Mrs. Dalloway

Dalloway & Modernism

Virginia Woolf was an author who wrote many works that were praised for their expression of the problems during the time period as well as criticized for the same reason. The modernism era had start not long before Woolf wrote Mrs. Dalloway and it because a famous work through the years. Modernism was a new concept for the people of England for it was mostly the transition from poem to novels as the main version of Literature and is a style of writing is usually called, stream of consciousness. Mrs. Dalloway being the modern novel also dealt with religion and the breaking of tradition as well as the wounded soldiers coming back from war. Mrs. Dalloway is modernism in novel form and much like that of T. S. Eliot's works in the sense of deep and complex writing.

Many have written about Mrs. Dalloway in several of their essays and scholarly articles that dive deep into Mrs. Dalloway and the subjects in which it brings forth. In “Has Death Come for Modernism?” scholarly article Claire Barber wrote, “Modernism is often distinguished by its poetic, aesthetic, and temporal rupture with past literary movements,” (3). This is true for Mrs. Dalloway because it takes place during and post World War 1 in England or U.K. and is compared to T. S. Eliot's works which are more of the poetic nature in the beginning of this era.Elyse Graham talks about how Mrs. Dalloway shows Wolf’s opinions of religion and belief of breaking tradition in“Private Religion, Public Mourning, and Mrs. Dalloway.” Graham tells that Wolf “was famously no supporter of institutional religion” (5). Wolf didn’t believe in this type of religion, but she still respected that others may believe different than her. Graham goes on to say, “Yet even if the world of Mrs.Dalloway is one to which St. Paul’s Cathedral can offer little, it is a mistake to suppose that its author therefore deprecates religious experience” (5). In Mrs. Dalloway, it shows respect for religion and even supposes religious beliefs which is how much Wolf believed and respected other religions and religious beliefs. “On the contrary, the novel recognizes the historical importance of religious institutions in giving shape and coherence to community life and the search for meaning” (Graham 5). In this quote Graham talks further about how Woolf’s opinions about religion is shown in Mrs. Dalloway. Further into the article Graham talks about the one piece that Wolf highlights to the readers about using the religion to make sense of the world, but most importantly to make sense of World War 1 and its destruction. Erin Kay Penner talks about how Wolf used different aspects of the setting to transition from one character to another. In "Making No Apologies for Difficulty: Putting Modernist Form at the Center of Classroom Discussions" Erin Kay Penner says during the discussion of how Wolf used setting or other pieces of the story to continue it and to not have a narrow focus,

“Vanessa Bell’s woodcuts gracing the covers of Woolf’s novels in their first edition. One thinks of the movement of the car and the airplane in Mrs. Dalloway, and her use of these features as ways to detach attention from Clarissa Dalloway and move it among other figures in the crowd on the street before settling on Septimus Smith” (Penner 5).

Penner talks about how the point of view and perspectives shifted from Mrs. Dalloway to the others by the abstract setting as well as the aspect that the setting is similar to Wolf’s own hometown. Stevenson Christina wrote in “‘Here Was One Room, There Another’: The Room, Authorship, and Feminine Desire in A Room of One's Own And Mrs. Dalloway,” that the switching perspectives of both genders shows that, “Woolf’s texts work to undermine the difference between inside and out, fact and fiction, thus suggesting new possibilities for the representation of feminine desire” (Christina 3). Michael Lackey also talked about how Woolf’s fight against Philosophicalism and Philosophy using Mrs. Dalloway the character herself to correspond and bring forth her arguments. Each Critique had seen the different arguments and points that Wolf brought forth in her written work Mrs. Dalloway. They were all different each argument comes together under the fact that they were fighting tradition as well as the limits through Wolf’s stream of consciousness which is basic idea of modernism.

Virginia Woolf wrote Mrs. Dalloway in the style of modernism which also had different points and arguments to the problems of post-World War 1. The way in which Mrs. Dalloway is written is a stream on consciousness that means unedited and improvised. The style is easily reflected in the story with the flow of perspectives of the characters, for there is no warning when the point of view changes nor the thoughts that are being read. Mrs. Dallowayshows rebellion to the problems of post-World War 1, but the same concepts are an issue in this day and age of the 20th century. The problem of gender discrimination and the gender roles is still a problem that has a large amount of success in that women now are able to vote and different types of genders have come forward, but tradition as well as teachings of the generations are just barely balancing. Mrs. Dalloway shows as a main character of a soldier who came back from the war wounded and suffering with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, which has been labeled and can be stabilized, but there is no true cure mentally.

There is many concepts and subjects in Mrs. Dalloway that have been addressed but also several that will take a while to be spoken about. Mrs. Dalloway is an interesting read even more so with the fact that all of it happened in one day and the fact that this is completely true and possible. The world of Literature is still changing, but modernism was an important era and style.