Celebrating Mrs Dalloway

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Elaine Showalter in the Guardian makes an excellent case for celebrating today as Mrs Dalloway Day (or ‘Dallowday’).

Joyceans have their Bloomsday on June 16th, so why not make a thing of Mrs D. on June 13th (the likeliest date for the party, though Woolf is a bit vague about dates – and a few other things)?

So perhaps we should at least each go out and buy the flowers ourselves today, or maybe just meander on a stream of consciousness for a while. But any readers who are in London today might like to be reminded of the account I wrote several years ago of the day when Marion and I followed Mrs D’s steps from Great College Street to Old Bond Street, and then took up Septimus Smith’s trail from there to Regent’s Park.

Elaine Showalter does point out that retracing the steps of Leopold Bloom gives the pilgrim a very good reason to pop into several pubs along the way. Indeed, the  first known set of literary pilgrims to do the walk (including the poet Patrick Kavanagh and that terrific writer Flann O’Brien ) never made it round the whole circuit for reasons not unconnected with alcohol intake.

Mrs Dalloway offers fewer opportunities of this kind, but you can always pop into Fortnum and Mason for a cup of tea, or into Hatchards for a book.

I’m a long way from  London today, so shall celebrate instead by reading part of the novel. And trying to forgive V.W. for the harm she did to the reputation of Arnold Bennett.

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