Listening to Mrs. Dalloway
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.
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