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Mrs. Dalloway

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  215,915 ratings  ·  9,487 reviews
One of Virginia Woolf's best-known novels, Mrs. Dalloway details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway in post-World War I England.

Created from two short stories, "Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister", the novel's story is of Clarissa's preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess. With the interior perspective of the novel, the
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Paperback, alternate cover for ISBN 9780156628631, 296 pages
Published December 12th 1964 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P (first published May 14th 1925)
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DannyDale No. This is the kind of book that turns you away from reading novels. It's a grind from the beginning to the end. Life is too short to read anything w…moreNo. This is the kind of book that turns you away from reading novels. It's a grind from the beginning to the end. Life is too short to read anything written by Virginia Woolf. (less)
Dragon Tran Yes, I am rereading Mrs. Dalloway from the beginning for the third time, and deriving more and more pleasure from its exploration of basic existential…moreYes, I am rereading Mrs. Dalloway from the beginning for the third time, and deriving more and more pleasure from its exploration of basic existential crises through a stream of consciousness style, resulting in very lyrical prose with a "milky" quality. Milky breakfast tea, to be exact. (less)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  215,915 ratings  ·  9,487 reviews


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Jason
Experiencing Mrs. Dalloway is like being a piece of luggage on an airport conveyor belt, traversing lazily through a crowd of passengers, over and around and back again, but with the added bonus of being able to read people’s thoughts as they pass; this one checking his flight schedule, that one arguing with his wife, the one over there struggling with her cart, bumping into those arguing and checking. For the most part, the ride is smooth as Woolf transitions from one consciousness to another. ...more
Kenny
What does the brain matter,” said Lady Rosseter, getting up, “compared with the heart?”
Mrs. Dalloway ~~ Virginia Woolf


1

I didn't realize this until the final page, but at its heart, MRS. DALLOWAY is a love story. I absolutely loved this book.

1

Mrs. Dalloway is a complex, compelling novel. It is wrongly described as a portrait of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway; this is not correct. Mrs. Dalloway is the hub that connects the spokes, the characters of Woolf's novel, but there is no main charac
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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“So on a summer’s day waves collect, overbalance, and fall; and the whole world seems to be saying ‘that is all’ more and more ponderously, until even the heart in the body which lies in the sun on the beach says too, That is all. Fear no more, says the heart. Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall. And the body alone listens to the passing bee; the wave breaking; the dog barking, far away ...more
Bram
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
While reading her works, I get the impression that Virginia Woolf knows everything about people and that she understands life better than anyone, ever. Is there a single hidden feeling or uncommon perspective with which she is not intimately acquainted? And does anyone else draw forth these feelings and perspectives with more grace and empathy, and impart them to us in such a lush, inimitable fashion? Perhaps. But you’d never think that while immersed in her exquisite, adult dramas. In Mrs. Dall ...more
Sean Barrs
Virginia Woolf I hate you.

There I said it. Some authors you just don’t get on with, and Woolf is right down the bottom of my shit list. I’ve got quite a few reasons why:

Artistic slaying

So there’s a trend with each and every new artistic movement which involves pissing all over the one that came before it. The newness asserts its dominance by destroying the old; it’s happened many times over history in all forms of artifice, whether it be literature, music, paintings or media in today’s society.
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Sarah
May 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mrs. Dalloway is one of those books one is supposed to adore for its disruption of convention and innovative use of time, sound, parallel narrative structure etc. While I respect and admire the literary advances VW makes with this novel, I just can't get into it. I've read it three times over the course of my reading life, once at 17 then at 21, and finally just a few months ago. I find it sleepy like dozing in a warm insect filled garden, which is not a bad way to spend an afternoon (as long as ...more
Jim Fonseca
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virginia Woolf set out to write an unconventional novel and succeeded, although since she wrote, we have read so many unconventional novels that it seems tame. In her introduction to the edition I read, Maureen Howard writes: “If ever there was a work conceived in response to the state of the novel, a consciously modern novel, it is Mrs. Dalloway.” She may have been influenced by Ulysses because all the action occurs in one day. Church bells mark significant events. In turn this marking of the d ...more
s.penkevich
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Moments like this are buds on the tree of life.

Our lives are an elaborate and exquisite collage of moments. Each moment beautiful and powerful on their own when reflected upon, turned about and examined to breath in the full nostalgia for each glorious moment gone by, yet it is the compendium of moments that truly form our history of individuality. Yet, what is an expression of individuality if it is not taken in relation to all the lives around us, as a moment in history, a drop in a multitud
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Violet wells
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: london, faves
It’s been a while since I last read Mrs Dalloway. I’d always had it down as her third best book, but falling a fair way short of The Waves and To the Lighthouse. Therefore I was surprised by just how much I loved and admired it this time round. It’s probably her most popular novel – because it’s more intimate, more personal and sprightly and warm than her other novels. What’s most brilliant about it is the easy fluid way she makes of each passing moment a ruffled reservoir of the inner life of h ...more
Fergus
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is this amazing book the archetype for present-day feminine TV Soap Operas?

If you said that, I, and so many others who’ve been utterly charmed by Virginia Woolf’s disarmingly ‘unrehearsed’ slice-of-life prose in this incredible book, would take bitter umbrage!

No, this little book is MUCH more than that...

It’s a radiant hymn to the power of momentary, personal Epiphanies in our rapidly-moving, seemingly impersonal, and largely unconscious lives.

You know those magical Chicken-Soup-for-The-Soul mo
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Paul Bryant
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels

THE TERMINATOR 2 OF DOILEYS

I can see why people hate Mrs-Dalloway-the-book (there are a fair few this-is-so-boring-I-lit-myself-on-fire kind of one/two star reviews) because Mrs Dalloway-the-book is the Terminator 2 of doileys, ribbons, and fetching hats, the Die Hard 4 of a sunny day in London, 1923, the Apocalypto of curtains and place mats and memories of moonlight boating parties; and the Transformers of wondering if you married the right person.

You have to get into Mrs Woolf’s style, which
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İntellecta
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
England in 1923. A land between world wars, between tradition and modernity. Virginia Woolf's fourth novel, "Mrs Dalloway"

This book offers many partial even very modern approaches, reflecting the role of woman in society, the importance of marriage, the mental illness as a sign of our time, the consequences of war, the power of medicine and much more ..."

Ps:If you like the technique "Stream of consciousness "the book is suitable for you.
Henry Avila
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What does the brain matter compared with the heart?"so states one of the last lines in this short brilliant novel, a thought -provoking book life is temporary after all. This phrase is about Mr. Richard Dalloway who works for the government in the early 1920's in London, England. Clarissa Dalloway's nice steady husband rather ordinary, he will never be a member of the prestigious cabinet, nevertheless she loves him, he reciprocates that emotion...she knows but he's much too embarrassed to verba ...more
Fabian
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I first read Mrs. Dalloway sometime between "The Hours" film was released & college (2002-2003), knowing pretty well what it aimed at--to chronicle life as it is lived, with plenty of characters to populate the sphere that’s immediately around the titular protagonist, the nucleus, the hopeless hostess of parties; all their thoughts at once made clear and later muddled with the novel’s own moving train of consciousness. This time around I found that the most difficult portion of Mrs. Dalloway is ...more
Michael
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

Although famous for focusing upon a single day in the life of one woman, Mrs. Dalloway in fact ricochets from one interior life to the next, collapsing the present into the past as it does so. The novel is far less interested in defining Clarissa Dalloway as an individual than in exploring the many-sided effects she has on an assortment of others; by the end of the narrative, Woolf has offered her readers not a neat
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Kalliope

I love travelling by train, and this is one of the best environments for reading. Luckily I got a seat for myself and the coach is pleasant. There is so much light. How enjoyable!

What a funny way to start the book. Someone says that Clarissa Dalloway is setting off to buy the flowers. But here is the famous quote What a lark!, what a plunge!, but it is not quite at the beginning of the book and cannot quite join other iconic beginnings like Call me Ishmael.. or Longtemps je me suis couché de bon
...more
Matthew
A few introductory comments on my rating and review:

My rating is reflective of my experience with this book and not the actual impact this book has had on literature and other people over the years. Sometimes when I read a book I don’t like, I cannot understand why others like it either. That is not the case here – it is very easy for me to tell why others would like this book and I think it was very interesting at its core; it is just the delivery that did not work for me.

I hesitate to actually
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Kelly
Virginia Woolf made me feel like a drunken gardener, a diver on the verge of the bends, a foot stamping child, a foal tripping over its own legs trying desperately to get to its mother. And you know, I really don’t like feeling like any of these things. What is worse, she set up a buffet of champagne, mimosas, fruit and jam, white table cloths fluttering on a patio in the sunshine and light breezes, let me settle myself down to watch a perfectly civilized game of tennis between old pals from Eto ...more
Darwin8u
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is late and I will want to think about this a bit more before I finish my review, but there is something almost perfect about Virginia Woolf's modernism. Her stream of conscious writing seems to be more aromatic than Proust (if that is possible) and goes down easier than Joyce. While she didn't write the massive 'Remembrance of Things Past' or the revolutionary 'Ulysses', her short novels seem - pound for pound - to stand up to these greats. Mrs Dalloway is a Madeleine that bites back and mos ...more
Traveller
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I apologize for writing so much; but there was just so much to write about...

On the surface, this appears to be a boring little account of a boring woman getting ready for throwing a boring snobbish party at the end of the depicted day, with various interludes and people wandering around London during the course of the day, thinking all sorts of freeflowing thoughts and having flashbacks to their pasts. ...but every time you examine this novel to try and critique it, something new about the nov
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Of Life and Death, Verbs and Nouns

I expected this novel to be difficult. However, it wasn't difficult at all. It was an enormous pleasure.

I was struck by the preponderance of verbs .

The novel might happen in the head of Clarissa Dalloway or the other characters, but they are observing activity and their thoughts reflect it.

It is more dynamic than passive or self-conscious or self-reflective.

It was less a stream of consciousness, than a consciousness of life as a stream or a number of streams
...more
Vanessa
Well I don't think I was quite ready for Virginia Woolf. It's my first novel by Woolf so I've finally broken my Virginia virginity. The writing is razor sharp, very witty in parts but mostly there's an energy to her writing it's slightly manic and I felt my mind racing through along with her thoughts. But did I enjoy this book? In parts. I found the pacing although the words were written beautifully a little too frenetic like she's throwing everything at you and hoping you keep up. I think this ...more
Paul
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bloomsbury
How to review a novel like this. I remember Evelyn Waugh’s comment about having to review/critique P G Wodehouse; “like taking a spade to a soufflé”. There has been a little debate recently about who to put on the back of the new £10 note in this country. Jane Austen seems to have won; I would have voted for Virginia Woolf!
Stream of consciousness and set in a day, but definitely not Ulysses; this, for me, is one of the great novels. Not only is it beautifully written, it is beautifully construct
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Aubrey
Finding an author who tilts and swerves and stares into the light as you do is a difficult matter. Half of it is politics, for what we are not on the power scheme of things is all the easier to ignore, and half of it is heart, the blood by which we scheme and thrive and fall. Some authors crop up in classrooms in accordance to popular decree and dance along the usual line of theory and of form. Others, not only one and the same but first, have by happenstance of coin and sex and homicide have no ...more
Jessica
Sep 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: broke, book-loving teenagers and anyone else looking for a cheap high
Shelves: happyendings
Okay, so this is very fabulous novel and in my opinion one of the Greatest, despite the fact that for me it was not exactly a breeze to get through. I mean, it wasn't painful or anything, but nor was it one I just sat down and plowed through like a maniac until I was through. I carried the thing around with me for awhile and poked at it in fits and starts over a period of time. I think Virginia Woolf is a genius, but there's something kind of inaccessible about her to me, maybe because I'm not a ...more
Jennifer
I was so afraid I wouldn't "get" this book (as if anyone fully "gets" Mrs. Dalloway in one reading, lulz). But it's goooorgeous and I've been a self-defeating, self-denying fool. That is all.
Fionnuala
Reviewed in November 2012
Mrs D is just so eloquent that I've decided to let her do the talking - via Virginia, of course: She was not old yet. She had just broken into her fifty-second year. Months and months of it were still untouched. June, July, August! Each still remained almost whole, and, as if to catch the falling drop, Clarissa (crossing to the dressing-table) plunged into the very heart of the moment, transfixed it, there - the moment of this June morning on which the pressure of all th
...more
Candi
"She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. Not that she thought herself clever, or much out of the ordinary."

Virginia Woolf takes us through a single day in 1923 in post-World War I London. She does so with gorgeous prose
...more
Iris
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway took me on an intriguing journey through consciousness, through high-society London, its streets and the natural scenery, and the different fragments of philosophical contemplation. This was unlike anything I had read before, full of (both obscure and lucid) profound observations and meanderings of the human mind, written in beautiful, fluid prose much like the ebb and flow of the tides. There are many paragraphs to which I am sure I will return, to ponder and refle ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, literature
I promise to review this properly some day, to really discuss it in a manner resembling what it deserves, but right now I am tired and a bit wine-infused and distracted by my neighbor once again making strange Buffalo Bill-esque moan-y weird sounds through my paper-thin apartment wall, so I just have one question at the moment: Where have you been all my life?

This woman...sorry, this person was brilliant, particularly in the realm of intuition expressed through microcosm-like paragraphs. Worlds
...more
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15,243 followers
(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 e
...more

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