narrator or character" (254). Although Chatman uses this example to show how
"narrator and character are so close, in such sympathy, that it doesn't matter to
whom the statement is attributed" (254), it seems to me that Woolf's indifference
is deliberate. Interestingly, Wayne Booth in his Rhetoric of Fiction is rather aggrieved
by this ambiguity, quoting David Daiches in relation to To the Lighthouse to support
his complaint that the distinction between the thought processes of author and
characters was not clear enough (373 n. 27).
See Pamela Caughie's discussion of the narrator-character boundaries in which
she points out that what is "striking about [ Woolf's] narrators is just how obtrusive they are," which has the effect of disturbing our "habitual relations to the
narrative" (64). She goes on to comment that "blurring distinctions between
characters and between characters and narrator, Woolf makes the source of a
thought doubtful, thereby inhibiting our tendency to seek the author's view in the
characters or narrator" (75).
As Suzanne Ferguson points out, "the disappearance of the author has been such
an article of faith . . . that . . . readers and teachers have gone about analysis of a
number of third-person impressionist works just as if the author had in fact
withdrawn, when actually his presence is quite palpable and might even be seen to
give impressionist works one of their characteristic qualities, i.e., that of a 'multiple
vision': simultaneous perspectives" (231).
Stefan Oltean, "Textual Functions of Free Indirect Discourse in the Novel
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf," where he argues that "FID in Mrs. Dalloway, as a
mode of duality, plurality and equivocation of the enunciative rather than the
denotative positionality, sustains a type of psychological realism consisting in the
representation of the manner in which existence is reflected in several centers-of-
consciousness concomitantly engaged in a continuous dialogue with the narrator
and situated under the control of the latter" (547).
See also her comments that [Lytton] "thinks she is disagreeable and limited, but
that I alternately laugh at her and cover her, very remarkably, with myself" ( Writer's
The use of "of course" is an example of a linguistic marker indicating social
positioning and attitudes, one that is meant to draw the reader into the upper
middle-class world of the Dalloways. Woolf captures, mimics, and mocks this
discourse as she does the pretensions of this class, but she is also careful to
represent it. See Janet Giltrow's discussion of the "ironies of politeness" for a
careful analysis of the construction and effects of this kind of discourse.
James Edward. Memoir of Jana Austen. London: Oxford University
Austen, Jane. Emma. 1816. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985.
-----. Persuasion. 1818. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.
Bakhtin, M. M. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Trans.
Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981.