To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s....
A Room of One's Own, based on a lecture given at Girton College Cambridge....
Fantasy, love offering, exuberant celebration of English life and literature, Orlando is a uniquely entertaining story....
The Hours is the story of three women...
The Waves traces the lives of six friends from childhood to old age....
Dr. Aziz is a young Muslim physician in the British Indian town of Chandrapore. One evening he comes across an English woman, Mrs. Moore, in the courtyard of a local mosque....
James Joyce revolutionized twentieth-century writing with his "stream of consciousness" technique. While ingeniously innovative and experimental, he was also a...
Considered by many to be E. M. Forster's greatest novel, Howards End is a beautifully subtle tale of two very different families brought together by an unusual event....
The intellectual and religio-philosophical awakening of young Stephen Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions with which he has been raised....
Narrator Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) presents an uncanny performance of Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel, an epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch....
A liberated young schoolteacher at an Edinburgh girls' school during the 1930's instructs her girls on the ways of life. Ignoring the more mundane subjects, she teaches them of love, politics and art....
Virginia Woolf's second novel, Night and Day, is a story about a group of young people trying to discover what it means to fall in love....
The Voyage Out is Virginia Woolf's haunting tale about a naïve young woman's sea voyage from London to a small resort on the South American coast....
Jacob’s Room is Virginia Woolf’s own modernist manifesto. A study of a young man’s life on the eve of the Great War, it is really a bomb thrown into the world of the conventional novel....
Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century....
The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, brings Hamlet to life with this new full-length, full-cast dramatic recording of its definitive Folger Edition....
Virginia Woolf's semi-biographical novel, inspired by her life changing love affair with Vita Sackville-West, takes us on an exhilarating, fantastical roller coaster....
Tess Durbeyfield, a peasant girl and cast-off descendant of English aristocracy, has become one of the most famous female protagonists in 19th-century British literature....
Mrs. Dalloway, perhaps Virginia Woolf’s greatest novel, follows English socialite Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party in post-World War I London. Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (American Beauty, The Kids Are All Right) performs Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness style of storytelling brilliantly, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life.
When we first meet Clarissa Dalloway, she is preoccupied with the last-minute minutiae of party-planning while being flooded with memories of long ago. Clarissa then examines the realities of the present as the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of different characters’ minds.
Mrs. Dalloway is daring not only in its stream-of-consciousness form, but also in its content. Woolf’s depiction of Septimus Warren Smith brings to light the ugly and often ignored truth of how the brutality of war can drive men mad. We also get to see in depth how our main protagonist, Clarissa Dalloway, suffers from her own form of psychological damage: the more subtle, everyday oppression of English society.
Haha! Am I the only one who liked Annette Benning? I thought her dead pan tone fit this book perfectly. Especially when speaking for Septimus.
A friend of mine is discovering classics that he's never read, and keeps suggesting books to me. He gave me an assignment to read this book, and then use Sparknotes to better understand the underlying ideas. I must say, I think I got more out of this book because of it. If I hadn't read the spark notes, I probably would have thought it was boring and dull, just as the other reviewers did.
Something that I find very interesting about this book is the way Virginia Woolf talks about mental illness. Not many people who are mentally ill themselves can describe the thoughts and feelings they have as precisely and eloquently as she does in this book. She rationalizes Septimus' feelings in such a profound way because she had those feelings (or some very much like them) all her life. I felt like I could see very clearly why she and Septimus both had to do what they did, and how it was the only way.
Ugh. That got very dark all of a sudden.
Overall, I thought this book was very much like Seinfeld. A lot about nothing. The plot...well, there isn't one. It is more a study on human character and death. It clearly captures the stream of consciousness movement that was happening when this book was written. I am a visual artist, so I was more familiar with works by Dali and Breton than I was of Woolf. I enjoyed this book as much as I would have enjoyed sitting in front of a Dali. It made me think harder than I wanted to, or than I am required to on a daily basis.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
I was turned off by Virginia Woolf when I was young - maybe she was pressed on me too insistently as a 'woman writer,' definitely I was turned off by some essays I had to read as an undergrad and which I found to be disturbingly elitist. But I had heard from several people that Mrs Dalloway was quite good, and they were right. I really had no idea that Woolf was this brilliant. And Bening absolutely nails the narration. I may not have enjoyed this when I was young, but now I certainly did, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Mrs. Dalloway the most enjoyable?
Annette Bening's performance of this classic book was masterful and so reflects the complex themes and beauty of Woolf's words.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Mrs. Dalloway?
Her description of the descent into madness of one of the characters is so precise that it allows the reader to follow him into his vortex with complete understanding.
What does Annette Bening bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Her voice is so perfectly modulated, she is such a pro....I often don't finish books on tape because the narrator's voice often becomes annoying. Not so with this performance.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The end, when the point of view suddenly changes to Richard Dalloway, and so much more is revealed.
Any additional comments?
Highly recommended, will purchase anything else narrated by Bening, and written by Woolf.<br/>
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
This is possibly the most annoying book I have ever listened to.
Annerte Bening is great as the narrator of this audiobook: she catches the stream-of-consciousness voices of the characters perfectly. The problem is that listening to these voices is exactly like listening to someone's interior monologue as they natter to themselves about every detail they observe going throughout their day.
I haven't read James Joyce's Ulysses, but apparently the writing style in Mrs. Dalloway is often compared to that book. I can't say it makes me eager to tackle Joyce. There isn't really a plot in this book, just character studies. Clarissa Dalloway is a high-society woman planning a party; we follow her throughout her day starting with a walk along Bond Street. She meets an old flame who's just returned from India, prompting reflection about why she married her stodgy, reliable husband Richard Dalloway instead of the more interesting but less stable Peter Walsh. Then the narrative switches to Walsh's point of view, as we follow him going about London, reflecting on Clarissa and her refusal of his marriage proposal and the married woman he's now hooked up with.
The book drifts in and out of viewpoints, shifting perspectives and threads of narrative. Mrs. Dalloway is the main character whose head we get into, but we are also treated to the thoughts of Septimus Warren Smith, a traumatized, suicidal veteran of the Great War, whose Italian wife can't understand why he keeps acting ill when the doctors say nothing is wrong with him.
The prose is elegant and pretty and Woolf is quite artful in the way she gets us thoroughly into the characters' heads, telling us all about their hopes, fears, secrets, and entire life histories in snippets of rambling internal monologue. It's one of those "literary" novels whose craft I can appreciate while making me never want to read it again. I can see why Woolf is studied by graduate students, but nothing here spoke to me or interested me, and listening to Clarissa Dalloway go on and on and on and on, treating every precious thought she has like a precious little diamond, listening to self-involved Peter Walsh go on and on and on about his love lives past and present and his failure to "make a success" of himself, listening to Septimus Smith go on and on and on about his dead friend who haunts him and how detached he is from society, made me feel like someone trapped on a bus between people talking on their cell phones.
A snarkier review of this book could legitimately be hashtagged with #firstworldproblems, aside from Septimus's PTSD, which I'll grant that Woolf treated with a fair degree of nuance and sympathy for the time this was written. There's also a hint of a past lesbian infatuation and a lot of ruminating on the basic dissatisfaction of upper-class married life, which I guess is why this book is supposed to be an early "feminist" work.
It was not to my taste. Virginia Woolf may have been a genius, but I suspect you have to have your head somewhere like where Clarissa's or Septimus's heads are at to love this book. Maybe I'd have found the stream-of-consciousness prose more interesting and less annoying in print.
16 of 22 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Not at all. I kept waiting for something to happen. It was dull I sped up the voice to get it over faster. There was a lot of talking but she really didn't have anything to say.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Something more fun, like War and Peace
Which character – as performed by Annette Bening – was your favorite?
None. Though she was good.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I am so disappointed! This is one of the few books that I have added to my library that I am returning unfinished. Two paragraphs in I knew that I could not listen to the this voice for hours on end. I gave it a bit longer just to be fair but I just could not continue. Narrators make choices and unfortunately, I did not agree with any of them --not the voice, not the phrasing, not the pace--it all got in the way of the story.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful
So boring and confusing . The flowing words were lovely and Annette Benning's reading was perfect but there was no flow and the point and plot were fuzzy. Plus I am not comfortable reading about lesbians
What made the experience of listening to Mrs. Dalloway the most enjoyable?
Annette Bening has the vocal nuances that allow the listener to hear the consciousness of Clarissa in many registers, and also of Septimus and other characters. The result is a wonderful experience of hearing Woolf's voice/s.
Who was the most memorable character of Mrs. Dalloway and why?
Mrs Dalloway: one of the great characters Woolf created, perhaps the most sublime.
The reading was kind of flat. The story was boring and hard to get interested in.
While a fine actress, Ms Bening's performance here is lackluster. I was bored and wanted more narration of the story and less of her "dramatic" interpretation.
The story has been on my "to read" list for some time, and I will find time to read the book as I suspect I simply missed much of it.