Reading the Classics · Uncategorized

Reading the Classics #4: Mrs. Dalloway

mrs. dalloway


Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

Title: Mrs. Dalloway

Author: Virginia Woolf

Written: 1925

I really wanted to like this book. I have studied Virginia Woolf herself, but have never read any of her fiction. I did not enjoy it at all. This book was a real struggle for me to get through. I found the writing and characters, except for Septimus, dull and tedious. I know this is one of her most renowned works, but it was just not for me.

From reading the description I did not think that I would enjoy this work, but wanted to give it a shot. I don’t know why the lack of chapters bothered me. I tend to use chapters as stopping points, I never had a stopping point in this book! It drove me insane. This story reminded me of why I do not like Jane Austen. Stories about high society women bore me, mainly because there lives tended to be boring. From what I have observed, they always tend to be about marriage and socializing only, neither of which make me want to read the work.

Despite the negative feelings, I did enjoy the glimpse into life of women and the mentally disable during this time. Clarissa was bored with her life. She found her own existence meaningless and disliked her lack of education and interests. I know for me, I could not live a life of sitting around the house and “visiting” all day. What I found interesting was that even Peter found her existence tedious. This of course made me think, if men felt this way, why would they subject women to that kind of existence during that time?

I really enjoyed the parts pertaining to Septimus and his PTSD. For anyone who is familiar with Virginia Woolf, she suffered from a serious case of depression. I think she would have an accurate understanding of psychologists during this time. The methods the doctors kept trying to use to cure Septimus seemed very archaic to me. I was sad to see his story end the way it did. Psychology has definitely come a long way since this time period.

All in all this book was okay. I would probably not recommend this to anyone, but would also not discourage anyone from reading it. I think it is just one of those books that were not for me.

Have you read Mrs. Dalloway? What did you think of it?


5 thoughts on “Reading the Classics #4: Mrs. Dalloway

  1. I read this a few years ago. I think I’d get more out of it now. I need a reread! I think it’s interesting that Woolf seems to pair Septimus’s anguish with Clarissa’s. I’ve seen Toni Morrison do that recently too: in Sula. I think the suggestion is that women, though they didn’t see combat in that era (actually they did see a lot in their nursing, I imagine), were living a sort of war of their own. I don’t think I’ve said that well, but that edges along what’s trying to develop as I encounter classics by female writers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a very good point. I recently read Sula and I see what you are trying to say.about the connection and pairing of the characters. That is a very good point about living a war of their own. I think that is a very good point about classic women writers. People will write about what they know. There were many battles for women and black women during the time period of Sula and Mrs. Dalloway. Thanks for that view point 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t enjoy Mrs Dalloway either but I did really like To The Lighthouse. Even though they are written in a similar style, and TTL is also about privileged lives, I much preferred it. It has some beautiful imagery and description that makes it very memorable – while I was reading it, I kept pausing to copy phrases down!

    Liked by 1 person

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