Mrs. Dalloway (Woolf)

Book Reviews 
Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? A lot of us. Despite her fragile elegance, Woolf is no quaint Edwardian. She's very much of the 20th-century: a writer who can be ferociously intellectual and sometimes downright intimidating.

Fortunately, we don't have to be all that intimidated by Mrs. Dalloway. On one level, it is accessible as a novel about class, unrequited love, and madness. On another level, though, the book is a more adventuresome read.
LitLovers LitPick - Oct. 2006


One day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a June day in London, punctuated accurately, impersonally, unfeelingly, by the chimes of Big Ben and a fashionable party to end it, is the complete story of Mrs. Woolf's new novel, Mrs. Dalloway, yet she contrives to enmesh all the inflections of Mrs. Dalloway's personality, and many of the implications of modern civilization in the account of those twenty-four hours.... Virginia Woolf stands as the chief figure of modernism in England and must be included with Joyce and Proust in the realization of experiments that have completely broken with tradition.
John W. Crawford - New York Times (5/10/1925)


Most of my reading is rereading. Last night I opened Mrs. Dalloway to look up something (I thought I remembered a reference to Wagner, whom I've been thinking a lot about lately) and started to read and couldn't stop. I read until two in the morning and woke at eight to read until eleven...something I had no intention of doing. I first read Mrs. Dalloway when I was sixteen; and each time—this was the fourth—it has seemed like a different book. This time I thought it more extraordinary, more original, even stronger than I remembered.
Susan Sontag - author


Mrs. Dalloway was the first novel to split the atom. If the novel before Mrs. Dalloway aspired to immensities of scope and scale, to heroic journeys across vast landscapes, with Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf insisted that it could also locate the enormous within the everyday; that a life of errands and party-giving was every bit as viable a subject as any life lived anywhere; and that should any human act in any novel seem unimportant, it has merely been inadequately observed. The novel as an art form has not been the same since. Mrs. Dalloway also contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century.
Michael Cunningham - author 

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