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July 2011: Virginia Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway

Discussion in 'Book of the Month' started by Landslide, May 23, 2011.

  1. Landslide

    Landslide Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, for sure
    Discussion starts July 1st.
     
  2. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    So who's in on this? I've been meaning to read a lot more Woolf, might as well start here...

    For those with e-readers, the copyright has lapsed on this one, so it's available for free here.
     
  3. Landslide

    Landslide Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to read it. I've been meaning to for a long time and now I have an excuse ;)
     
  4. RhondaGivings

    RhondaGivings New Member

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    I will try to get a copy from our local library and get in on the discussion too. Library closed today for Canada Day but can still access the catalogue.
     
  5. Alix

    Alix Member

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    OK, I downloaded it, but I've got a couple of library books to finish first.
     
  6. eldog

    eldog New Member

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    Count me in too...just have to finish The Poisonwood Bible and then I'll move it to the top of the TBR pile.
     
  7. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    ...holy crap, this is good.
     
  8. RhondaGivings

    RhondaGivings New Member

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    I envy your enthusiasm - so far it seems like pretty relentless prose - however I shall persevere. More like something I would have to read for an English Lit exam.:rolleyes:
     
  9. eclair

    eclair Member

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    I was at the British Library. They have a working draft of Mrs Dalloway on display in the treasure room. Apparently, writing Mrs Dalloway was the first time she felt like she had found her writing voice. I should have read the additional information, but my attention was on the Beatles display - original lyrics, original pictures, some music manuscripts and records!
    Back to Woolf.
    I am half way through the book. It's hard not to keep Ulysses in mind - stream of consciousness/a single day, what really interests me is the different ways that Joyce and Woolf used to give their characters depth - depth despite us only knowing them for a single day of their lives.
     
  10. Soraya

    Soraya New Member

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    Have had this in my TBR pile for a while now,I will read it also.
     
  11. eldog

    eldog New Member

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    I started this and read about 30 pages. Then about a week and a half ago I left it at home one day and began reading another book instead. Have now finished that book, another book and started a third book. I have set myself a July 31 deadline because otherwise I might not pick it up again.

    Putdownable. :sad:
     
  12. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    Like I mentioned, I really liked Mrs Dalloway though not quite as much as the other Woolf novel I've read, Orlando. It's definitely not the sort of novel where you can let yourself get distracted - it's short, but there's an awful lot going on, and the way the narration shifts protagonist and moves through memories, dreams and fantasies you really need to be paying attention. Personally I think it paid off; it's not just a ridiculously beautiful novel - see the passage I posted earlier - but it's a brilliant snapshot of a time where a lot of things either had changed or were about to (and Woolf is brilliant at picking up on some changes which I'm sure still sounded ridiculous to readers in the 1920s). You have the dying British Empire, with Queen Victoria lurking here and there in the text while Peter and all the others are coming home from India, South Africa etc. You have the social revolution of both class and gender, reflected through both the old guard such as Sir William and...
    , contrasted with the hard-working Lucrezia and the religious idealist Miss Kilman, etc. Both democracy and feminism are lurking in the wings, but far from there yet - the main character, after all, is a woman who settled for being "the perfect hostess" (and, not coincidentally, seems to have some other things going on that weren't spoken of openly yet - young Clarissa's attraction to Sally is hardly 100% heterosexual).
    Some of which, of course, is the direct result of one of the biggest ghosts in the story: WW1. You have Septimus, the shell-shocked veteran who lost his ability to feel in the trenches. You have the references to aeroplanes and Darwin, lots of old truths have been lost, blown up or found untenable, but nobody can quite figure out the new ones yet (nobody can read the message written by the aeroplane in the beginning).

    It's a bit of a frustrating novel because it's a novel of frustration. It's not a novel that tries to show something happening in terms of plot, but of things happening with the way people view themselves and the world. Scales falling from eyes. Stiff upper lips beginning to wobble. And the reasons some scales are going to stick.

    :star4:
     
  13. CatrinaMarvi

    CatrinaMarvi New Member

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    Well I borrowed it from one of my friends, he recommended me this book and I have gone through about 19 pages so far. It seems to be good for me. There are some interesting parts in this one. I will come back with the complete review after finishing.
     
  14. nwee

    nwee Member

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    snoberry ?

    While agreeing whole hearedly with what Beergood says, I couldn't help noticing the emphasis paid to snobbery albeit subtly for the first 90% of the book, and then Sally Seton's rather blunt allegation during her chat with Peter Walsh at Clarissa Dalloway's party. For Clarissa Dalloway marrying beneath her was unthinkable. She finds fault with Sally for doing so. But still she is able to go through the motions & live a relatively succesful married life with Richard, because she never goes below the superficiality. See, how she is stumped when she asks herself why she arranges such parties - to get people together is her feeble answer. Mind you, Clarissa is a decent woman, charming, popular, a good wife, but for her it is the status that is of utmost import. She never goes to visit Sally with her textile mill owner husband. Having said that, she cannot be heaped aside with people like Hugh, for irrespective of the politically correct decisions she takes, she is a much more better human being, thus her continued cherishing of her freindship with Peter & Sally. That was the best loved period of her life- but she just can't get there from here (where she is at now)

    For me, Septimus represnts the other end to that of Clarissa. He can't simply nudge away his experiences at the trenches. He can't stand Sir William Bradshaw & the more humane Dr. Holmes. He's not alone as Sir William is not liked all around. He can't go through the motions, living only on the upper layer as Mrs. Dalloway does. Is that why she has a mysterious attachment to that "young man" who commited suicide only that afternoon ?

    Would love to hear your views on this...

    :star3:
     
  15. skip20

    skip20 New Member

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    Could Mrs. Dalloway be a further exploration of "time" as written in The Wave?"
     
  16. Polly Parrot

    Polly Parrot Moderator Staff Member

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    skip20: Unlikely as Mrs Dalloway was written in 1925 and The Waves six years later.

    nwee: I believe that Septimus Smith was intended to be the double of Clarissa Dalloway.
     
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