I was really excited when my dean allowed me to reactivate our old Literature & Film course. This class had not been taught in a number of years, the professor who had taught it left before I got here, and my dean was very happy to see someone interested in teaching it again.
My introduction to Mrs. Dalloway came in the course that inspired me to want to teach this class. I was first introduced to Mrs. Dalloway in Dr. Scott Rettberg’s From Books To Movies back at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2004. I knew Woolf previously from reading Orlando, but I fell in love with her after reading about Clarissa Dalloway’s day. I knew I had to have Mrs. Dalloway on the book list for my course.
The way the course ended up running, we watched each film and discussed it as we watched. This ended up as something between serious literary/cinematic discussion and a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Watching the film took about one and a half class sessions, and then we spent two full class sessions discussing the novel. We even had one of my colleagues, Erika Baldt, sit in on one of the sessions (which is something I want to do more of in the future).
My students came up with some interesting topics for papers and we had a great time discussing one of my favorite, if not favorite, novels. Our discussions of the move from the novel to film offered students a chance to discuss their excellent reactions to the film.
Some of these included:
- The lack of connection between Clarissa and Septimus
- A general sense of relief at Sally and Clarissa’s relationship (especially the kiss) not being overplayed
- An acknowledgement that this is a very hard novel to adapt, which led to one of our best discussions of what should be in a good adaptation. This eventually became the theme for our final panel presentations at the end of the term.
- Most students liked the way some of Clarissa’s monologue was brought into the film via dialogue.
- A lot of criticism of the underplaying of class issues
- Mrs Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence. (emmatann.wordpress.com)
- Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (hercircleezine.com)
- Fernald on Woolf in Brooklyn (bloggingwoolf.wordpress.com)