Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs-Dalloway-Oxford World Classics EditionShe had the perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone;
she always had the feeling that it was very, very, dangerous to live even one day.

–Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf’s writing hits emotion first—‘what happens’ takes second place to ‘what feels’. The language is packed with subtlety, nuance and evocative images as Woolf probes the depths of intimate relationships. Come join us for this exploration of a warm June day in London: madness, aesthetics, the nature of love and intimacy, war, relationships across and between genders, Imperialism—all are prodded in this delicate and lyric work.

Mrs Dalloway makes an ideal study: her writing is challenging to read on one’s own, rich as it is in images, references and details that deliver a powerful emotional and intellectual impact. The study format encourages exploration by reading with a group of diverse and questing minds. Together we will work to understand Woolf’s incisive study of human personality—and use some of her contemporaries (Freud, Henri Bergson, Roger Fry) to help make sense of this new writing she creates. Here is Julia Briggs from her biographical study of Woolf through her works:

Mrs. Dalloway is the story of a day in the lives of a man and woman who never meet—a society hostess who gives a party, and a shell-shocked soldier… What they have in common or why their stories are told in parallel, the reader must decide, for this is a modernist text, an open text, with no neat climax or final explanation, and what happens seems to shift as we read and reread. Woolf intended her experiment to bring the reader closer to everyday life, in all its confusion, mystery and uncertainly, rejecting the artificial structures and categories of Victorian fiction.”


  • Four meeting study
  • Recommended edition: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf; Oxford World’s Classics edition; ISBN-13: 978-0199536009

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Posted on

September 12, 2017