Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf

Topics: Modernist literature, Mind, Mrs Dalloway Pages: 4 (1320 words) Published: September 28, 2010
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf

Modernism is a literary movement in which writers believed new forms of expression were necessary to relay the realities of a modern and fractured world. The modernist movement was concerned with creating works of art relevant to a rapidly changing world in which institutions such as religion, capitalism, and social order were thrown into question by new and confusing ideas, technologies and world events such as World War I. Virginia Woolf, one of the most eminent Modernist writers, utilised stream of consciousness, for example, to convey a character’s interior thoughts. Contemporaries included James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence. Virginia Woolf, an English novelist and critic, believed that the life of the mind was always more fascinating than a person’s external behaviours. In her life, and in her art, she sought to push beyond existing boundaries in search of a deeper truth that lay beneath the surface. Woolf, along with her husband and their circle of intellectual friends, known as the Bloomsbury Group, helped to shape twentieth century ideas about art, literature, gender, and sex. By demanding her own intellectual freedom, Virginia Woolf opened the door for other artists to do the same. Rapid political and social change marked this period, especially between the two world wars. Mrs. Dalloway portrays the shifting political atmosphere through the characters Peter Walsh, Richard Dalloway, and Hugh Whitbread. However, it focuses more deeply on the changed social mood through the characters Septimus Warren and Clarissa Dalloway. Although Septimus seems dissimilar to Clarissa, he embodies many characteristics Clarissa shares and thinks in much the same way she does. Septimus offers a contrast between the conscious struggle of a working-class veteran and the blind opulence of the upper-class. Constantly overlaying the past and present, Clarissa strives to reconcile herself to life despite her memories. Septimus, on the other hand,...

Bibliography: SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Virginia Woolf.” SparkNotes LLC. 2005. (accessed August 23, 2010).
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Mrs. Dalloway.” SparkNotes LLC. 2004. (accessed August 23, 2010).
Shmoop Editorial Team.  "Virginia Woolf."  Shmoop University, Inc. 11 November 2008.  (accessed August 23, 2010).
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