She would not say of anyone in the world now that they were this or were that. She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. Not that she thought herself clever, or much out of the ordinary. She knew nothing; no language, no history; she scarcely read a book now, except memoirs in bed; and yet to her it was absolutely absorbing; all this; the cabs passing; and she would not say of Peter, she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that.
Adeline Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) was an English author and essayist and considered one of the most important modernist literary figures of the 20th century. She was a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device, which she wielded masterfully in “perhaps her masterpiece” Mrs. Dalloway, where, during a single day in June 1923, Clarissa Dalloway prepares for a party she will host that evening, while nearby, Septimus Smith, a shell-shocked war veteran, abruptly loses touch with this reality. Employing a nonlinear narrative to weave a vivid portrait, Woolf travels in and out of characters’ minds and forward and back in time to intertwine the social structure of Clarissa’s post–First World War London with the lives of all in her orbit.
"One of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century.”
And so we have updated most hyphenated words to reflect their modern usage (to-night is now tonight, and so on). Woolf also seemed to prefer separating certain pronouns (e.g. some one, any one, her self), so we have modernized those when appropriate. However, since Woolf was English and the story is set in London, we have retained all of the original British spellings (our Heathenry does have its limits). Finally, Woolf was incredibly well-read, as evidenced by her immense vocabulary and sometimes obscure literary references, so the bulk of our work has been spent on the footnotes to ensure her context and meaning are (hopefully) better understood and clarified where needed.
One final thought: we found the dark undertones of this story rather surprising, sometimes even unsettling—and we believe every cover that has graced this unconventional novel over the years has failed to grasp at that darkness in a way that is, at once, adequate and intriguing.
Perhaps we succeeded.
For here you are.
“Clarrisa’s day captures in a definite matrix the drift of thought and feeling in a period, the point of view of a class, and seems almost to indicate the strength and weakness of an entire civilization.” —The New York Times
“Perhaps her masterpiece . . . Exquisite and superbly constructed . . . Required like most writers to choose between the surface and the depths as the basis of her operations, she chooses the surface and then burrows in as far as she can.” —E.M. Forster
“Hers is indisputably among the most sensitive of the minds and imaginations felicitously experimenting with the English novel.” —Jorge Luis Borges
“Virginia Woolf is one of the few writers who changed life for all of us. Her combination of intellectual courage and painful emotional sensitivity created a new way of perceiving and living in the world.” —Margaret Drabble
“At a time when our most ordinary acts—shopping, taking a walk—have come to seem momentous, a matter of life or death, Clarissa’s vision of everyday shopping as a high-stakes adventure resonates in a peculiar way. We are all Mrs. Dalloway now.” —The New Yorker
“A revelation . . . Mrs. Dalloway is a remarkably expansive and irreducibly strange book. Nothing you might read in a plot summary prepares you for the multitudes it contains. I keep thinking about the shocking velocity of Woolf’s sentences, how they rocket off into the sky, trailing sparks of emotion behind them.” —Jenny Offill
Published: May 14, 2021
Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.46 inches
Weight: 9.3 ounces
Cover: Matte Finish
Interior: Black & White on Cream Paper
Pages: 200 (+2 POD)
Annotations: 145 Footnotes
May 14, 1925
May 14, 2021