Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882. Her father was the literary critic Leslie Stephen and her mother comes from an aristocratic family. So it was an intellectual family which had a great influence on her approach to writing and to art in general. But when Virginia was 13 her mother died and she suffered a nervous breakdown, and it marks the beginning of her mental instability. In 1904, after the death of his father she moved to Bloomsbury in London, where she founded the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of intellectuals.
In 1915 she published her first novel and in a moment of mental anguish, she attempted suicide. Then she wrote other novels including Mrs. Dalloway. Besides novels, Woolf was a brilliant critic and essayist. Virginia drowned herself in 1941.
The story of Mrs. Dalloway develops in a single day in London. It’s a June morning and Clarissa Dalloway leaves home to buy flowers for the party she has organized for the evening. During the day Clarissa has many changes of moods and memories.
Her day is contrasted with the figure of Septimus Smith, a disturbed. At the end of the day he commits suicide by jumping out of the window of his room, it was a veteran. News of his death intrudes upon Clarissa’s party.
Learning about this tragic event, Clarissa reflect on how necessary it is for her that Septimus dies because as he embrace death, she can embrace life.
Features and themes.
Time is often dilated and a single moment can last for a very long time, this is possible through the technique of the indirect interior monologue, used by Virginia to represent the gap between chronological and interior time.
Virginia is interested in the impressions of the characters who experience some events in their subjectivity. One of Virginia Woolf’s aim in writing Mrs. Dalloway is reduce the time unit.
- Virginia didn’t write for fashion or fame, she wrote for the taste of writing.
- She begins to privilege the interior monologue because reality lost its importance and the focus is on the life of the mind.