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. 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 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.