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Unformatted text preview: Mrs. Dalloway Novel 12/10/2010 10:20:00 Study Guide for &quot;Mrs. Dalloway&quot; Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wolf Study Guide (prepared by Mark A. Hector) 2. The classics were very much in Mrs. Woolfs mind as she wrote Mrs. Dalloway; she was reading Greek tragedy --- Sophocles, Euripides --- 4. Virginia Woolf loved working on her blessed Mrs. Dalloway. 5. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. 6. She was also reading, while she wrote Mrs. Dalloway, Proust with great admiration and Ulysses (freshly published) with great resistance --- what weve come to call the modern classics. Joyce was a show-off to her, flashy. 7. Life in this novel is a parading of views, of attitudes, of feelings, and it is only with the greatest of effort that this pageant, this rush of impressions is held in place. 8. Peter Walsh, Clarissas old suitor, returned from India that very day, can so envision the ecstasy of life in her that he captures it looking at her, her reality, her existence, in those two simple sentences that resound with a quiet grandeur at the end of the novel: It is Clarissa, he said. For there she was. 9. Septimus Warren Smith, who is (she instructs us so openly in her introduction to the 1928 edition) intended to be the double of Mrs. Dalloway; 10. Septimus jumps from his window as Clarissa has plunged into the day at the beginning of her book, deep into the richest strata of my mind. I can write &amp; write &amp; now: the happiest feeling in the world. 11. She felt somehow very like him --- the young man who had killed himself. She felt glad that he had done it; thrown it away. The clock was striking. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. He made her feel the beauty; made her feel the fun. But she must go back. She must assemble. But the plunge to death, the giving way to disorder and incoherence is always near, the other side of a worn coin. 12. The other terrible presence in the novel is war: Mrs. Dalloway is one of the great postwar novels. 13. Healthy while she wrote this book, energetic, happy to move back to London, Virginia Woolf knew from her own illness how close to endurance and civilization lay insanity and mayhem. Communication is health, Septimus thinks, but what he has to say is gibberish. He talks to himself, a madmans trick, so do many of the characters: say is gibberish....
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- Spring '10