Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia WoolfMrs. Dalloway chronicles a June day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway—a day that is taken up with running minor errands in preparation for a party and that is punctuated, toward the end, by the suicide of a young man she has never met. In giving an apparently ordinary day such immense resonance and significance—infusing it with the elemental conflict between death and life—Virginia Woolf triumphantly discovers her distinctive style as a novelist. Originally published in 1925, Mrs. Dalloway is Woolfs first complete rendering of what she described as the luminous envelope of consciousness: a dazzling display of the minds inside as it plays over the brilliant surface and darker depths of reality.
This edition uses the text of the original British publication of Mrs. Dalloway, which includes changes Woolf made that never appeared in the first or subsequent American editions.
Dalloway is a unique novel in that it takes place in a single day — a Wednesday in mid-June The novel interweaves two seemingly unconnected storylines during this day. At the beginning, Clarissa Dalloway, fiftyish and recently recovering from an illness, is preparing for a party she will host that evening. She begins her day running an errand to purchase the flowers for the party. Throughout the morning, Clarissa reflects on her past, including her decision to marry Richard Dalloway thirty years earlier, rather than her more fiery suitor Peter Walsh. Meanwhile, the second storyline begins with Septimus Smith, a shellshocked war veteran, out on the street with his wife, Lucrezia. Septimus struggles with the aftereffects of the war, hearing voices and feeling that life has little meaning.
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The film is shot around the streets of London, as well as at the British Library and at Gordon Square in Bloomsbury where Virginia and her siblings lived in the early 20th century. The film offers rare glimpses into the manuscript draft of the novel. Woolf, who was re-reading Ulysses when she began to write her own book, chose 13 June , in London; Joyce had selected 16 June , in Dublin. But in making her central figure an upper-class middle-aged woman, married to a Conservative MP, Woolf staked out her own fictional ground. Clarissa begins her day shopping for flowers for her party that evening, and thinking 'What a lark! Yet following her thoughts, memories, anxieties and epiphanies from morning to night on the day when she is preparing to give a large party, and entering the minds of the people she passes or meets, we see a broad and deep cross section of London, five years after the Armistice.