Jenny Offill on the Shocks of Recognition in Mrs. Dalloway

January 6, 2021

At the New Yorker, Jenny Offill writes about the multitudes found within her favorite book, Virginia Woolf‘s Mrs. Dalloway. “In 1916, Virginia Woolf wrote about a peculiarity that runs through all real works of art,” Offill writes. “The books of certain writers (she was speaking of Charlotte Brontë at the time) seem to shape-shift with each reading. […] For me, Mrs. Dalloway is such a book, one to which I have mapped the twists and turns of my own autobiography over the years. Each time, I have found shocks of recognition on the page, but they are always new ones, never the ones I was remembering. Instead, some forgotten facet of the story comes to light, and the feeling is always that of having blurred past something that was right in front of me.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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