Monday, November 21, 2011

Sport and fashion

Heretofore, the best and most thorough set of footnotes to an edition of Mrs. Dalloway is, without a doubt, the Oxford paperback. I am grateful to it, have profited often from the editor’s insights, and hope that my work is a worthy successor to his. I’m particularly grateful for all the notes about the game of cricket. However, his priorities strike me forcibly in light of Woolf’s comment about cultural priorities surrounding sports and fashion in A Room of One’s Own:
Speaking crudely, football and sport and ‘important’; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes ‘trivial.’ And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room. (128)
So, my edition of Mrs. Dalloway will include footnotes on cricket, sure. It will also be the first edition to elaborate on the meaning of “court dress,” Lady Bradshaw’s attire in the portrait that hangs in Dr. Bradshaw’s office.

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