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Approaches to Teaching Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway

Editor(s): Eileen Barrett and Ruth O. Saxton

Pages: vii & 167 pp.
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781603290593 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781603290586 (cloth)

"Whether teaching the novel for the first or twentieth time, whether in an undergraduate survey course or a doctoral seminar on Virginia Woolf, teachers will be thrilled to have such interesting and above all accessible approaches as they explore the novel with their students."
Kristin Czarnecki, Virginia Woolf Miscellany

"This Approaches volume will be invaluable: it is rich in accessible resources, alert to the eclecticism of approaches to teaching fiction, rooted in the practical world of the classroom, and it consistently informs its suggestions with the point of view of student responses."
Mark Hussey, Pace University



Mrs. Dalloway is considered a central work in Virginia Woolf’s oeuvre and in the modernist canon. It not only addresses historical and cultural issues such as war, colonialism, class, politics, marriage, sexuality, and psychology but also reimagines the novel form. Moreover, Mrs. Dalloway continues to grow in its influence and visibility, inspiring adaptations in film, theater, print, and other media.

Despite Mrs. Dalloway’s continued popularity, many students today find the prose daunting and a barrier to their appreciation and comprehension of the novel. This volume seeks to give instructors a variety of strategies for making Woolf’s work compelling and accessible to students while addressing the diverse ways it has been interpreted. Part 1, “Materials,” reviews editions of Mrs. Dalloway as well as critical and historical resources related to the novel. Part 2, “Approaches,” explores the task of contextualizing this key modernist text in the classroom. Some contributors situate Mrs. Dalloway in its historical time and place, namely, London in the period between the two world wars. Others discuss the novel’s narrative form or interpret it using perspectives from cultural studies, feminism, or queer theory. Still others address the novel’s relation to poems, films, and Victorian novels. Finally, a group of essays discusses the challenges and rewards of teaching the novel in settings both traditional and nontraditional, from a college classroom to a prison.

Contributors
Meg Albrinck
Marlene A. Briggs
Marcia Day Childress
Beth Rigel Daugherty
Madelyn Detloff
Martha Greene Eads
Anne E. Fernald
Leslie Kathleen Hankins
David Leon Higdon
Ruth Hoberman
James F. Knapp
Antonia Losano
Karen McLeer
Margot Norris
Mary Beth Pringle
Lecia Rosenthal
Victoria Rosner
Judith Seaboyer
Christine W. Sizemore
Nick Smart

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