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Woolf's AmbiguitiesTonal Modernism, Narrative Strategy, Feminist Precursors$
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Molly Hite

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501714450

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501714450.001.0001

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Woolf’s Tone

Woolf’s Tone

Listening to Mrs. Dalloway

(p.1) Chapter 1 Woolf’s Tone
Woolf's Ambiguities

Molly Hite

Cornell University Press

This chapter introduces the idea of tonal cues and considers how they work to guide readers’ affective responses—or are muted, contradictory or simply absent--in what is perhaps Woolf’s best-known novel, Mrs. Dalloway. Contrasting examples come from other canonical modernist literary works and from the fiction of Elizabeth Robins, the feminist precursor on whom this study focuses. The discussion emphasizes how tonal ambiguity in Mrs. Dalloway complicates readers’ understanding of and value judgments about the climax as well as individual characters.

Keywords:   Mrs. Dalloway, tonal cues, affect, ambiguity, Elizabeth Robins, modernism

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