The Mrs. Dalloway Reader

I am starting my Woolf-year with a book that combines Woolf’s own words, with those of readers, writers and researchers. The Mrs. Dalloway Reader is a collection of short stories, diary entries, theoretical writings and personal responses, all leading up to the text itself, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Since its publication (1925), Woolf’s masterpiece has been described in a countless number of ways. For this collection, Francine Prose has selected various writings that are meant to shed some new light on Woolf’s work. In addition to Prose’s own personal response to the novel, presented in the form of an introduction, the book contains several of Woolf’s short stories, as well as texts by authors such as Katherine Mansfield, E. M. Forster and James Wood.

That is: texts about the text –

– a paradox?

Monks House - living room

It’s interesting to note that Woolf herself, in an introduction to the 1928 edition of Mrs. Dalloway, wrote:

The reader it is to be hoped will not give a thought to the book’s method or to the book’s lack of method. He is concerned only with the effect of the book as a whole upon his mind.