The Mrs. Dalloway Reader
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The Mrs. Dalloway Reader

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  802 ratings  ·  104 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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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...more
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...more
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.
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.
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
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...more
Jo`` Khalaf
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...more
Courtney Stoker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 02, 2008 Chelsea rated it 5 of 5 stars 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 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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
Nick Black
Apr 13, 2013 Nick Black rated it 5 of 5 stars 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
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
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
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
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...more
Jun 09, 2011 Gloria rated it 5 of 5 stars 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
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...more
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
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).
Sep 13, 2008 Alan added it
Woolf's experimental novel was written partially rebuttal to James Joyce's Ulysses. The novel presents a snapshot of London life just after the Great War, through the eyes and minds of the characters within it. "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself." The bells of London ring the hours as the day progresses ("The leaden circles dissolve in the air.")

An absolute rapture of a read.
I've become a Mrs. Dalloway groupie, I guess. The commentaries were fascinating to me. It was interesting to read what Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, had to say. But my favorite piece was by Daniel Mendelsohn, "Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf"that first appeared in March 13, 2003 in The New York Review of Books. He explored the connections between both novels and the film which was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won a Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
This is a very well written book about nothing. At least, that is what I told my daughter, the English Major. One day in the life of a London aristocrat.

I'm about done with stream of consciousness for awhile.
i get so lost in woolf's writing that i often miss the plot (i think that's a british-y writing thing as much as its my thing though). anyway, i can't say that i ever hate woolf's writing, but i'm certainly not her biggest fan, either. i think i might need reread most of her stuff again to see if i'm 'big girl' enough now to appreciate it better. i'll take any suggestions on how to approach this behemoth (really, i am really not a fan of british authors)???
Aug 21, 2007 Melissa rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who read all the endmatter
If you REALLY like Mrs. Dalloway, then you should read it in this setting: it contains the complete text of the novel; Mrs. Dalloway's Party, the original stories which seeded the novel, Katherine Mansfield's "The Garden Party," which (and whom) Woolf envied, and essays by Francine Prose and Michael Cunningham (author of The Hours). If you haven't read Mrs. Dalloway, and really want to do it up proper, you should give this edition a try.
long, superbly detailed and obsessive passages in the styles of "a day in the life of..." Unfortunately, my attention span wavers and the stream of consciousness style, void of breaks (not like anybody ever gets a break from their day to day observations, anyway) weighs heavy on my patience. So much so that I read this book in random binges, mainly when I wish to dive into somebody else's reality and obsess along with Virginia and Mrs. Dalloway.
I had to (a) age a bit and (b) read this book twice, no three times, before I "got it".
Now that the light has come on, I am a fan of Woolf's prose. I'm in the mind of the characters, I feel the confusion and pain of Septimus, the WWI veteran who can not find peace and of Clarissa who worries about meaning and value in the small moments of life.

"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."

Read this 30 years ago, taking it at face value of course. Nice little novel about A Day in the Life. Whoa! Just like Ulysses! (VW had no respect for JJ; thought him crass.) Read it this time as a gentle analysis of suicide and of Clarissa Dalloway's secular approach to The Meaning of Life (throwing parties to help humans connect.) And so deliciously crafted!
i fall again and again for bits of her prose like
"And as she began to go with Miss Pym from jar to jar, choosing, nonsense, nonsense"
it makes me swoon in a way that convinces me that my love for phenomenal experience is too dependent on language! but c'est la vie. i am very happy the students came to see more in themselves through someone like her.
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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
More about Virginia Woolf...
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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