So much of Mrs. Dalloway felt inevitable to me. Not predictable. Inevitable. Something would happen, someone would express an opinion, there would be a turn of phrase, and something in me responded to it with recognition, with the feeling that yes, that was what had to happen there.
Other than that, I think my reactions are most impressionistic. Let's see:
supervisor and I were talking a year or so ago about the ways in which
women have historically facilitated politics and diplomacy, by being
very close to who Clarissa Dalloway is, a hostess. The ways in which
this established communities, could lead to backdoor avenues for getting
things done, and the ways in which these avenues have been derided as
frivolous or useless, because they centre around parties and
As, indeed, Peter derides the woman he supposedly
loved, and did from the beginning, because she is not who he wants her
to be, because he sees her as unworthy, and wants her to be more. I
don't know, I'm on Richard's side here. It might not be eternal
tempestuous passion, but there is warmth and affection and love there,
and being constantly ground down as unworthy, or reminded that you're
unable to measure up to an ideal by a more passionate lover would get
pretty damn wearing, pretty damn quickly.
Woolf captures so
elegantly the ways in which mood can shift during the day, how one thing
going wrong can throw things out of whack, and emotions out of order,
while another going right can restore equilibrium. And how at times,
something grating can be carried off with elegance, while at others, can
roil in your gut.
Having never been around a victim of
shell-shock, or battle fatigue, or PTSD, as we're calling it these days,
I don't know how accurate her depiction of Septimus is. But the
portrayal was so clear and sympathetic while simultaneously being
unsettling and upsetting.
This is a book I'm not entirely sure
I've digested, yet. I'll have to come back to it eventually, read it
again, see what pops out at me on a second read.