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To the Lighthouse (Collins Classics) Paperback – 12 Sep 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (12 Sep 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007934416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007934416
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Virginia Woolf is now recognized as a major twentieth-century author, a great novelist and essayist and a key figure in literary history as a feminist and a modernist. Born in 1882, she was the daughter of the editor and critic Leslie Stephen, and suffered a traumatic adolescence after the deaths of her mother, in 1895, and her step-sister Stella, in 1897, leaving her subject to breakdowns for the rest of her life. Her father died in 1904 and two years later her favourite brother Thoby died suddenly of typhoid.

With her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, she was drawn into the company of writers and artists such as Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, later known as the Bloomsbury Group. Among them she met Leonard Woolf, whom she married in 1912, and together they founded the Hogarth Press in 1917, which was to publish the work of T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and Katherine Mansfield as well as the earliest translations of Freud. Woolf lived an energetic life among friends and family, reviewing and writing, and dividing her time between London and the Sussex Downs. In 1941, fearing another attack of mental illness, she drowned herself.

Her first novel, The Voyage Out, appeared in 1915, and she then worked through the transitional Night and Day (1919) to the highly experimental and impressionistic Jacob's Room (1922). From then on her fiction became a series of brilliant and extraordinarily varied experiments, each one searching for a fresh way of presenting the relationship between individual lives and the forces of society and history. She was particularly concerned with women's experience, not only in her novels but also in her essays and her two books of feminist polemic, A Room of One's Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938).

Her major novels include Mrs Dalloway (1925), the historical fantasy Orlando (1928), written for Vita Sackville-West, the extraordinarily poetic vision of The Waves (1931), the family saga of The Years (1937), and Between the Acts (1941). All these are published by Penguin, as are her Diaries, Volumes I-V, and selections from her essays and short stories.


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About the Author

Virginia Woolf was an English novelist, essayist, short-story writer, publisher, critic and member of the Bloomsbury group, as well as being regarded as both a hugely significant modernist and feminist figure. Her most famous works include Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Ms R Emsley on 4 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback
One of the most evocative and moving novels of all time. A true original. A work of genius.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By One view on 1 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback
Maybe I'm too much of cultural plebe to comprehend the artistic significance of this novel or to take any joy or meaning from it's rambling contemplative narrative, I had a crack at it but by it's cumbersome end could not remember or care what the actual plot was if their was one or clearly recollect the incidents that took place.
It was about a family with a lot of inner angst. Perhaps a deep reader or a connoisseur of fiction might be able to appreciate the subtitle flavours of Ms Wolfs fruitful prose.
I can understand the need to ask the question "who is afraid of Virginia Wolf". After forcing myself to finish one of her novels
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Classic 28 Mar 2014
By L. M. Keefer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Our library fiction book group read and discussed this novel. So did a MOOC class with a professor from Brown who offers a class on relationships in fiction. The prose is amazing. As the Brown professor noted, no one writes like Woolf. I didn't really identify with the characters in this novel. The father reminded me of a kind of blustery Teddy Roosevelt type, the mother seems a bit disconnected to reality. The children want the father to take them to the lighthouse. Did the lighthouse have a kind of symbolism in the story? Does it stand for the mother, who is the anchor of the story? Some of the sentences in this book are so beautiful, you are in awe of them. The plot, for me, wasn't engaging, and rather melancholy. This is an atmospheric book. You feel the textures in the home, the weather outside. It transports you back in time and perhaps captures the mood of the day which is far removed from the mood of contemporary times.

Some of the ideas which the professor discussed regarding this book~

* Mrs. Ramsey is one of the most mesmerizing figures in literature of all time

* This is a unique story of a married couple - most novels have a single heroine in the beginning

* No one has written like this

* Woolf had a remarkable sense of class differences which are described in this book

* Literature brings internal landscape to the table

* Proposition that most couples are odd

* It's miraculous when we make sense to each other

* How expansive this novel is

* This novel reveals how promiscuous is the nature of thought - it veers off into tangents easily

* Woolf writes about the destruction of family - can relationships survive over times is the great question of the novel.

Our group discussed what the lighthouse stood for. Some ideas - it stood for self, aloneness, perhaps even for Ms. Ramsey. It stood for eternity compared to the waves, or moments, of time.

We all agreed that the writing is gorgeous in this novel and it's a brilliantly constructed novel. However, it's not plot-driven if you like that sort of thing, and it has a melancholy complexion. We want to read MRS. DALLOWAY next which the professor was Woolf's other great book. I wondered who influenced Woolf's writing - who were her favorite authors?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Experience the Passing of Time, and Loss and Sadness Mixing with Life and Joy 16 Feb 2014
By Leonard Seet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
In To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf details the intricate and ambivalent relationships among members of the Ramsay family and their friends. During the gathering, when the son James wants to go to the lighthouse, Mr. Ramsay asserts himself by declaring that the weather wouldn't allow the trip the next day. Yet, when he seeks Mrs. Ramsay to comfort him, he shows his insecurity. And Mrs. Ramsay wants to make everything right and everyone happy. Lily Briscoe struggles to paint Mrs. Ramsay's portrait while Charles Tansley, Mr. Ramsay's admirer, undermines her confidence with his chauvinist remarks about women incapable of writing and painting. During dinner, when the poet Augustus Carmichael wants a second helping of soup, Mr. Ramsay was rude to him. When Mrs. Ramsay leaves the guests and reflects on the events of the day, we can sense the sadness amid the laughter and hubbub of the party.

The section "Time Passes" gives us a sense of loss. Not only because W.W.I. comes and goes, taking along with in millions of lives. Not only because Mrs. Ramsay and the son Andrew and the daughter Pru passed away. But also because the passage of time has washed away the past: the laughter of the party, the joy of the engagement between Paul Rayley and Minta Doyle, the promise to go to the lighthouse, and Lily Briscoe's struggle with self-confidence. Those moments relegated to the survivors' memories, waiting to drop into oblivion.

In the section "The Lighthouse," Mr. Ramsay his son James and his daughter Cam go to the lighthouse, and Lily finishes her painting. Promises and goals fulfilled. Yet, Mr. Ramsay remains insecure and seeks comfort from Lily but fails to receive any. He also asserts himself but forcing his son and daughter to go to the lighthouse, though eventually they come to respect him. Again the ambivalence between these characters. And Virginia Woolf is a master at these subtle emotions. To read her work is to experience the passing of time, and loss and sadness mixing with life and joy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
one of my favourite books and films. autobiographical fiction beautifully done. 16 Jun 2014
By Catherine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Biographies of VW and sister make for fascinating reading. Who woulda thought! No one should be Afraid of Virginia Woolf. That damnable play gave a gorgeous writer a bad name. I loved the film. Watched it on a Saturday night, got up on Sunday and saw it again. And that was over 20 years ago. Rarely does one find that a film has anything whatsoever in common with the book. This one does. It actually adds a depth to the book. Highly unusual. Read the book and see the film, if it is still available.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Very detailed look at the psychology of characters that I cannot remember getting in any novel. 14 May 2014
By Charles Staser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a plot you will be disappointed. The book goes from scene to scene almost magically since little effort is placed into setting scenes or going from place to place. She reveals the innermost thoughts with a stream of consciousness method that I find indicative of the way minds work. Slow to get started but worth the effort. Unique, at least for me.
Ah, the humanities are not dead. 22 Sep 2014
By Fyrecurl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Classic modern literature at its finest. When Mrs. Ramsay died suddenly in the start of chapter two, after being enmeshed into her head, heart and soul of this reader, tied by the threads of Woolf's brilliant writing throughout chapter one, I burst out crying and couldn't stop for several minutes. Never again will she read to her son James while he sits on her lap, lay down in bed beside her daughter Cam staring into her face and singing softly until she falls aslerp, never again to worry about Andrew and Prue coming in late from a day on the shore, or work in her beautiful garden, while scheming to match her friends, and guests in matrimony, or how to keep her husband's academic ego from sinking further into despair and keep her own marriage tolerable, as she plans what will be her last dinner party as the lady of the house, and dream of going to the Lighthouse one more time with her family, but never does. Driven almost entirely by internal dialog from varying perspectives of the characters the story involves the reader in the lives of each and particular, Mrs. Ramsey, who will never again visit her summer home with her family and go to the lighthouse. A must read for anyone who love literature at its finest. Very highly recommended.
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