Saturday, 25 May 2013


Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, published in 1925, was a bestseller both in Britain and the United States despite its rejection of  typical novelistic style. 
The action of Mrs. Dalloway takes place during a single day in June 1923 in London, England. This unusual organizational strategy creates a special problem for the novelist, that is to say how to create  characters deep enough to be realistic while treating only one day in their lives. Virginia Woolf solved this problem with what she called a “tunneling” technique, referring to the way her characters remember their pasts. In experiencing these characters’ recollections, readers derive for themselves a sense of background and history to characters that, otherwise, a narrator would have had to provide.
In a sense, Mrs. Dalloway is a novel without a plot. Instead of creating major situations between characters to push the story forward, Virginia Woolf moved her narrative by following the passing hours of a day. The book is composed of movements from one character to another, or of movements from the internal thoughts of one character to the internal thoughts of another.
Mrs. Dalloway depicts people walking about a city. The book  makes the city, its parks, and its streets as interesting as the characters who inhabit them.
Clarissa Dalloway’s party, which is the culminating event of the book, ties the narrative together by gathering the group of friends Clarissa thinks about throughout her day. It also concludes the secondary story of the book, the story of Septimus Warren Smith, by having Dr. Bradshaw arrive at the party and reveal that one of his patients committed suicide that day.
The book’s major themes are sanity and insanity, isolation and community, or the possibilities and limits of communicativeness, as evidenced by Clarissa’s permanent sense of being alone and by her social skills, which bring people together at her parties.

Here you can download a PDF Presentation.

I think it is well worth watching Mrs Dalloway, the 1997 British drama film starring Vanessa Redgrave in the title role, as it  is a superb adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf 
As Clarissa Dalloway prepares to host a sumptuous party, her mind wanders back to a summer in her youth, when she was courted by an eager young man  -  a young man whose much older self will come to the party she's preparing. Mrs. Dalloway moves fluidly between the past and the present, exploring the shifts in perspective and understanding with an unsentimental but graceful eye. What's most impressive is the remarkable interplay between the younger and older actors, who seem to be different versions of the same character. Beautifully directed by Dutch filmmaker Marleen Gorris, the movie also features Rupert Graves as a shell-shocked soldier who crosses Clarissa's path.


Esther Martinez said...

I love literature.... and I love your blog!
Congratulations! :-)

Pasqua said...

Thank you, Esther! I am so pleased that you love my blog!

Unknown said...

Hi teacher! I'm studying ''Mrs Dalloway'' for an oral exam at university! You always help me with your blog. Thank you!!

Your old student, Luciana!

Pasqua said...

Hello, Luciana! You are always welcome to my blog! Good luck with your exam!
Your old English teacher! =)