February 28, 2016

'Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself...'

With what pleasure we read the famous opening sentence of Mrs. Dalloway, for it rings with the confidence of the writer... Virginia Woolf knew exactly what she was up to — title and heroine's name sprung in her first line, the clarity of diction, the very simplicity of the domestic errand suggesting a world that we will comprehend. The novel is tempered by such easy lines:  'That is all'; 'I am unhappy'; 'I have five sons.' Placed like stones at the rim of a billowing tent, these clear little sentences seem necessary stakes in the shimmering flow of language and emotion that strains, in paragraph after paragraph, to contain the intricacies of life.
      And so Virginia Woolf gives us, to begin with, Clarissa Dalloway in the morning — 'What a lark! What a plunge!' — about to venture forth to buy flowers for the party she is to give that evening....

from the introduction, by Maureen Howard,
to this edition of  Mrs. Dalloway

I'm so very, unfashionably late to the #woolfalong, but can't wait to start reading this today.

{painting, by Vanessa Bell, found here}

1 comment:

Sunday Taylor said...

One of my favorite books! I love what Maureen Howard said in the introduction. So true. I think you will love this book.