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Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Woolf$
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Ann Martin and Kathryn Holland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082624

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082624.001.0001

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Apollonian Illusion and Dionysian Truth in Mrs. Dalloway

Apollonian Illusion and Dionysian Truth in Mrs. Dalloway

(p.138) Apollonian Illusion and Dionysian Truth in Mrs. Dalloway
Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Woolf

Michael J. Horacki

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Apollonian and Dionysian principles in the underlying pattern of the Dalloways' social practices in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. In “Bad Religion: The Irrational in Mrs. Dalloway,” Amy Smith notes that, “[i]n describing Septimus, Woolf makes multiple references to archaic religious figures, including Dionysus,” and refers to Friedrich Nietzsche's characterization of the Dionysian to argue, “not only is Septimus a Dionysian figure, he is also a response to [the] modern situation of alienation from nature.” Although she convincingly relates Septimus and Dionysus to her examination of the irrational in Mrs. Dalloway, Smith stops short of discussing the relationship between Dionysian and Apollonian elements in the novel. The rest of this essay discusses the tension between Apollonian illusion and Dionysian truth in Mrs. Dalloway.

Keywords:   social practices, Mrs. Dalloway, Amy Smith, Dionysus, Friedrich Nietzsche, illusion, truth

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