Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf was first published in 1925.

I think this is just the second book by Woolf that I’ve read. I read To the Lighthouse and it wasn’t my cup of tea although I know some bloggers loved it. I wasn’t any more impressed with Mrs Dalloway so I think it’s fair to say that Virginia Woolf and I just don’t get on at all. I just don’t like her writing style.

The book has a short foreword by Jeanette Winterson who is obviously a fan and there is also an introduction by Carol Ann Duffy and as if that isn’t enough there’s another by Valentine Cunningham.

The setting is London a few years after World War 1 and Mrs Dalloway is giving a party later in the day. She’s in her 50s, a perfect hostess well used to throwing regular, fashionable parties.

During the preparations for the party she sees Peter Walsh who has been in India for years, he had proposed marriage to her when she was a youngster but she had turned him down. Her mind wanders off over the years and over everything that has happened since then.

Very early on in the book Woolf has a character who is suffering from depression and is preoccupied with suicide. Given what Woolf did to herself, I find it sad and unnerving to read about it in a book which was written years before she took her own life.

Oh well, each to their own! I still have The Waves to read – sometime, maybe.

4 thoughts on “Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

  1. I don’t like anything I’ve read by Virginia Woolf, so I’ve given up trying. I just can’t read her or Henry James. I read To the Lighthouse a year or two ago and it did nothing for me.

    I know a lot of people adore her writing, but we just don’t click.

    >Very early on in the book Woolf has a character who is suffering from depression and is preoccupied with suicide. Given what Woolf did to herself, I find it sad and unnerving to read about it in a book which was written years before she took her own life.

    Yes, I would think so. I felt that way reading Plath’s The Bell Jar.

    • JaneGS,
      I’m so glad that you commented and feel the same as I do about her writing. I also don’t click with Iris Murdoch and various others. I always wonder if when the books were first published they got a wonderful write up (by a friend) and it all just snowballs from there, but it is just as well that we all have different reading tastes I suppose.

  2. Too bad you didn’t get along with Mrs. Dalloway. It is one of my favorite books. Just a warning on The Waves, I read it last year and loved it but if you do not like the style of Mrs. Dalloway or To the Lighthouse, you are going to despise The Waves. It is a beautiful book but it is even more associative and elliptical than the others. I don’t want to discourage you though, maybe it will be the Woolf book that clicks, just want you know what you are in for 🙂

    • Stefanie,
      Forewarned is forearmed! but you never know I might enjoy it. I was surprised to read that Angela Thirkell adored Woolf’s work and wished she could write like her, but I really enjoy Thirkell’s sort of wanderings. Daftly I feel that I should like Woolf as her maiden name was Stephen (my married name).

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