To the Lighthouse eBook Ø To the Kindle -

To the Lighthouse eBook Ø To the Kindle -


10 thoughts on “To the Lighthouse

  1. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    It's a problem dear VirginiaThey like stuff that's much linearI know your teeth you will gritBut you have to admitYou may be hot but there's not a lot of plot that you gotFive pages about rain on a distant steepleIs five too many for most of the British peopleThey moan about Mrs DallowayIn such a very callow wayInstead of your OrlandoThey prefer something blandoThey'd rather go to ravesThan have to read The WavesAnd no one's read The YearsIn years and years and yearsWell i know it's prostitutionBut here is my solutionBecause the horror being unreadIs worse than being undeadIf a Ramsay had gone to the lighthouseTo have a bit of sexOr if one of the younger striplingsHad had some rippling pecsOn which you used your vocabularyAnd got a visit from the constabularyAnd was found to be obscene and dementedAnd they found out what the lighthouse representedWell then you would not now languishIn postmorten anguishAnd though you'd never have a prayerOf outselling Stephanie MeyerStill your books would be devouredDelightfully defloweredAnd though never to be milfWoolf would become wilf


  2. Stephen M Stephen M says:

    I’ve never dwelt over a set of 200 bound pages with as much joy and relish as I have with To the Lighthouse I can say without reservation that this is some of the most incredible writing I’ve ever come across and I’m absolutely baffled as to how Woolf pulled it off So much of the prose was redolent of an abstract surrealist film such were the clarity and preciseness of its images At a certain point Woolf describes an idea entering a character’s mind as a drop of ink diffusing in a beaker of water I left several exclamation points and expressions of pure joy among the marginalia of my copy I have never experienced such a strange brew of images and ideas that whirl around mere words of a novel all of which has incited such excitement in me as if some beautiful and aching aspect of human experience has been solidified on paper that will never be as perfect as it is here This book bounces back and forth between philosophy psychology and fictionalized story telling in such an interweaving of narrative and personal reflection that it may be difficult to discern who is thinking what and which thoughts are the result of whom This is especially predominant in the opening section when Woolf just shoves you into the churning waters of her prose and doesn’t throw you a life raft until 45 pages in The is intentional however because the book is preoccupied with consciousness at its most mercurial If at any time the prose is lucid and clear it is sure to take a turn for the chaotic within a few pages There is so much attention given to each individual’s neuroses and preoccupations that they are often magnified beyond your typical day to day worries The sights are bright and irritating; the sounds are cacophonous; and the emotional cues between each character the ones that are often subtle and implicit in everyday interaction are rendered as if each character holds eual parts pure malice and enthralling love that threatens to burst open at any second I thought about highly sensitive people; I thought of those with autism that experience overwhelming intensity from their sensual perception I thought of all of those that are under bombardment from the outer world tingling in its euphoric highs and devastating lows For some it may seem as though Woolf overly dramatizes experience but what she really does is puts her character through life at its most intense and acute The lives of the characters are so rich in emotion that dipping into their world for mere pages at a time is like taking a giant bump of the pure stuff getting tweaked on all the unbelievable wonder that is conscious experience I thought of Jeff Mangum’s infamous lyric how strange it is to be anything at allI was fortunate enough to have already read The Waves—a book uite similar in its themes and images—in a classroom setting with a brilliant professor It allowed me a way into Lighthouse that I might not have had otherwise If it wasn’t for this frame of reading I may have been a little too overwhelmed by the non stop poetic bombardment So I will say that my previous experience with Woolf helped tremendously I have no doubt that anyone who would pick up this book would be blown away by it but without certain peruisites it could be a book to throw across the room out of bewilderment It can be tough It can be verbose But it is undoubtably one of the best books I’ve read this yearDuring her time as a writer Woolf was uite invested in the scientific theories of her day There are apparently a lot of her own personal writing that spoke highly of her research into the area and all of the scientific advances being made at the turn of the century a time heralded by the legendary Charles Darwin Woolf’s focus wasn’t necessarily on natural selection—although its influence is present—but on the theories and writings surrounding thermodynamics Although I’m woefully unualified to talk about the finer points of thermodynamics what’s important for reading Woolf is the idea of the conservation of energy over the fact that matter is never lost It is continually recycled and that all of our world is a constant fluctuation of heat and matter moving in and out of different systems—including that oh so special system called human beings Although ostensibly our experience of the world tells us that we are one solidified unit of matter always held together in the perfected feeling of selfness and oneness that is our day to day life the truth couldn’t be any further from that Woolf seemed particularly haunted by the idea that what seemed to be a solidified conscious experience was actually a continual fluctuation of matter on a physical level and the conseuential thoughts worries and sensual bombardment on the experiential level These new ideas destabilized previous notions about our awareness of the world as the absolute avenue to truth and the reality of this world Thus it is in this tension that the characters of To the Lighthouse find themselves in They are obsessed with creating still images out of the cacophony of a thermodynamic universe trying to cling to old notions of a person still being that solidified center of the world A character will revel in the beauty and wonderment of a single moment only to have it slip away from them and be washed away in the tumultuous seas of conscious experience Although our minds create perfected still images out of the constant transformation of matter around these still images skip away into the past before they can be fully grasped fully made whole “With her foot on the threshold she waited a moment longer in a scene which was vanishing even as she looked and then as she moved and took Minta’s arm and left the room it changed shaped itself differently; it had become she knew giving one last look at it over her shoulder already the past”But than any lofty philosophical or scientific conceits this book is achingly beautiful Never for a moment does the specifics of the scientific theory engulf the work Instead it remains above the surface leaving its impact upon you emotionally The book is wrought with beautiful feeling and what could possibly make this better than the work of Joyce for example is that it never leaves one with a cold intellectual shoulder or the folded arm distance of an extravagant feat of technical writing skill Woolf goes for the gutAnd even if you are completed uninterested in the finer points of Woolf’s overall conceit you can still appreciate the beauty of the titular image—the lighthouse I was particularly moved by all of Woolf’s images of water as a stand in for conscious experience in all its tumultuous churning; and the fact that a lighthouse is the tall solidified object which brings ships lost at sea back to solid ground; and the fact that this lighthouse is what the characters hang all their hopes and desires upon; and the fact that we the reader must sail through all that thick prose to get to the promised reward at the endThe lighthouse for there it was


  3. Jim Fonseca Jim Fonseca says:

    I think this book is Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece not The Waves as some critics say What is it about? It’s about life The first half is about two days of life; the second half set ten years later is largely about death In the Intro by Eudora Welty she says that in the novel “reality looms” but “Love indeed pervades the whole novel” The lighthouse of the book is Godrevy near St Ives in Cornwall where the author actually summered The main character is a beautiful woman “in full” her eight children and husband and guests gathered around her at a summer vacation cottage Fifteen people in all at dinner one a scholar friend of her husband who is in love with her plus cook and maids At the dinner she worries “Nothing seems to have merged They all sat separate And the whole of the effort of merging and flowing and creating rested on her” She’s hosts a successful dinner despite numerous minor aggravations and interruptions by the cooks and problem with the food The meal is her masterpiece the epitome of her happiness She delights in matchmaking Her husband an academic is withdrawn conceited stingy in his praise of the children He holds it over their heads about how the weather will be bad so they won’t be able to take a boat trip to the lighthouse He’s concerned with how the future will view his academic work than he is with the present Yet with everyone else to take it out on he seems happier than his wife “Less exposed to human worriesHe always had his work to fall back on” Some passages I liked At the dinner a young woman learns about her ‘golden haze’ “Sometimes she had it; sometimes not She never knew why it came or why it went or if she had it until she came into the room and then she knew instantly by the way some man looked at her”“What was the meaning of life? That was all – a simple uestion; one that tended to close in on one with years The great revelation had never come The great revelation perhaps never did come” “ no she thought one could say nothing to nobody The urgency of the moment always missed its mark Words fluttered sideways and struck the object too low”There is an ungainly female friend who paints She smarts from a remark by a male friend “Women can’t write women can’t paint” After several repetitions of this in her mind in the book by the end of the novel she is adding “not so much that he believed it as that for some odd reason he wished it?” What author ever asked this uestion below before? “How then did it work out all of this? How did one judge people think of them? How did one add up this and that and conclude that it was liking one felt or disliking? And to those words what meaning attached after all?”A beautiful classic of course I read this years ago when I was too young to appreciate it I’m adding it to my favorites top photo Godrevy lighthouse; view from St Ives Cornwall from geographorgukbottom Talland House St Ives Woolf's vacation home as a child from Wikipedia


  4. s.penkevich s.penkevich says:

    The lighthouse is out there it's eye caressing our struggles with cold indifference We can beat against the tides in pursuit but will we ever reach it? Does it even matter and is it even attainable? If we only look to that spot on the horizon we miss the love around us miss those gasping for our love and friendship miss the callouses born in dedicated strife rowing us towards the end Like in all things it is the journey that matters not the destination Futility can be beautiful especially when we don't give up on plunging our oars against it and making our place in a world destined to end in a flash‘ for it was not knowledge but unity that she desired not inscriptions on tablets nothing that could be written in any language known to men but intimacy itself which is knowledge’To enter within the pages of Woolf’s 1927 masterpiece To the Lighthouse is to dive headlong into a maelstrom of vivid perspectives and flawless prose Few authors are able to achieve the vast scope of human emotions and frustrations as of this novel let alone accomplish such a task in the mere 209pgs Woolf offers Flowing to the breezy soundtrack of waves breaking upon the shoreline To the Lighthouse investigates the frailties of life and human relationships in breathtaking prose through the minds and hearts of Woolf’s characters as they struggle to affect a state of permanence within an ever changing ephemeral existenceReading Woolf is like reading an extended prose poem Each word shimmers from the page as every sentence illuminates the deep caverns of the heart She accentuates her themes through carefully chosen imagery and metaphors or constantly alluding to the passage of time themes through metaphors of fraying draperies and aging furniture and keeping the focus on the island setting through descriptions such as ‘ bitter waves of despair’ The notion of each person as an island plays a major role in the novel The waves continuously crash on shore much like the collision of characters as they interact and attempt to understand one another These repetitions of ideas and symbols are used through this novel as a method of reinforcing them Similarly the characters often repeat their own beliefs much like a mantra to help reassure themselves of who they areWoolf effectively utilizes her own stream of consciousness style to tell her story examining each characters uniue perspectives and feelings of one another that culminate to form a tragically beautiful portrait of the human condition Unlike the stream of consciousness techniue employed by others such as James Joyce or William Faulkner Woolf retains a consistence prose style being an observer of the inner workings of each character instead of melding with their consciousness and writing in their own words While this may seem a cop out to some it felt actually beneficial to the structure of this novel such as allowing Woolf to seamlessly transition from character to character This also was in keeping with the ‘person as an island’ theme since we could only observe through an authorial perspective and never truly know commune with the character leaving the reader as just another wave crashing upon the shoreline of their consciousness Late in the novel Lily ponders over the power of narrating what one thinks a person is like as a method of understanding them ‘ this making up scenes about them is what we call “knowing” people “thinking” of them “being fond” of them’ There are several metafictional moments such as this within the novel that justify Woolf’s stylistic choices Woolf’s decision to maintain a constant narration makes the book ‘about’ perspectives instead of ‘constructed out of’ perspectivesHuman interaction is the crux of this novel and also one of its saddest messages These characters interact daily and are under the constant scrutiny of one another yet try as they might they can never truly understand each other ‘ She would never know him He would never know her Human relations were all like that she thought and the worst were between men and women’ They all try to leave their impressions upon one another but at the end of the day are still only left with their perspective and opinion of the others instead of the unity and knowledge of who their contemporaries truly are inside and what motivates their actions They are forever separated by the fact that souls cannot ever meld and become one The real tragedy is that these characters while desiring to understand and be understood often than not hurt one another often due to fear and insecurity through their attempts of reaching into the others soul Mr Ramsey while being exceptionally needy of praise and security keeps his family at arms length through his neediness while resenting them and wishing they would leave him be ‘ he would have written better books if he had not married’ These characters reach out to one another as if to a life raft they need something to cling to and bind them with the present Each character in their own way be it Mr Ramsey’s philosophy Mr Carmichael’s poetry Lily’s paintings or Mrs Ramsey’s guiding hand attempt to leave their permanent scar on the face of eternity Mrs Ramsey in particular fears death and the unstoppable change that pushes us forward towards the grave ‘ A scene that was vanishing even as she lookedit shaped itself differently; it had become she knew giving one last look at it over her shoulder already the past’ She watches in horror as time slips by firmly believing nothing good can come with the future and goes so far as to cover up Deaths bleak head in the form of a boars skull that hangs on her children’s walls ‘ With her mind she had already seized the fact that there is no reason order justice but suffering death the poor There was no treachery too base fir the world to commit No happiness lasted’ No matter what time will pass us all by like the lighthouse beam illuminating us and calling us up from the dark for one brief moment and then passing on again to leave us formless in the dark If is fitting given the fears of death and time passing that death comes in this novel swiftly and suddenly There is no telling when the beam of life will be gone no preparations can be made and we must deal with it Such is existence These fears can only be subsided our lives given meaning if we can reach each other understand and love each other thereby existing forever in memory and framed by love in the hearts of those we knewThis novel takes much inspiration from Woolf’s own life Mr and Mrs Ramsey being based on Virginia’s own parents making this an elegy to her own mother as well as an elegy to Mrs R and doubly serves as a cutting commentary on the literary world in which Woolf was immersed Woolf set out to oppose the obdurate male society that dominated the literary scene Tansley’s words to Lily of ‘ women can’t paint women can’t write’ echoing a stereotype that Woolf would have had to combat her whole life Woolf combats the patriarchy through this novel creating a sleek short masterpiece as opposed to the behemoth but eually amazing Ulysses filled with attacks on the ‘ masculine intelligence’ and making parody of the male opinions on women Often the reader is given the opinion though a male perspective that ‘ women made civilization impossible with all their “charm” all their “silliness”’ yet these same men crave the attention and affection of Mrs Ramsey – they fly into an anxious fit without the reassurance of the women They spend their time thinking lofty thoughts but it is the women that keep order Mrs Ramsey despises such masculine activities as hunting and is the head of the household and the keeper of peace yet she still reads as a bit of a cautionary tale She still succumbs to the gender roles expected of her such as being submissive to Mr Ramsey and playing matchmaker – although this serves as her attempt to maintain control over life than actually falling into stereotypes Lily is therefor given as the ideal the one who can press on despite naysayers like Tansley be a self sustaining ambitious woman that keeps an understanding and open heart and painting those around her into eternity through her perseverance This was without a doubt one of the finest novels I have ever read Woolf offers pages after page of incredible poetry never letting up for an instant It takes a bit to get your footing as she drops the reader right into the scene without any exposition but once you have found your bearings your heart will swell with each flawless word The middle section of the novel the brief 20pgs of ‘Time Passes’ may be one of the most enduring and extraordinary displays of writing I have ever seen This novel will force the reader to face the bleak truths of change and death along with the characters yet offer a glimmer of hope through unity and love that is sure to strike a chord in even the coldest of hearts all the while being a stunning anthem of feminism This is a novel to read and read again and again as you witness your own present and future fade into the past55‘ Of such moments she thought the thing is made that endures’This novel came highly recommended to me through two trusted friends whose reviews I would like to share with you here and hereBut don’t just take our word for it because this is one that should not be missed


  5. Lisa Lisa says:

    When I first read this novel I was like young James Ramsay eagerly hoping to get To The Lighthouse Grown ups literary experts that is had sent just as mixed messages as Mr and Mrs Ramsay to me and I hoped so much for the adventure of an iconic reading experience that it didn't happen I could acknowledge all the rational reasons for calling it a masterpiece but it did not cause me to even raise an eyebrow I was a modern young woman what did I have to do with the subtext of a patriarchal family structure? What did I have to do with the self doubt of a female artist told by an idiot that women can't write can't paint Why would such a thing even stick in my head? It didn't Not back thenAnd then time passedLife happened I learned about families About attention seeking egos who dominate an environment so totally that any creative act stops automatically I learned about the disruption that is a mother's natural state of being How can anyone paint or write if there are no two consecutive moments without interruption? I learned to long for the lighthouse without knowing itAnd then I had another go at reading it uite by accident because I had spare time in a boring place and a copy of the book happened to be on the tableIt hit me like the flash of a lightningThis is a novel that you have to grow into but when you do it shines brightly in the dark waters and soothes the nerves of a grown up woman who has unfortunately learned what it means to hear the echo can't write can't paint who has learned to feel the presence of patriarchal attention and who has learned to know its effect on the surrounding It soothes the nerves of a woman who feels the pressure to be nice Powerful Lily Briscoe sums it up in the endHis immense self pity his demand for sympathy poured and spread itself in pools at their feet and all she did miserable sinner that she was was to draw her skirts a little closer round her ankles lest she should get wetIt's about focusing on moving the tree to the middle of the painting It's about creating one's own life regardless of whether it ends up not being important to anyone but oneself It's about daring not to be niceIt's not about reaching the Lighthouse It's about allowing oneself to see it shine in the distance


  6. Charlotte May Charlotte May says:

    I’m sorryI just don’t get it?This book has numerous five star reviews and while I understand it isn’t plot driven the characters are so vague? They all kind of blur together so I never really knew who was speakingthinking and when So many thoughts flying around and I just didn’t see the point in them I guess I just don’t have the mind reuired to appreciate whatever it is I am supposed to appreciate in this book If someone would like to tell me what it is I missed that would be helpful because I am just lost


  7. Kenny Kenny says:

    “He smiled the most exuisite smile veiled by memory tinged by dreams” Virginia Woolf To The LighthouseTo The Lighthouse was my first exposure to Virginia Woolf I was working on a production of Edward Albee's Whose Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and I thought I should read something by Woolf For no particular reason I chose To The Lighthouse I remember enjoying it being fascinated by it but not really understanding what I'd read How could I have missed the brilliance and artistry of To The Lighthouse on my first read? How could I have been so blind? Sadly I could not see how Woolf shows us that time changes everything and importantly changes nothing I had read Dickens Twain the Brontes Austen Porter and Dostoyevsky and reveled in their insights on the human condition Why then was I so blind to what Woolf had to offer? As I look back on this first reading I was probably too young and obviously too stupid to comprehend To The LighthouseYears later I became a huge fan of Woolf In fact I've been on Woolf binge the last two years but never found my way back to To The Lighthouse Fast forward to 2019 My friend Srđan was reading To The Lighthouse; his excitement was contagious so I decided to revisit To The Lighthouse I'm so glad I did Revisiting this book was a revelation She had known happiness exuisite happiness intense happiness and it silvered the rough waves a little brightly as daylight faded and the blue went out of the sea and it rolled in waves of pure lemon which curved and swelled and broke upon the beach and the ecstasy burst in her eyes and waves of pure delight raced over at the floor of her mind and she felt It is enough It is enough Virginia Woolf To the LighthouseWhat words would best describe To The Lighthouse exuisite impressionistic simple and most of all luminous The prose cradles and rocks the reader just like the sea that surrounds the Ramsay family Woolf saw To The Lighthouse as a reuiem to her parents and her childhood The themes here are marriage childhood parentage reminiscence and grief all themes familiar to WoolfTo The Lighthouse is a portrait of a family's holiday in the years before and after World War I Mrs Ramsay is at the center of this world a wife mother to eight children the hostess to the guests who fill the holiday home in the Hebrides where an expedition to the lighthouse may or may not happen Mrs Ramsay's spirit permeates every page of To The Lighthouse no easy feat considering the events that take placeAgain Woolf uses her stream of consciousness and multiple perspectives techniue This allows the reader a feeling of living in the pages of To The Lighthouse creating a very intimate experience for the reader To The Lighthouse is divided into three sections The Window Time Passes and The Lighthouse The first section portrays the tensions of her family's holiday the Ramsays have been joined by a group of friends and colleagues A planned journey to the fabled lighthouse lies at the center of section oneWe also meet painter Lily Briscoe early in the first section She is attempting to paint a picture of Mrs Ramsay and James but she is unsure of herself as an artist her confidence is shaken by Charles Tansley as he declares that women cannot write and cannot paint Lily or should we say Virginia will hear this thought echoing in her mind throughout the rest of her lifeThe second section To The Lighthouse is brilliant Time indeed does pass things have changed We learn what has happened to the Ramsay family over the past 10 years The house stands empty abandoned by the family these past 10 years for reasons you must discover on your own What fascinates me most about Time Passes is how the house becomes a character in its own right the house is a living thingIn the final section of To The Lighthouse members of the Ramsay family and their guests from ten years earlier return to the house another trip to the lighthouse is proposed We see the changes and importantly the lack of change that has taken place in the Ramsay family It is a fascinating view of both the Ramsay family and Lily Briscoe I find my review to be wanting This review none of our reviews can sum up what an extraordinary experience reading To The Lighthouse is To The Lighthouse is a captivating fascinating thought provoking novel that sparks endless introspection and reflection with its many intriguing themes Thank you Srđan for helping me to rediscover such a brilliant piece of writing


  8. Vit Babenco Vit Babenco says:

    There are two bright autumnal days And thousands of dark nights in between Two days in lifeThe insincerity slipping in among the truths roused her annoyed her She returned to her knitting again How could any Lord have made this world? she asked With her mind she had always seized the fact that there is no reason order justice but suffering death the poor There was no treachery too base for the world to commit; she knew that No happiness lasted; she knew that To the Lighthouse is a story about futilityAt the far end was her husband sitting down all in a heap frowning What at? She did not know She did not mind She could not understand how she had ever felt any emotion or any affection for him She had a sense of being past everything through everything out of everything as she helped the soup as if there was an eddy – there – and one could be in it or one could be out of it and she was out of it It’s all come to an end she thought To the Lighthouse is a book about demolishing properties of timeAnd Shakespeare’s sonnet cited in the novel may serve as a kind of key to the entire idea of the story“Nor did I wonder at the lily’s whiteNor praise the deep vermilion in the roseThey were but sweet but figures of delightDrawn after you you pattern of all thoseYet seem’d it winter still and you awayAs with your shadow I with these did play”While living we just play with shadows And the play of shadows is all aroundWhat is the meaning of life? That was all – a simple uestion; one that tended to close in on one with years The great revelation had never come The great revelation perhaps never did come Instead there were little daily miracles illuminations matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one This that and the otherThe living is hard darkness falls but straight ahead there is a lighthouse and it keeps beckoning


  9. Fionnuala Fionnuala says:

    How many prejudices we carry through life even when we think ourselves to be incapable of bias I avoided reading Virginia Woolf for a very long time suspecting her and her privileged Bloomsbury friends of intellectual elitism and of believing themselves to somehow enshrine the essence of civilisation E M Forster escaped this embargo fortunatelyWhen I came across Charles Tansley the visiting working class academic who can’t seem to fit in to the Ramseys’ elegantly shabby lifestyle in the early pages of To the Lighthouse I immediately aligned myself with him I'll be on your side Charles I thought I wouldn't fit in with the Ramseys eitherBut soon like Tansley I fell under the spell of the beautiful Mrs Ramsey and under the spell of Woolf’s writing which is so uniue and inventive that I am thrilled to have finally discovered itI picked this book up because I came across a claim that Woolf having finished Ulysses felt that she could do better in a uarter the amount of pages Since I’d recently finished Ulysses myself I was curious about Woolf’s foolhardy challenge I expected to find myself reading her characters’ fragmentary thoughts realistically ordinary or eruditely obscure depending on the mood just as in Ulysses But no Woolf avoids such bold naturalism by paraphrasing her characters’ thoughts into beautifully crafted ultra refined sentences This valuing of beauty over truth form over content certainly makes the reader’s task a lot easier than in Ulysses if less challenging and allows the wonderful structure of this novel to stand out clearly There are two distinct sections both focussed on a trip to the lighthouse and they are separated and connected by a shorter section a sort of corridor of years which shows us the disintegration that nature and time work on everything and everyone I found this symmetrical structure really satisfying as the two longer sections mirror each other in so many ways and yet are inevitably very different being separated by time itself As regards resemblances to Ulysses Woolf begins with the word ‘yes’ and ends with ‘yes’ repeated in the last sentences but unlike Joyce Woolf doesn’t take on a full day only the final uarter of a day; she addresses the first uarter of a different day in the last sectionWhile Woolf avoids the challenge of 'stream of consciousness' writing in favour of reporting her character’s thoughts she knits those thoughts into the action with great skill; the reader uickly adjusts to the style as well as to the freuent time shifts and to the occasional shifts in point of view And while I value the stark realism which is found at times in Ulysses there is also a lot of truth knitted into the beautiful shape of Woolf’s novel there are valuable reflections on the challenges of relationships particularly those of husbands and wives and parents and children; there are interesting musings on art and literature poetry and philosophy; and there are very very beautiful thoughts on death and dying This book will stay with me for a long time to come Review August 2012Edit May 2015 extracts I've just come across in A Writer's Diary describing Woolf's thoughts about the writing of 'To The Lighthouse' 1926 This is going to be fairly short; to have father's character done complete in it; and mother's; and St Ives; and childhood; and all the usual things I try to put in life death etc But the centre is father's character sitting in a boat reciting 'We perished each alone' while he crushes a dying mackerelThe sea is to be heard all through itBut this theme may be sentimental; father and mother and child in the garden; the death; the sail to the Lighthouse I think though that when I begin it I will enrich it in all sorts of ways; thicken it; give it branches roots which I do not perceive now It might contain all characters boiled down; and childhood; and then this impersonal thing which I'm dared to do by my friends the flight of time and the conseuent break of unity in my design That passage I conceive the book in three parts 1 at the drawing room window; 2 seven years passed; 3 the voyage interests me very muchI am now writing as fast and as freely as I have written my whole life;I think this is the proof that I was on the right path; and that what fruit hangs in my soul is to be reached thereYesterday I finished the first part and today begin the second I cannot make it out here is the most difficult abstract piece of writing I have to give an empty house no people's characters the passage of time all eyeless and featureless with nothing to cling to; will I rush at it and at once scatter out two pagesThe problem is how to bring Lily and Mr R together and make a combination of interest at the end I am feathering about with various ideas The last chapter which I begin tomorrow is in the Boat; I had meant to end with R climbing on to the rock If so what becomes of Lily and her picture? Should there be a final page about her and Carmichael looking at the picture and summing up R's character? In this case I lose the intensity of the moment If this intervenes between R and the lighthouse there's too much chop and change I think Could I do it in a parenthesis? So that on the sense of reading the two things at the same time?The lyric portions of To the Lighthouse are collected in the 10 year lapse and don't interfere with the text so much as usual; I feel as if it fetched its circle pretty completely this timeAnd the last lap in the boat is hard because the material is not so rich as it was with Lily on the lawn I am forced to be and intense I am making use of symbolism I observe and I go in dread of 'sentimentality' Is the whole theme open to the charge?


  10. Sean Barrs Sean Barrs says:

    Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse is an innovative piece of writing that left me feeling empty neither happy nor sad just blank and detached from the book itself Let me explain for me the writing just didn’t covey anything of much importance Sure you could talk about Woolf’s innovative style and how important this book is in the formation of English literature as we know it today; it clearly has impacted the novel as an art form And it adheres to Woolf’s arguments in her essay titled Modern Fiction It’s about realism; it’s about capturing a multitude of perspectives and voices regarding the complexities of perception and human experiences It acts to show how different people think in very different ways And that’s it The plot is unimportant here so I’m not going to talk about that or criticise it Woolf was purposely trying to break narrative conventions She didn’t want a plot She didn’t need one Though I’m left with a feeling of emptiness after reading it What do I take away from the book? What’s the overall point of it? Surely there’s to it than showing that different people think feel and express themselves in a way specifically personal to them? I’m just left with a puzzling feeling that makes me form a uestion that lingers over my mind whenever I think about this book was that really it Woolf don’t you have a little to say? The success of the writing resides with its subtlety Woolf says so much without saying anything at all Her characters are revealed through small gestures that reveal their internal world Simple things like an agreement about the weather bespeaks the love between two characters Her narration is minimalistic or I should say the narrator describes without comment and the rest is up to the reader And as ever she is fantastic at portraying images and moments in time The scenes she creates are some of the most real and true I’ve ever read There are thoughts flying around everywhere Woolf shifts beautifully from character to character from voice to voice as the writing forms a symphony on the mundanity of life Some of the characters are also uite psychologically complex Mr Ramsey and there’s many layers within the story telling that bring the narrative together But again I’m not entirely sure what to take away from it all I shall leave things here I enjoyed it but I could never love it


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To the Lighthouse [Read] ➮ To the Lighthouse Author Virginia Woolf – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk The serene and maternal Mrs Ramsay the tragic yet absurd Mr Ramsay and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nea The serene and maternal Mrs Ramsay the tragic yet absurd Mr Ramsay and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse Woolf constructs a remarkable moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and womenAs time winds its way through their lives the Ramsays face alone and simultaneously the greatest of human challenges and its greatest triumph—the human capacity for change.

  • Paperback
  • 209 pages
  • To the Lighthouse
  • Virginia Woolf
  • English
  • 01 November 2015
  • 9781406792393

About the Author: Virginia Woolf

Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth centuryDuring the interwar period Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway To the Lighthouse and Orlando and the book length e.