Dalloway

In: English and Literature

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Treatment of time in Mrs Dalloway.

In 1925 Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway was published. Virginia Woolf wrote Mrs Dalloway about the perambulations of a middle aged woman on a sunny June day in London, and it became one of the main Modernist classics. One of the most prominent themes in Mrs Dalloway is time and the distinction between two types of time. The clock measures time, but on the other hand time is represented by the duration of experiences as the human consciousness registers them. The time told by the timepiece of the mind is called psychological time, a term taken from the philosopher Henri Bergson. There are two different types of time: the time the clock tells and time in the human mind. These two types of time have distinct characteristics, which clearly separate one from the other. Clock time governs the relentless progress of life, ordering events in a chronological, linear sequence according to when they happened in time. It is what history is made of. Minutes, hours, days, weeks, years and centuries are all indicators of clock time. The other type of time is the temporal experience in the human mind: it is flexible; it is constantly in flux and can be compressed or extended. A period that is compressed in the mind seems to pass very quickly in comparison to clock time: an event took more clock time than the human mind perceived. When time is extended, the actual time span of an event was much shorter that experienced. Time on the mind is also referred to as psychological time by thinkers such as the French philosopher Henri Bergson.

Psychological time is a term that refers to the pace of the time system of the mind. It is a concept that arose out of the tendency of twentieth century psychology and philosophy to explore the human consciousness. The modern interest in the human mind resulted in new methods of…...

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