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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Meeting 'Mrs. Dalloway' (160 comments)

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  •  Ms. Woolf hated Joyce, FWIW (5+ / 0-)

    She thought nothing but terrible things about Joyce, as a matter of fact! She was, of course, a friend of Forster and she also was widely read in general, and she did like Proust (she kept long reading lists). Jacob's Room shares this experimental style that she loved, then fully realized in the Waves: I'd recommend either to anyone who likes Mrs. Dalloway.

    Septimus, like so many of her characters, likely expressed a horror of WWI and the death of her brother while serving -- many of her books, after WWI, become introspective and fractured. Concurrently, her physical health became poor, so that she was frequently confined to bed for long periods of time.

    I think her work can also be compared in many ways with Faulkner and Conrad's Heart of Darkness in some regards. At times, I also think of Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. You can read an indictment of her and the whole Bloomsbury Group in Wyndham Lewis' the Apes of God (very cutting - but Woolf herself was quite cutting too). Her lover, Vita Sackville-West, also wrote. She is sometimes associated with Rebecca West or Dorothy Marsden as well.

    Also, Woolf's diaries, essays, and short stories are not only brilliant and often scathing, but also voluminous. Highly recommended all around.

    Woolf is a classic "Modernist" writer and exemplifies the shift from exteriority to interiority, really moving away from some of the fin-de-siecle decadence of the late Victorian era to the post-WWI sense of a global existential fracture that could never be undone. Also, the rise of global capitalism and heightened imperialism are deeply thematic in her work, and give rise to the focus on the psyche itself (Woolf's publishing house, Hogarth Press, was one of the first if not the first -- I cannot recall just now -- to publish the works of Sigmund Freud schematizing the psyche, and I believe this had great impact on what she attempted to replicate at times in her stream-of-consciousness work).  

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    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 11:55:41 AM PST

    •  Proust didn't like Joyce either. (6+ / 0-)

      Near the end of Proust's life, Joyce showed up at a famous dinner at the Majestic Hotel in Paris which was also attended by other illuminati of the era (Stravinsky, Picasso, Diagalev).  The two had never met before. Proust and Joyce did not speak to each other the whole evening , but Proust offered Joyce a ride home in his chauffeured car.  Uh-oh!  Joyce lit up a cigarette, sending Proust into an asthmatic fit of coughing.  

      That was the beginning, middle, and end of their relationship.  

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 01:45:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I may just read Woolf's novels in order. With her (5+ / 0-)

      essays as sherbets between the courses. Then on to A Writer's Diary, and Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life for afters. It's always informative to follow the development of a great, original author.

      If I do that, my plate is too full to concentrate on any other author (except Austen, who's already in my sights). My TBR list is assailing me from all sides.

      Thanks for all your background and suggested reading. Early next year I'll plough back through all my diaries, and add the few hundred branches and excursions, which the combined R&BLers brain trust have proposed, to my TBR list. Then comes the joy of sorting . . .

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:21:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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