Author(s): Virginia Woolf
HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics. Clarissa Dalloway is a woman of high-society - vivacious, hospitable and sociable on the surface, yet underneath troubled and dissatisfied with her life in post-war Britain. This disillusionment is an emotion that bubbles under the surface of all of Woolf's characters in Mrs Dalloway. Centred around one day in June where Clarissa is preparing for and holding a party, her interior monologue mingles with those of the other central characters in a stream of consciousness, entwining, yet never actually overriding the pervading sense of isolation that haunts each person. One of Virginia Woolf's most accomplished novels, Mrs Dalloway is widely regarded as one of the most revolutionary works of the 20th century in its style and the themes that it tackles. The sense that Clarissa has married the wrong person, her past love for another female friend and the death of an intended party guest all serve to amplify this stultifying existence.
One of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century -- Michael Cunningham Woolf is Modern. She feels close to us. -- Jeanette Winterson
Born in 1882, Virginia Woolf was the daughter of the editor and critic Leslie Stephen, and suffered a traumatic adolescence after the deaths of her mother, in 1895, and her step-sister Stella, in 1897, leaving her subject to breakdowns for the rest of her life. With her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, she was drawn into the company of writers and artists such as Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, later known as the Bloomsbury Group. Among them she met Leonard Woolf, whom she married in 1912, and together they founded the Hogarth Press in 1917. Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915, and her major novels include Mrs Dalloway (1925), the historical fantasy Orlando (1928), written for Vita Sackville-West, the extraordinarily poetic vision of The Waves (1931), and Between the Acts (1941). Woolf lived an energetic life, reviewing and writing and dividing her time between London and the Sussex Downs. In 1941, fearing another attack of mental illness, she drowned herself.