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Mrs. Dalloway

4 Ratings: 4.0
A book by Virginia Woolf

As Clarissa Dalloway walks through London on a fine June morning, a sky-writing plane captures her attention. Crowds stare upwards to decipher the message while the plane turns and loops, leaving off one letter, picking up another. Like the airplane's … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Virginia Woolf
Publisher: Everyman's Library
1 review about Mrs. Dalloway

Worth Struggling, this Acquired Taste becomes Addiction

  • Apr 25, 2003
Rating:
+5
George softly sings WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? at the end of Edward Albee's play of the same name and his sotted, beleaguered wife Martha answers " I am, George, I am.......". 1962 that was, and Albee's erudite play sent us all to the library to find out who was this Virginia Woolf. Those were college days when Woolf was known to the literati but somewhat of an interestingly enigma to the world in general. Now her century has passed and her works and life are being recognized for the importance they deserve. Re-reading MRS. DALLOWAY reinforces past college memeories of just how dazzling a thinker, poet, writer, and personality she was. In so many ways MRS. DALLOWAY could be a memoir, mirroring Woolf's personality, artistry, and her advanced inspection of same sex love, the decay of aristocracy, the thin line between memory and imagination, fantasy and reality, the loneliness of genius, desire and conscious commitment to the standards of the day. All of these issues she compresses into one June day in London - a day for the preparation of one of the parties for which Clarissa Dalloway is so well known. "Successfully" married to a politician, the mother of a 17 year old beautiful daughter, she allows her thoughts to ramble about love that could have been, mental illness that leads to suicide, brackish and acerbic words from the Lords and Ladies invited, and a lover from the past who rises like a smoldering injured phoenix, making Clarissa reevaluate internally all that has been her life.

There is story here, there are well drawn characters here, and the book can be read solely on the virtues of a novel construct. But if you want to really experience the magnificent wordsmith gifts of Virginia Woolf, then savour each page for the grace of the English language stretched into a seamless, protracted poem. This is book to read slowly, catching all the references to history as it blanketed England after WWI, when in 1923 the Bloomsbury group served as a quiet cocoon of intelligensia, when writing was an art in itself, more concerned with thoughts and ideas as words might mold them than in best selling, rapidly written and published transient pops in the vast sky of literature.

Then Martha's answer to George's/Albee's question will make so very much sense.

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