Virginia WoolfShe was born in London in 1882.She grew up in a literary and intelectual atmosphere.Her education consisted of private Greek lessons andshe read whatever she liked in her fathers library.She spent her summers at St Ives, Cornwall, and the searemained central to her art; infact for Virginia waterrepresented two things: on the one hand, it representedwhat is femenine; on the other hand, it stood for thepossibility of the resolution of intolerable conflicts indeath.Her mothers death in 1895, when Virginia was onlythirteen, affected her deeply and brought about her firstnervous breakdown.In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf.In 1915 she entered a nursing home and attemptedsuicide by taking drugs.She died in Rodmeil in 1941.
➲ With her fathers death in 1904,Woolf began her own life andliterary career.➲ She decided to move toBloomsbury and, together hersister Vanessa, she became amember of Bloomsbury Group,which included the avant-garde ofearly 20thcentury London.➲ Bloomsbury members virtuallydefined the social, political, andcreative concerns of the comingmid-century: unconventionalsexual practices; anti-warsentiments and socialism; and thefragmented perspective aestheticsof both Modernism and Post-modernism.The Bloomsbury GroupThe Bloomsbury Group
A novel wrote in 1925.Presents a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, an upperclass English woman.The story takes place in London on a day in June 1923.Mrs Dalloway
At 10 a.m. on a Wednesday early in June 1923, Clarissa Dalloway goes to Bond Street to buy some flowers for a party shes giving that evening at her house. While shes in the flower shop, a car drives noisily past and shifts the attention to the street, where Septimus and Lucrezia Warren Smith are walking: he is an estate agents clerk and shellshocked veteran of the war, she is an Italian girl. Septimus Warren Smith, a veteran of World War I suffering from deferred traumatic stress, spends his day in Regents Park with his Italianborn wife Lucrezia, where they are observed by Peter Walsh. Septimus is visited by frequent and indecipherable hallucinations, mostly concerning his dear friend Evans who died in the war. Clarissa walks back home and there she receives an unexpected visit from Peter Walsh, the man she used to love in her youth. Later that day, after he is prescribed involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital, he commits suicide by jumping out of a window. All the characters who have been in some way important during the day are present at Clarissas party. The Bradshaws arrive and Clarissa hears from them of Septimuss death, with she feels a strong connection.
The protagonist of the novel, Clarissa, is aLondon society lady of fifty-one, the wife of aConservative MP, Richard Dalloway, who hasextremely conventional views on politics andwomens rights. The influence of a possessivefather, the frustration of a genuine love, the needto refuse Peter Walsh, a man ho would force herto share everything – all this has weakned heremotional self and split her in two. Shescharacterized by opposing her feelings: her needfor freedom and indipendence and her classconsciousness. Her life appears to be an efforttowards order and peace, an attempt to overcomeher weakness and sense of failure. She needs tomake her home perfect, to become an idealhuman being but she imposes severerescrictions on her spontaneous feelings.
Septimus Warren Smith is a young poetand lover of Shakespeare who, whenthe war broke out, enlisted for patrioticreasons. Hes an extremely sensitiveman who can suddenly fall prey to panicand fear, or feelings guilt. The cause ofthese feelings lies in the death of hisbest friend Evans during the war. Sohes a character specifically connectedwith the war, hes a “shell-shock” case,one of the victims of industrialized war,who sought medical treatment in thespecial centres set up by 1922. After thewar Septimus is haunted by the spectreof Evans, he suffers from headachesand insomnia, he cannot stand the ideaof having a child, hes sexually impotent.
The plot does not connect Clarissa andSeptimus. But they are similar in manyrespects: their response to experience isalways given in physical terms, they dependupon their partners for stability andprotection. There is a main difference,however, which has aroused the theory thatSeptimus is Clarissas double. Hes not alwaysable to distinguish between his personalresponse and the nature of external reality.His psychic paralysis leads him to suicidewhereas Clarissa never loses her aearenessof the outside world as something external toherself. In the end she recognizes herdeceptions, accepts old age and the idea ofdeath, and is prepared to go on.
Virginia Woolf was interested in giving voice to the complex inner world offeeling and memory and conceived the human personality as a continuousshift of impressions and emotions. In her novelsthe omniscient narrator disappeared and the point of viewshifted inside the characters minds through flashbacks,associations of ideas, momentary impressions presented asa continuous flux.Mrs Dalloway takes place in a single ordinary day in June 1923, and itfollows the protagonist through a very small area of London, from themorning to the night of the day on which she gives a large formal party.Clarissa Dalloways party is the climax of the novel and unifies the narrativeby gathering all the people Clarissa thinks about during the day. Clarissadoesnt simply walk up Bond Street and back again, she also perceives, thinks,remembers, so that her present experience and future plans are suffused withthe feelings and axperiences of the past.In Mrs Dalloway, all of the action,except flashbacks, takes place on a day in June. It is an example of freeindirect discourse storytelling (not stream of consciousness because this storymoves between the consciousnesses of every character in a form of discourse):every scene closely tracks the momentary thoughts of a particular character.Woolf blurs the distinction between direct and indirect speech throughout thenovel, alternating her narration with omniscient description, indirect interiormonologue, direct interior narration follows at least twenty characters in thisway but the bulk of the novel is spent with Clarissa Dalloway and SeptimusSmith.
THEMESMental IllnessSeptimus, as the shell-shocked war hero, operates as apointed criticism of the treatment of mental illness anddepression. Woolf lashes out at the medical discoursethrough Septimus decline and suicide; his doctors makesnap judgments about his condition, talk to him mainlythrough his wife and dismiss his urgent confessionsbefore he can make them. Woolf weave her criticism ofthe treatment of the mentally ill with her larger argument,which is the criticism of societys class structure. Heruse of Septimus as the stereotypically traumatized manfrom the war is her way of showing that there were stillreminders of the First World War in 1923 London.Exsistential IssuesHer love of party-throwing comes from a desire to bringpeople together and create happy moments. Sheinterprets Septimus Smiths death as an act of embracinglife and her mood remains light even though she hearsabout it in the midst of the party.HomosexualityClarissa Dalloway is strongly attracted by Sally atBourton — 34 years later, she still considers the kiss theyshared to be the happiest moment of her life. She feelsabout women "as men feel", but she does not recognizethese feelings as signs of homosexuality.
As for Joyce, also for Virginia Woolf subjective reality came to be identified with the technique called “stream of consciousness”. However, differently from Joyces chacacters who show their thoughts directly through interior monologue, sometimes in an incoherent and syntetically unorthodox way, Woolf never lets her characters thoughts flow without control, and maintains logical and grammatical organisation. Her technique is based on the fusion of streams of thought into a thirdperson, past tense narrative. Thus she gives the impression of simultaneous connections between the inner and the outer world, the past and the present, speech and silent. Woolfs use of words was almost poetic, allusive and emotional. Fluidity is the quality of the language which flows following the most intricate thoughts and stretches to express the most intimate feelings. “Mrs Dalloway” takes place in a single ordinary day and it follows the protagonist through very small area of London, from the morning to the night the day on which she gives a large formal party. Woolf does not elevate her characters to the level of myth, but shows their deep humanity behind their social mask.
“It is so very dangerous tolive for only one day!”Edited by:Fabiana Faiuolo5^ D