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Virginia’s London Complex in Mrs. Dalloway

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Submitted By fanfei123
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Virginia’s London Complex in Mrs. Dalloway

Fang Yuling
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), an experimental novelist, critic and essayist of the 20th century, has been regarded as a major modernist writer, whose great contribution to the innovative techniques is undeniable. Susan squire once said: “Whether she thought it "the most beautiful place on the face of the earth" or "the very devil," to Virginia Woolf the city of London was the focus for an intense, often ambivalent, lifelong scrutiny.” (488) Ever since Woolf was born in London in 1882, not only did she make her home there for nearly all of her fifty-nine years-first in the narrow streets of Kensington and then in the spacious square of Bloomsbury-but she found it a powerfully evocative figure in the literary tradition within which she wrote.
In her novel Mrs. Dalloway, we can clearly see that Woolf elaborately arranges Clarissa Dalloway’s one-day life in the City of London. By a simple description of Mrs. Dalloway’s buying flower for an evening party, the reader has been actually taken around London, a city etched in Woolf’s memory. Woolf makes repeated mention of the landmarks or detailed street names in the City of London such as Oxford Street, Bond Street, the Regent’s Park, St. James Street, the Abbey, and the Big Ben, which are all quite familiar to readers. This article is attempting to, under the guidance of the cultural symbol of London itself and several major landmarks in the novel, figure out Woolf's complicated and contradictory complex about London and its demonstration in terms of the artistic expression. Keywords: Virginia Woolf/ Mr. Dalloway/ London/ complex/ cultural signs/ British literature

Why would Woolf make Mrs. Dalloway walk around London again and again; why those places in particular, as one can easily find out that these places mysteriously coincide with her own...

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