Tuesday, 25 July 2000

Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway (1925)

Edition: Grafton, 1976
Review number: 549

Virginia Woolf made her name with her fourth novel. While not a stream of consciousness narrative, it has aspects of that style, and might be regarded as a precursor. Mrs Dalloway describes a day in the life of a society hostess as she prepares for a party. This particular day stands out because of the unexpected return of a former lover from India after twenty years, prompting a series of memories.

Mrs Dalloway is very static, free of plot or drama; it is a novel about character. Though Clarissa Dalloway is not a particularly interesting person - deliberately, I presume - the reader gets to know her quite well. It reads a bit like the introductory volume of a Victorian novel, as the return of an ex-lover certainly provides the potential for an interesting plot to follow on from what Woolf has written.

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