Mrs. Dalloway

By Virginia Woolf,

Book cover of Mrs. Dalloway

Book description

The working title of Mrs. Dalloway was The Hours. The novel began as two short stories, "Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister". It describes Clarissa's preparations for a party she will host in the evening, and the ensuing party. With an interior perspective, the story…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked Mrs. Dalloway as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I sometimes enjoy novels in which the action is mainly interior. Not a lot happens here, but Virginia Woolf had a deep grasp of human psychology and a luminous prose style, and her characters just leap off the page. I could linger over sentences and pages for long minutes and have read this multiple times.

I always come away from her work with a greater appreciation for the amazing miracle of simply being alive on this earth and for the beauty of the English language.

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Woolf; it was the first dissertation on same-sex love from the English Department at Delhi University.

A reasonably happily married woman of 52, Clarissa Dalloway recalls the most intense moment of her life, when she was young and kissed her friend Sally, and had the feeling, “Othello’s feeling” that “if ‘twere now to die/ ‘Twere now to be most happy.”

Looking back, Clarissa realizes that she has only ever felt passionately for women, and this leads to Woolf’s lyrical evocation of female orgasm, which I think is the most powerful description of this experience…

From Ruth's list on lesbian and gay literary fiction.

One of the most moving, and revolutionary novels of the twentieth century, especially for those of us lucky to live in the world’s most marvellous city – London.

Society hostess, Clarissa Dalloway is giving a party and remembering her past loves as she walks around London. Elsewhere in the city, Septimus Warren Smith is suffering from WW1 shellshock and on the brink of madness. Smith's day interweaves with that of Clarissa and her friends, their lives converging as the party reaches its sparkling climax.

Virginia Woolf's masterly novel, in which she perfected the interior monologue, brings past and present together…

In my mind, Woolf’s 1925 classic Mrs. Dalloway is the ultimate novel about a party. It also happens to be the inspiration behind my own novel.

Set over the course of a single day, Mrs. Dalloway follows Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a garden party that evening, letting her mind get the best of her along the way. Dreamy, dark, and stream of consciousness, it’s considered Woolf's best work for good reason!

From Amy's list on parties in the mix.

Read this incredibly honest work as it stands as testimony that nothing ever changes in the world, such that WWI and the entitled rich will always be there. They are testimony to the two worlds, one we live in and one we suspect is lived right next door. Mrs. Dalloway's simpering thoughts on what she'll wear at tonight's party stand without apology next to the young man suffering from "battle fatigue" or what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

From Renee's list on women with pasts and futures.

No great events, nothing unusual happens in Mrs. Dalloway’s 140-odd pages. It took my breath away, though, because of Virginia Woolf’s microscopic examination of her main characters’ personalities through their own thoughts. You reach a point where it’s hard to believe the writer knows so much about them, knows how their minds work. And all this takes place in a single day in central London. Clarissa Dalloway, wife of an MP, is putting on a dinner party that night and she needs flowers. What a ridiculously creaky springboard from which to launch one of the world’s greatest novels! But…

From Stephen's list on to challenge hardcore readers.

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