Skip to main content

Exquisite Moments and the Temporality of the Kiss in Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours

  • 543 Accesses

Abstract

This chapter applies Eve Sedgwick’s concept of the “queer moment” to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to analyze a kiss between the title character and her childhood friend, Sally Seton. More than thirty years after it has occurred, Clarissa Dalloway still remembers this kiss as “the most exquisite moment of her whole life.” Using the work of queer theorists, this chapter argues that the kiss disrupts normative narratives of development, like the bildungsroman. The chapter moves from Mrs. Dalloway to Michael Cunningham’s reenvisioning of this kiss in The Hours. Cunningham’s text is filled with queer kisses, all of which present strange and complicated temporalities. Together these two texts offer a way to consider the kiss as a “queer moment” with the possibility to disrupt narrative continuity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-17301-2_2
  • Chapter length: 36 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-17301-2
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  • Abel, Elizabeth. 1983. Narrative Structure(s) and Female Development: The Case of Mrs. Dalloway. In The Voyage In: Fictions of Female Development, ed. Elizabeth Abel, Marianne Hirsch, and Elizabeth Langland, 161–185. Hanover: University Press of New England.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1996. Virginia Woolf and the Fictions of Psychoanalysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Abraham, Julie. 1996. Are Girls Necessary: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barber, Stephen M., and David L. Clark (eds.). 2002. Introduction: Queer Moments: The Performative Temporalities of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. In Regarding Sedgwick: Essays on Queer Culture and Critical Theory, 1–56. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bennett, Arnold. 1975. Article in Evening Standard. In Virginia Woolf: The Critical Heritage, ed. Robin Majumdar and Allen McLaurin, 189–190. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boone, Joseph Allen. 1998. Libidinal Currents: Sexuality and the Shaping of Modernism. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chatman, Seymour. 2005. Mrs. Dalloway Progeny: The Hours as Second-Degree Narrative. In A Companion to Narrative Theory, ed. James Phelan and Peter J. Rabinowitz, 269–282. Malden: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clayton, Jay. 1987. Romantic Vision and the Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cunningham, Michael. 1998. The Hours. New York: Farrar.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dowling, David. 1991. Mrs. Dalloway: Mapping Streams of Consciousness. Boston: Twayne.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dubrow, Heather. 2006. The Interplay of Narrative and Lyric: Competition, Cooperation, and the Case of the Anticipatory Amalgam. Narrative 14 (3): 254–271.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • DuPlessis, Rachel Blau. 1998. Feminist Narrative in Virginia Woolf. Novel: A Forum on Fiction 21 (2–3): 323–330.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freeman, Elizabeth (ed.). 2007. Queer Temporality. Special Issue, GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies 13 (2–3).

    Google Scholar 

  • Friedman, Susan Stanford. 1989. Lyric Subversion of Narrative in Women’s Writing: Virginia Woolf and the Tyranny of Plot. In Reading Narrative, ed. James Phelan, 162–185. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Froula, Christine. 2002. Mrs. Dalloway’s Postwar Elegy: Women, War, and the Art of Mourning. Modernism/Modernity 9 (1): 125–163.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Grosz, Elizabeth (ed.). 1999. Becomings: Explorations in Time, Memory and Futures. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Halberstam, J. 2005. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Henke, Suzette A. 1981. Mrs. Dalloway: The Communion of Saints. In New Feminist Essays on Virginia Woolf, ed. Jane Marcus, 125–147. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hungerford, Edward A. 1957. My Tunneling Process: The Method of Mrs. Dalloway. Modern Fiction Studies 3: 164–167.

    Google Scholar 

  • Iannone, Carol. 2003. Woolf, Women, and ‘The Hours’. Commentary 115 (4): 50–53.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jagose, Annamarie. 2002. Inconsequence: Lesbian Representation and the Logic of Sexual Sequence. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Matson, Patricia. 1996. The Terror and the Ecstasy: The Textual Politics of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. In Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology and British Women Writers, ed. Kathy Mezei, 162–186. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Morgan, Monique. 2008. Narrative Means to Lyric Ends in Wordsworth’s Prelude. Narrative 16 (3): 298–330.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pearce, Richard. 1991. The Politics of Narration: James Joyce, William Faulkner, and Virginia Woolf. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Phelan, James. 2004a. Rhetorical Ethics and Lyric Narrative: Robert Frost’s ‘Home Burial’. Poetics Today 25: 627–652.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2004b. Toward a Rhetoric and Ethics of Lyric Narrative: The Case of ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place’. Frame 17: 27–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Povalyaeva, Natalia. 2004. The Issue of Self-Identification in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Cunningham’s The Hours. In Woolf Across Cultures, ed. Natalya Reinhold, 269–276. New York: Pace University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Randall, Bryony. 2007. Modernism, Daily Time, and Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Raphael, Linda S. 2001. Narrative Skepticism, Moral Agency and Representations of Consciousness in Fiction. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. 1993. Tendencies. Durham: Duke University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Showalter, Elaine. 1994. Mrs. Dalloway. In Virginia Woolf: Introductions to the Major Works, ed. Julia Briggs, 125–156. London: Virago.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spengler, Birgit. 2004. Michael Cunningham Rewriting Virginia Woolf: Pragmatist vs. Modernist Aesthetics. Woolf Studies Annual 10: 51–79.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stockton, Kathryn Bond. 2004. Growing Sideways, or Versions of the Queer Child: The Ghost, the Homosexual, the Freudian, the Innocent, and the Interval of Animal. In Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children, ed. Steven Bruhm and Natasha Hurley, 277–316. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • The Hours. 2002. Dir. Stephen Daldry. Perf. Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep. Paramount, Film.

    Google Scholar 

  • Transue, Pamela J. 1986. Virginia Woolf and the Politics of Style. Albany: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Winning, Joanne. 2000. The Pilgrimage of Dorothy Richardson. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Woolf, Virginia. 1925. Mrs. Dalloway. San Diego: Harcourt. Reprint 1981.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Haffey, K. (2019). Exquisite Moments and the Temporality of the Kiss in Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours. In: Literary Modernism, Queer Temporality. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-17301-2_2

Download citation