Mapping Mrs. Dalloway
Mrs. Dalloway is a novel that moves through the streets of London. The city becomes a central character in modernist texts, forcing characters and objects to move along its streets and parks, creating a visual space in which both chaos and order find a plane on which to co-exist. London drives Mrs. Dalloway, bringing characters together on a street corner or a bench, using technology to create the sense of a unified consciousness, and portraying the alienation of the individual in the crowd. Through Clarissa's steps, the reader is able to witness many social, cultural, and even political conditions of early 20th century London: the rise of technology and consumer culture, male/female interactions, post-traumatic-stress disorder, the rise of psychiatry, and, perhaps most significantly, the everyday activities and conversations of city-dwellers.
In mapping Mrs. Dalloway, we notice, as the map below shows, how the forces of the modern city have helped shape the modernist novel.
View Mrs. Dalloway in a larger map The next map consists of two places, two settings, outside of London. Bourton becomes the anti-city, a space where Clarissa automatically turns to at the beginning of the novel, and a place which still preserves her memories of youth. Both Sally Seton's home in Manchester and Bourton, represent "other-worlds," the spaces outside of the city which hold different memories and passions for Clarissa. These spaces enable Clarissa to mentally remove herself from London, traveling back in time to the spaces of her youth.
View Mrs. Dalloway in a larger map