I have never been a huge Virginia Woolf fan. I’m easily made impatient by the rambling, the fake effusiveness and the introspection and self obsession and internal dialogue that seems to plague so many of her characters. I lose concentration and lose interest, even when it comes to a work as brief as Mrs Dalloway’s Party.
Is it just me, or is it also difficult for others to hang onto a context amidst all the written rambling? Take, for example, page 50. A sentence begins “She had married Hubert..” on line 2, and that same sentence only concludes 23 lines later. 23 lines! I have no doubt that this is quality writing and that it is something that I would benefit from persevering with… however, life is too short and is already far too confusing so I’m not about to justify such indulgence any time soon.
However, this is precisely the type of writing that works brilliantly when read aloud, preferably by a professional – for example on a Radio 4 play. I listen to such introspective ramblings with far more understanding and tolerance and somehow the stories stay with me. It’s as if I need the voice to interpret and express the complex phrases. So, to assist those of us with less than perfect concentration, in my opinion, Virginia Woolf should always be read aloud!