Chasing Imaginary Footsteps

Virginia Woolf had three novels published in the nineteen-twenties where she honed the craft of stream of consciousness narration: Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927).


For Susan the link between the three works of fiction were the shoes worn by each protagonist, boots for Jacob Flanders, court shoes for Clarissa Dalloway and beach pumps for the Ramsay children.


Each piece of footwear contains items which represent the wearer.

The army boot tries to capture Jacob's short life from objects he gathered as a child, those which filled his room at university, his rooms near the British Museum, and finally the room in his mother's house which he left for the First World War.

The court shoes seems much brighter. After all, Mrs Dalloway is hosting a party and the War has ended. She sets off across the city to choose and buy flowers unknowingly crossing paths with a troubled war veteran. On her return she mends a torn party dress, receives a visit from an old beau, and prepares for the party which she views as a gift to her friends.

The child's beach shoe is filled with items owned or collected on holiday by the children.

Based on an Hebridean island, Virginia Woolf used her own experience of growing up for the book.

Mrs Ramsay takes on the Victorian role of the Angel in the house (Woolf's mother), the eight Ramsay children represent Woolf and her siblings, while Mr. Ramsay is shown as the patriarch, a role filled by Leslie Stephens, Virginia's father.

Below you can see some pages from my sketch/ideas book.

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