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May 14, 1925
Novel, Psychological Fiction
Septimus Warren Smith, Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway, Rezia Warren Smith, Richard Dalloway, Hugh Whitbread
14 May 1925, by Virginia Woolf
The novel details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional upper-class woman in post-First World War England. The novel addresses the nature of time in personal experience through multiple interwoven stories, particularly that of Clarissa as she prepares for and hosts a party and that of the mentally damaged war veteran Septimus Warren Smith.
The basic theme of the novel is the life of a single personality, Mrs. Dalloway, affecting and affected by others with whom she comes into contact. Other major themes include time and secular living, mental illness, existentialism, feminism, and homosexuality.
In Mrs Dalloway, all of the action, aside from the flashbacks, takes place on a day in "the middle of June" of 1923. It is an example of stream of consciousness storytelling: every scene closely tracks the momentary thoughts of a particular character. Woolf blurs the distinction between direct and indirect speech throughout the novel, freely alternating her mode of narration between omniscient description, indirect interior monologue, and soliloquy.
Clarissa Dalloway, Sir William Bradshaw, Elizabeth Dalloway, Richard Dalloway, Miss Kilman, Sally Seton, Lucrezia "Rezia" Warren Smith, Septimus Warren Smith, Peter Walsh, Hugh Whitbread
Mrs Dalloway is one of Woolf's best-known novels. In October 2005, it was included on TIME Magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels written since its first issue in 1923. Dutch film director Marleen Gorris made a film version of Mrs Dalloway in 1997.
“What does the brain matter compared with the heart?”
“It might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.”
“It is a thousand pities never to say what one feels.”
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