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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.
Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway is a work like [b:Ulysses|338798|Ulysses|James Joyce|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1346161221s/338798.jpg|2368224]. Perhaps it may seem like prestigious name dropping to mention the two together, yet the comparison is the only one I can make. I should add, however that it is more like the child of Ulysses and [b:Jane Eyre|10210|Jane Eyre|Charlotte Brontë|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327867269s/10210.jpg|2977639]. It possesses the social sensibilities of Jane Eyre while adopting the difficulties and intellectual stimulation of Ulysses.

The story of Mrs. Dalloway is far less interesting than the plot itself and the linguistic deliberations of the work. The story, told outright follows Clarissa Dalloway as she plans for a prestigious party across the course of one day and interacts with different individuals. The real interest is in how the story is told (the plot). Virginia Woolf uses a distanced and yet close writing style, one that feels both to be an omniscient third person perspective and also tied to the stream of consciousness narration. Her language on the whole is beautiful, yet clearly this serves as a fine example of the fact that great authors (as with Joyce) can break boundaries and rules of language. She utilises far too many semi-colons (and uses them grammatically correctly), uses uniquely positioned prepositional phrases and repeats herself - oddly succinctly to drive the plot home. For all that she is a melodic and poetic author who clearly must be read and analysed by all interested in language and writing.

"She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on."


Essentially in following Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus, Woolf is able to hint at very modern themes. She highlights how the modern world encloses and captures the individual, becoming a highly claustrophobic place for anyone. And it is the effectiveness of transferring this sense to the reader that makes Mrs. Dalloway such a complex and tough book to read. It is uncomfortable but also beautiful and in that degree it is alien and it reveals how discomforting modern society can be.

This is a wonderful book that should be read by all interested, as noted, in language and literature. It has a unique quality, a dreamy modernity, that causes one to feel the emotion, the language and the power of its moral intensity. In other words, it is a brilliant piece of literary fiction.