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Approaches to Teaching Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway

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Mrs. Dalloway is considered a central work in Virginia Woolf's oeuvre and in the modernist canon. It not only addresses historical and cultural issues such as war, colonialism, class, politics, marriage, sexuality, and psychology but also reimagines the novel form. Moreover, Mrs. Dalloway continues to grow in its influence and visibility, inspiring adaptations in film, theater, print, and other media.

Despite Mrs. Dalloway's continued popularity, many students today find the prose daunting and a barrier to their appreciation and comprehension of the novel. This volume seeks to give instructors a variety of strategies for making Woolf's work compelling and accessible to students while addressing the diverse ways it has been interpreted. Part 1, Materials, reviews editions of Mrs. Dalloway as well as critical and historical resources related to the novel. Part 2, Approaches, explores the task of contextualizing this key modernist text in the classroom. Some contributors situate Mrs. Dalloway in its historical time and place, namely, London in the period between the two world wars. Others discuss the novel's narrative form or interpret it using perspectives from cultural studies, feminism, or queer theory. Still others address the novel's relation to poems, films, and Victorian novels. Finally, a group of essays discusses the challenges and rewards of teaching the novel in settings both traditional and nontraditional, from a college classroom to a prison.

174 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2009

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Ruth O. Saxton

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Profile Image for Erin.
821 reviews
November 22, 2011
Exceptionally helpful book to think about how to teach Mrs. Dalloway. Because of this book, my class will now include:

Drawing the interior and exterior lives of characters
Mapping the walks of characters
WWI recruitment Posters
War Poetry
Carpe Diem Poetry


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