mrs Dalloway as one of the 100 best English-language novels.

This edition is introduced by Michael Cunningham, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hours, which was inspired by Woolf’s novel. In his introduction he explains how ‘With Mrs Dalloway, Woolf argues that there are no insignificant lives, only insufficient ways of looking at them.’

[Source: http://www.foliosociety.com/book/MDL/...]

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