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The Mrs. Dalloway Reader

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  926 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
This first volume of its kind contains the complete text of and guide to Virginia Woolf's masterpiece, plus Mrs. Dalloway's Party and numerous journal entries and letters by Virginia Woolf relating to the book's genesis and writing. The distinguished novelist Francine Prose has selected these pieces as well as essays and appreciations, critical views, and commentary by wri ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Mariner Books (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 27, 2008 Maggie rated it it was amazing
Hands down, my favorite book in the entire universe. I have a copy at home, a copy in my apartment, and a copy at work. All are care-worn, dog-eared, highlighted, underlined, creased, and well-loved. A beloved professor once told me that I will appreciate this book at 20 and I will appreciate it for entirely different reasons at 40. Well, 2.5 years after my first reading, I already find that different elements strike me for different reasons. I like that: a book with which you can grow old. Some ...more
Aug 03, 2011 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Reading Mrs. Dalloway has changed my life. Being my first Virginia Woolf novel, I was tentative with it, afraid from what I had heard that it would be dreadful and hard to read. After Mrs. Dalloway, however, I find that there is not enough Virginia Woolf in the world to satisfy my cravings! It has been difficult to transition myself back to reading anything else because Woolf is just too good at her craft.

This particular edition contains textual analysis and even a series of shorts written by Wo
Apr 28, 2008 Kellie rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
Couldn't finish it. What the heck is it about? I feel awful, being an English teacher, that I couldn't read this. I mean, I'm sure I COULD, but ug. I just could NOT push on.
Jan 26, 2008 heartful rated it it was ok
I can see how her stream of consciousness style was innovative but I didn't like the characters enough to care about what happened to them.
Jun 08, 2010 Grady rated it it was amazing
A Brilliant Writer Negotiates the Works of a Brilliant Writer

Francine Prose is one of our more important writers (novels 'Blue Angel', 'After', 'A Changed Man', 'Primitive People'; probing biographies 'Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles'), a writer with a profound respect of the past, for the art of writing and the art of reading. Her most recent book is titled 'Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them' should give an idea of what is in store in
Jul 12, 2015 Julia added it
Shelves: essays
a friend of my sister's whose father works in the publishing industry and is continually afflicted by a heap of uncorrected proofs gave this to me back in september or so, thanks to my vwoolf-lover reputation; it sat on my desk in my dorm room for most of the year, unattended to possibly even longer than any other book that sat on my desk in my dorm room for most of the year. when i returned home of the summer it sat on my carpet. it was getting to the point that i thought i would simply never r ...more
What I really like about this collection is that there are essays and commentary about not only "Mrs. Dalloway," but also other works by Woolf. The short stories and essays were really wonderful to read, as I was able to learn about the evolutionary process that "Mrs. Dalloway" went through during writing. The Reader really digs into what makes Woolf’s works so interesting and different, and I really enjoyed seeing a greater depth to the story.

I love Woolf’s transitions between the characters; a
May 05, 2008 Sophia rated it really liked it
It would have been a different story had the inner monologues not been present.
The soldiers marching by, the passing car holding someone of high or noble status, the prime minister at Clarissa's party--all like figureheads. We never get inside their thoughts. They're present the way the chiming clock is present. As a disruption.
All the real action of the novel takes place in the space of one day, culminating in a party: the climax. But the real expression of lives and moments and thoughts and
Jo`` Khalaf
Feb 26, 2008 Jo`` Khalaf rated it it was ok
I watched "The Hours" again the other day and forgot what a great film it was. One of the film's character's is Virginia Woolf who is played by Nicole Kidman. Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" is referenced throughtout the film and so I decided to read the book as well.

This is the first book I have read by Virginia Woolf and I don't think I like her style of writing. I'm sure some people out there will gasp at hearing me say that about such a "classic" writer, but this book tried my patience and tested m
Courtney Stoker
Nov 18, 2008 Courtney Stoker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, philosophy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2016 Juliet rated it it was ok
Shelves: readitagain
I know it's blasphemy for a woman to not like Mrs. Dalloway, but for crying out loud, nothing happens for freakin' ever. I now understand why I secretly wasn't all that into it when I read it the first time in college. I see the insights into character, and Woolf's ability to capture people's shifts in mood and desire from moment to moment is impressive. It's also rather symphonic, how she moves from one point of view to the next, using the tolling of the bells as connective link. But all this d ...more
Andrea Lakly
Aug 15, 2014 Andrea Lakly rated it it was amazing
I read this out of a sense of duty, and I was totally wrong. The way that Woolf writes about how people think blows me away. The novel is completely interior and exposes the thoughts and rationalizations of the sane and the insane, showing how well intentioned and misguided we all are. Love it.
Sep 02, 2008 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people willing to work hard at a book
Honestly, this may in fact be the best book I have ever read in my entire life. The best written, the most intriguing, the most thought-provoking, the most initially confusing novel I know. Reading it has changed my life, which may sound extreme but as a writer I don't exaggerate. Woolf's beautiful language deftly captures the facets of several people's everyday lives, so brilliantly that sometimes it's a bit much for one to comprehend. The language is different and never repeats itself, and the ...more
Jan 11, 2009 Haley rated it really liked it
Shelves: buy
I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved Septimus's story. I found it interesting that Virginia Woolf showed us her disease through Septimus, gave us an idea of how ridiculous the treatments were in those days. For example, Dr. Holmes prescribing him to eat more porridge, and that if Rezina didn't know how to make it, that she should learn. I don't know that I would have gotten the point of that, if I had not read The Hours by Michael Cunningham first.

However, the role of Peter Walsh bothe
Jan 16, 2008 April rated it liked it
I realize why people gave this book more stars, there are some beautiful passages, and the writing style is excellent ... however it took me way longer than it should to get through. The reason is simply the storyline which flows ingeniously between different characters and point of view, conflicted with my mental attention span. Reading this book was like the same way I think, and being so I ended up having to reread paragraphs several times. I suppose reading this on a crowded subway didn't he ...more
Edited by Francine Prose. A great collection of essays by well-known authors and critics about Mrs. Dalloway, along with the original short story that served as inspiration for the novel.
Nick Black
Apr 13, 2013 Nick Black rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pretty much anyone.
First off, I would like to say that I am a lover of pretty much all kinds of books. What I mainly loved about this book is how Virginia Woolf was able to take the concept of a basic day getting ready for a party and make it be an extraordinary journey about aging, living your life, the memories of the past, and why people make decisions and why they react to the decisions. While we mainly follow Mrs. Dalloway, we also follow her husband, a doctor, one of the doctor's patients and his wife, and a ...more
Jun 06, 2008 Alissa rated it really liked it
An interesting collection of work surrounding Mrs. Dalloway, this book contains selections of Woolf's diaries, the original “Mrs. Dalloway's Party” short story, Woolf's notes, essays and stories by other writers who were inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, along with the final novel. Mrs. Dalloway is a superbly crafted novel, with dual narratives, intense back stories, and a profound reach of content . . . reading this coupled with her diary entries, her first short story, her notes on writing Mrs. Dallw ...more
Kristin Boldon
Aug 28, 2011 Kristin Boldon rated it really liked it
This contains Woolf's early stories she based Mrs. Dalloway on, essays by famous authors on Mrs. Dalloway and Woolf, then the text of the novel. I'm glad I had the Oxford World's Classic edition of the novel, as it had notes and the one in this reader is unannotated, though that would be helpful when I re-read it. Like any book, though, if you haven't read it before recently, I say read the novel first, then the introduction stuff. I read Mrs. Dalloway, then the introduction to that edition, the ...more
Margaret Jarocki
Apr 01, 2016 Margaret Jarocki rated it liked it
I found the story line confusing at times but at the same time find her writing style ingenious.
Sep 21, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
I listened to this on audiobook but think I would have rated it higher had I read it in print.
Feb 24, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
A very nice book. It's great value is the inclusion of "Mrs. Dalloway's Party", a collection of "chapters" from an early draft of "Mrs. Dalloway" that were not included in the final version of the novel. The book also contains several interesting and informative essays about Virginia Woolf and her work. I especially enjoyed the one by E.M. Forster and the one by Daniel Mendelsohn that discusses the film, "The Hours" in relation to "Mrs. Dalloway" and to Virginia woolf's concerns about women and ...more
Sep 16, 2014 Patsy rated it it was ok
This was a very hard book to read and I didn't enjoy it at all! I must be missing something when people say she was such a great writer. All her sentences ran together and you really had to think about what she was writing about. Very confusing!
Apr 01, 2016 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ch-16, donated
I so desperately wanted to be enthralled with the story, Mrs. Dalloway. I fully expected to love it. It made me feel smart reading it. I don't love it. It took me awhile to slow down my reading to fully appreciate the cadence of the words. But in slowing down, I became bored. In this volume, the editor also included essays from various writers, which I read after reading the story. They did increase my appreciation for the style. But not enough to say I LOVED the book. I may read it again. Somed ...more
Feb 22, 2008 Gigi rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
Though the actual writing is amazing the story itself was often hard to wade through. One of the reviewers, Sigrid Nunez, writes, "Every (character) is death-haunted, everyone is a poet, everyone is neurotic, everyone is a genius, everyone is Virginia Wolf." This is how I felt at the end. The lives of the characters were different, but the characters themselves all seemed the same.

I appreciated this edition because it included background notes, diary entries, and commentaries which I found more
Jun 09, 2011 Gloria rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Discussion Group Leaders
Shelves: classic-lit
This not only contains the full text of "Mrs. Dalloway" but includes essays and critiques by other authors that help explain not only the novel, but the writer herself. These other writings are extremely helpful in preparing for a book discussion because this is not an easy book to discuss. Watching the movie, reading the novel, and reading lots of extra material helped it all come together. Now I understand why it is considered a great, classic novel; otherwise, you might think it is simply abo ...more
Mar 10, 2008 Hilary rated it really liked it
Amazing book, can't believe I haven't read it before, nearly 100 years old and still original in thought and style. It's not just the story of Mrs Dalloway but a series of insights into a variety of people's minds who are all in some way linked to her and each other. The insights come from the varying characters internal dialogue and so range in ideas from women's rights to marriage to insanity to love to India to lesbianism (though not outrightly stated).
A little dense but a breeze compared to
Apr 24, 2008 Vanessa rated it really liked it
I've had a love/hate relationship with Woolf for a long time now; but this book tipped the scales into love (and prompted me to do my MA dissertation on her). Woolf packed a lot into a slim novel and wrote one of the most compelling first sentences ever in this book. She touched on time, loneliness, aging, and seeking and finding validity. The title character is at times touching, shallow, insecure, profound, arrogant, beautiful, vulnerable, spiteful... in short, she is a beautiful, dense portra ...more
Jan 11, 2009 Kim added it
The disjointed writing, flowing from one character to the next without warning or even the start of a new paragraph was highly disconcerting for me. I found it nearly impossible to keep track of what character I was reading about at that moment, and trying to sort through the far too “poetic” and descriptive text was frustrating. I found the ending to be anti-climatic after such a tedious build up, and the thoughts of the crazy man especially annoying to muddle through. Not my favorite book ever ...more
Elise Jensen
Dec 18, 2010 Elise Jensen rated it really liked it
So excited to be reading this and discussing it in a class with a professor for whom I have a very profound respect. When I read Mrs. Dalloway before, I felt like I was in a boat looking into a murky lake, but would then suddenly hit patches where I could see clear to the bottom. I remember feeling like if I could read this book and really understand it, I would understand the entire world better than I do now(other than this book, only certain poetry has ever made me feel that way).
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(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es
More about Virginia Woolf...

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