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Virginia Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, and a Room of One’s Own

May 31-July 5, 2022
Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (six sessions)
online via Zoom


One of the most talented and prolific writers of her (or any) generation, Virginia Woolf published novels, short stories, plays, essays, reviews, a biography (of Roger Fry), and an impressionistic, vividly realized memoir. She is a central figure of modernism, admired for her innovative style and attention to craft.

In this seminar we will read two of Woolf’s characteristically experimental novels and the extended essay A Room of One’s Own. Mrs. Dalloway (1925), set in post-World War I England, depicts one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares to host a party. Woolf’s narration moves in and out of her characters’ minds and back and forth in time, telling the story of Clarissa’s life and following the web of connections between the family, friends, and strangers with whom her life intersects. The narrative engages with questions of sexuality, social change, and post-war trauma that continue to resonate today.

Jorge Luis Borges described Orlando (1928) as “Undoubtedly one of the most singular novels of our era.” Over the course of Woolf’s story, Orlando shifts between genders and centuries, experiencing history both as a young nobleman and a modern woman and challenging conventional notions of gender. Ground-breaking in its own day, Orlando is even more resonant today, as our understanding of sexuality and gender continues to evolve.

In A Room of One’s Own (1929) Woolf argues for women’s intellectual freedom and against the social injustices that constrain female creativity and opportunity. Looking closely at women as both writers of and characters in fiction, Woolf explores the challenges posed to women by a patriarchal literary tradition.

In this Delve we will discuss, among other things, Woolf’s innovative style, her impact on modernism and the novel, and her progressive approach to social issues in both her fiction and non-fiction.

Texts (Mariner Books editions)

Mrs Dalloway


A Room of One’s Own

Schedule of Readings

Week One (May 31): Mrs. Dalloway, pp. 3-102
Week Two (June 7): Mrs. Dalloway, pp. 103-end
Week Three (June 14): Orlando, pp. 1-96 (Preface & Chapters 1-3)
Week Four (June 21): Orlando, pp. 97-end (Chapters 4-6)
Week Five (June 28): A Room of One’s Own, pp. 3-57 (Chapters1-3)
Week Six (July 5): A Room of One’s Own, pp. 58-end (Chapters 4-6)

Access Program
We want our writing classes to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers Delve and writing class registrations at a reduced rate. The access program for Delve and writing classes covers 60% of the class tuition. Most writing classes have at least one access spot available.

Please apply here for access rate tuition. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you have questions.



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Virginia Woolf
$ 250.00
5 available

Sara Atwood

Sara Atwood teaches English literature and writing at Portland Community College and Portland State University. She is Co-Director of the Ruskin Society of North America and has lectured widely, both in the US and abroad, on John Ruskin, education, the environment, and language. Her work has been published in Nineteenth-Century Prose, The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, and Carlyle Studies Annual. She is the author of Ruskin’s Educational Ideals and has contributed essays to a number of books, including Teaching Victorian Literature in the Twenty-First Century, John Ruskin and Nineteenth-Century Education, William Morris and John Ruskin, and Victorian Environmental Nightmares.
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