London Literary Locations: Mrs Dalloway

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 98 months ago
London Literary Locations: Mrs Dalloway
Westminster: "A suspense... before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air." (p. 2)
Westminster: "A suspense... before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air." (p. 2)
Bond Street: "Bond Street fascinated her; Bond Street early in the morning in the season; its flags flying; its shops; no splash; no glitter; one roll of tweed in the shop where her father had bought his suits for fifty years; a few pearls; salmon on an iceblock." (p. 8)
Bond Street: "Bond Street fascinated her; Bond Street early in the morning in the season; its flags flying; its shops; no splash; no glitter; one roll of tweed in the shop where her father had bought his suits for fifty years; a few pearls; salmon on an iceblock." (p. 8)
Dean's Yard, where Clarissa Dalloway lives: "It is this, [Richard Dalloway] said, as he entered Dean's Yard... Lunch parties waste the entire afternoon, he thought, approaching his door." (p. 103)
Dean's Yard, where Clarissa Dalloway lives: "It is this, [Richard Dalloway] said, as he entered Dean's Yard... Lunch parties waste the entire afternoon, he thought, approaching his door." (p. 103)
Green Park: "June had drawn out every leaf on the trees. The mothers of Pimlico gave suck to their young. Messages were passing from the Fleet to the Admiralty. Arlington Street and Piccadilly seemed to chafe the very air in the Park and lift its leaves hotly, brilliantly, on waves of that divine vitality which Clarissa loved." (p. 4)
Green Park: "June had drawn out every leaf on the trees. The mothers of Pimlico gave suck to their young. Messages were passing from the Fleet to the Admiralty. Arlington Street and Piccadilly seemed to chafe the very air in the Park and lift its leaves hotly, brilliantly, on waves of that divine vitality which Clarissa loved." (p. 4)
Hatchards booksellers: "But what was she dreaming as she looked into Hatchards' shop window?... Ever so many books there were; but none that seemed exactly right to take to Evelyn Whitbread in her nursing home." (p. 7)
Hatchards booksellers: "But what was she dreaming as she looked into Hatchards' shop window?... Ever so many books there were; but none that seemed exactly right to take to Evelyn Whitbread in her nursing home." (p. 7)
St James's Park: "But how strange, on entering the Park, the silence; the mist; the hum; the slow-swimming happy ducks; the pouched birds waddling;" (p. 3)
St James's Park: "But how strange, on entering the Park, the silence; the mist; the hum; the slow-swimming happy ducks; the pouched birds waddling;" (p. 3)
Piccadilly: "She stood for a moment, looking at the omnibuses in Piccadilly... She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone." (p. 6)
Piccadilly: "She stood for a moment, looking at the omnibuses in Piccadilly... She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone." (p. 6)
Regent's Park: "Lucrezia Warren Smith, sitting by her husband's side on a seat in Regent's Park in the Broad Walk, looked up... "I am going to walk to the fountains and back," she said." (p.18)
Regent's Park: "Lucrezia Warren Smith, sitting by her husband's side on a seat in Regent's Park in the Broad Walk, looked up... "I am going to walk to the fountains and back," she said." (p.18)
Buckingham Palace: "Victoria, billowing on her mound, admired her shelves of running water, her geraniums; singled out from the motor cars in the Mall." (p.15)
Buckingham Palace: "Victoria, billowing on her mound, admired her shelves of running water, her geraniums; singled out from the motor cars in the Mall." (p.15)
Whitehall: "Suddenly Elizabeth stepped forward and most competently boarded the omnibus, in front of everybody. She took a seat on top. The impetuous creature - a pirate - started forward, sprang away; she had to hold a rail to steady herself, for a pirate it was, reckless, unscrupulous, bearing down ruthlessly, circumventing dangerously, boldly snatching a passenger, or ignoring a passenger squeezing eel-like and arrogant in between, and then rushing insolently, all sails spread, up Whitehall." (p. 119)
Whitehall: "Suddenly Elizabeth stepped forward and most competently boarded the omnibus, in front of everybody. She took a seat on top. The impetuous creature - a pirate - started forward, sprang away; she had to hold a rail to steady herself, for a pirate it was, reckless, unscrupulous, bearing down ruthlessly, circumventing dangerously, boldly snatching a passenger, or ignoring a passenger squeezing eel-like and arrogant in between, and then rushing insolently, all sails spread, up Whitehall." (p. 119)

Inspired by your votes for the best London novel, we thought we'd take a few capital-set tomes down off our bookshelves and visit the places they talk about. First off is Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf's evocative story of one day in post-war London. The first few pages are as good as it gets when describing the city, so we thought we'd follow the route taken when "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself" - even if Clarissa did her journey in June and we made ours on a freezing March day - plus a few other spots.

(All page numbers refer to the Vintage Classics edition of Mrs Dalloway; images author's own.)

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Last Updated 09 March 2010