Experienced Time in Mrs. Dalloway in Light of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology

Abstract

The novel Mrs. Dalloway, written by English writer Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), is a landmark in universal literature for presenting a new format in the art of writing named Stream of Consciousness. This stylistic form aims to describe the speeches and thoughts of the characters through free indirect speech, integrated to the narrator’s lecture. The novel takes place in a single day of the life of the protagonist Clarissa Dalloway, capturing the minute details of what she experiences. Among the phenomena experienced we find the notion of time, whereby the narrator mixes the past, present, and future flux into one envelope. This article thus discusses the experience of time in this literary work based on a phenomenological discussion. We conducted a review of the literature including authors that contributed to the development of the notion of experienced time in phenomenology. In the flow of time lie meanings of the experiences of characters in their ambiguous contact with the world. We conclude that the descriptions elaborated by Virginia Woolf allow for an approximation to the experience of time that crosses the totality of the dimension of being.

Keywords:
Phenomenology; Experienced Time; Mrs. Dalloway; Virginia Woolf; Merleau-Ponty

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