Mrs. Dalloway (by Virginia Woolf)

Woolf, Virginia (Stephen)

Virginia (Stephen) Woolf, 1882–1941, English novelist and essayist; daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen. A successful innovator in the form of the novel, she is considered a significant force in 20th-century fiction. She was educated at home from the resources of her father's huge library. In 1912 she married Leonard Woolf, a critic and writer on economics, with whom she set up the Hogarth Press in 1917. Their home became a gathering place for a circle of artists, critics, and writers known as the Bloomsbury group. As a novelist Woolf's primary concern was to represent the flow of ordinary experience. Her emphasis was not on plot or characterization but on a character's consciousness, his thoughts and feelings, which she brilliantly illuminated by the stream of consciousness technique. She did not limit herself to one consciousness, however, but slipped from mind to mind, particularly in The Waves, probably her most experimental novel. Her prose style is poetic, heavily symbolic, and filled with superb visual images.

Woolf's early works, The Voyage Out (1915) and Night and Day (1919), were traditional in method, but she became increasingly innovative in Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and The Waves (1931). Other experimental novels are Orlando (1928), The Years (1937), and Between the Acts (1941). She was a master of the critical essay, and some of her finest pieces are included in The Common Reader (1925), The Second Common Reader (1933), The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942), and The Moment and Other Essays (1948). A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938) are feminist tracts. Her biography of Roger Fry (1940) is a careful study of a friend. Some of her short stories from Monday or Tuesday (1921) appear with others in A Haunted House (1944). Virginia Woolf suffered mental breakdowns in 1895 and 1915; she drowned herself in 1941 because she feared another breakdown from which she might not recover. Most of her posthumously published works were edited by her husband.


See her Writer's Diary, ed. by L. Woolf (1953) and Correspondence with Lytton Strachey, ed. by L. Woolf and J. Strachey (1956); diary, ed. by A. O. Bell (4 vol., 1979–83); letters, ed. by N. Nicolson and J. Trautmann (6 vol., 1977–82); essays, ed. by A. McNeillie and S. N. Clarke (6 vol., 1989–2000); biographies by Q. Bell (2 vol., 1972), P. Rose (1978), L. Gordon (1985), M. Rosenthal (1987), J. King (1995), P. Reid (1996), H. Lee (1997), N. Nicolson (2000), and J. Briggs (2005); studies by E. M. Forster (1942), J. Bennett (2d ed. 1964), R. Freedman (1980), and J. Marcus, ed. (1983). See also the autobiography of her husband, Leonard Sidney Woolf (5 vol., 1960–69).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Clarissa Dalloway
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, 1990
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
'Mrs' Dalloway': Portrait of the Artist as a Middle-Aged Woman
Littleton, Jacob.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 41, No. 1, Spring 1995
Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway: "A Well of Tears"
Panichas, George A.
Modern Age, Vol. 46, No. 3, Summer 2004
Narrative Skepticism: Moral Agency and Representations of Consciousness in Fiction
Linda S. Raphael.
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Ordinary and Extraordinary in Mrs. Dalloway"
The Loss of Roses: Mother-Daughter Myth and Relationships between Women in Mrs. Dalloway
Tyler, Lisa.
West Virginia University Philological Papers, Vol. 51, Fall 2005
Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology & British Women Writers
Kathy Mezei.
University of North Carolina Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Terror and the Ecstacy: The Textual Politics of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway" begins on p. 162
Failed Witnessing in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
Joyes, Kaley.
Woolf Studies Annual, Vol. 14, Annual 2008
Loving Maidens and Patriarchal Mothers: Revisions of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and Cymbeline in Mrs. Dalloway
Smith, Amy C.
Woolf Studies Annual, Vol. 17, Annual 2011
Mrs. Dalloway's Animals and the Humanist Laboratory
Tromanhauser, Vicki.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 58, No. 2, Summer 2012
"Success in Circuit Lies": Editing the War in Mrs. Dalloway
Lilienfeld, Jane.
Woolf Studies Annual, Vol. 15, Annual 2009
The Empathic Reader: A Study of the Narcissistic Character and the Drama of the Self
J. Brooks Bouson.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Eight "Self-Dispersal and Self-Assemblage: The Artistic Reconstitution of the Broken Self in Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway"
Feminist Destinations and Further Essays on Virginia Woolf
Rachel Bowlby.
Edinburgh University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Thinking Forward through Mrs. Dalloway's Daughter"
New Feminist Essays on Virginia Woolf
Jane Marcus.
University of Nebraska Press, 1981
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Six "Mrs. Dalloway: The Communion of Saints"
Virginia Woolf: Feminism, Creativity, and the Unconscious
John R. Maze.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Mrs. Dalloway - A Questionable Sanity"
Walking the Web in the Lost London of Mrs. Dalloway
Wood, Andelys.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 36, No. 2, June 2003
Search for more books and articles on <i>Mrs. Dalloway</i>