Emily's Reviews > Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
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Jan 28, 10

bookshelves: read-in-2010
Read in January, 2010

This was nice. This was really nice, actually. I enjoyed plunging through the pages, I loved the subtleties with which the narrator describes the relationships between characters, the small twist that can change it all, the little details, which turn out to be so important. Although I didn't really like the character of Mrs. Dalloway -to me, she was hypocrytical, a perfectly wannabe who didn't do what she really thought, but rather acted, forgetting her true self at seventeen. Peter Walsh was also a bit of a dislikable character -rather childish, in my opinion, not being able to admit to himself that he was still in love with Clarissa, just wandering around the world purposeless. Richard was a plain old jerk. So were most of the characters.

Though my favourite one was Sally -yes, actually Sally Seton, the one we know most through other people instead of her own stream of consciousness! I liked her rebellious sort of attitude at seventeen, I loved the fact that Clarissa could've only fallen in love with her. Even her current life didn't seem that bad after all, just plain and a bit boring, but still, she hadn't lost herself.

Other character I loved was young Elizabeth, so full of dreams, although rather spoilt and daydreamy, but at least she cared about other people! (even the German maid, whom I didn't like at all).

And of course, the young couple, Rezia and Septimus, which I couldn't figure out what was their relationship with the Dalloways until the end of the book. I loved Septimus stream of consciousness, even if it was depressing most times, it seemed so real! And so Rezia, I pitied her so much.

So well, the book was rather -I don't know how to say it- straightforward? I mean, like there wasn't really a conlifct even though I was waiting for it since the begining, there's no climax whatsoever, but it just goes... But it is a little gem. Some passages are just too beautiful, and it's a particular way of seeing through people that has amazed me since I first read Virginia Woolf - To The Lighthouse it was, and I just loved it so much (much more than this, actually). It is difficult as well, but once you get in the story and get to know the characters, everything is familiar.
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Quotes Emily Liked

Virginia Woolf
“First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
tags: life, time

Virginia Woolf
“An offering for the sake of offering, perhaps. Anyhow, it was her gift. Nothing else had she of the slightest importance; could not think, write, even play the piano. She muddled Armenians and Turks; loved success; hated discomfort; must be liked; talked oceans of nonsense: and to this day, ask her what the Equator was, and she did not know.

All the same, that one day should follow another; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; that one should wake up in the morning; see the sky; walk in the park; meet Hugh Whitbread; then suddenly in came Peter; then these roses; it was enough. After that, how unbelievable death was!-that it must end; and no one in the whole world would know how she had loved it all; how, every instant . . .”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“But the close withdrew: the hand softened. It was over-- the moment.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“She 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
“Her life was a tissue of vanity and deceit.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“Life stand still here.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
tags: life

Virginia Woolf
“Clarissa had a theory in those days - they had heaps of theories, always theories, as young people have. It was to explain the feeling they had of dissatisfaction; not knowing people; not being known. For how could they know each other? You met every day; then not for six months, or years. It was unsatisfactory, they agreed, how little one knew people. But she said, sitting on the bus going up Shaftesbury Avenue, she felt herself everywhere; not 'here, here, here'; and she tapped the back of the seat; but everywhere. She waved her hand, going up Shaftesbury Avenue. She was all that. So that to know her, or any one, one must seek out the people who completed them; even the places. Odd affinities she had with people she had never spoke to, some women in the street, some man behind a counter - even trees, or barns. It ended in a transcendental theory which, with her horror of death, allowed her to believe, or say that she believed (for all her scepticism), that since our apparitions, the part of us which appears, are so momentary compared with the other, the unseen part of us, which spreads wide, the unseen might survive, be recovered somehow attached to this person or that, or even haunting certain places, after death. Perhaps - perhaps.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely? All this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely?”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“Nothing could be slow enough, nothing lasts too long. No pleasure could equal, she thought, straightening the chairs, pushing in one book on the shelf, this having done with the triumphs of youth, lost herself in the process of living, to find it with a shock of delight, as the sun rose, as the day sank. Many a time had she gone, at Barton when they were all talking, to look at the sky; seen it between peoples shoulders at dinner; seen it in London when she could not sleep. She walked to the window.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“I prefer men to cauliflowers”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“Beauty, the world seemed to say. And as if to prove it (scientifically) wherever he looked at the houses, at the railings, at the antelopes stretching over the palings, beauty sprang instantly. To watch a leaf quivering in the rush of air was an exquisite joy. Up in the sky swallows swooping, swerving, flinging themselves in and out, round and round, yet always with perfect control as if elastics held them; and the flies rising and falling; and the sun spotting now this leaf, now that, in mockery, dazzling it with soft gold in pure good temper; and now again some chime (it might be a motor horn) tinkling divinely on the grass stalks—all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“So he was deserted. The whole world was clamouring: Kill yourself, kill yourself, for our sakes. But why should he kill himself for their sakes? Food was pleasant; the sun hot; and this killing oneself, how does one set about it, with a table knife, uglily, with floods of blood, - by sucking a gaspipe? He was too weak; he could scarcely raise his hand. Besides, now that he was quite alone, condemned, deserted, as those who are about to die are alone, there was a luxury in it, an isolation full of sublimity; a freedom which the attached can never know.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“Love and religion! thought Clarissa, going back into the drawing room, tingling all over. How detestable, how detestable they are!”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“Mrs Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf
“...she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway


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01/24/2010 page 113
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Emily I just posted my review. I liked it though, it's not the book of my life but it's good. I saw you gave it two stars, right?


Emily Yes, it is! I do agree with your description.


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