Wednesday 4 May 2011

Woolf, Virginia "To the Lighthouse"

Woolf, Virginia "To the Lighthouse" - 1927

The verdict on "To the Lighthouse" was similar to that of many classics. Those who love classics enjoyed it. Those who don't didn't even give it a try. Some of them were glad they forced themselves to read it.

I loved this book. It was almost like poetry. The style was wonderful. Virginia Woolf describes the people most beautifully, the feelings, the thoughts, the way she describes the changes, the atmosphere, how they looked at each other, you can recognize it in your own life. Her descriptions are very detailed. She really understands people, thinking about that they don't say much to each other, it's even more amazing how she can write about this. Some found it difficult initially but were able to get through the first part. Some parts were extremely moving.

We talked about following the research first, I think that is very helpful here. You have to go back in time and put the author and what she wants to discuss into context. A great book about the beginning of the feminist time.  It is not an easy book but definitely worth the effort.

It was a creation of Victorian period.
This book also brought us do talk about the stream of consciousness and Henry James. Very philosophical.
The difference between mind and brain, the brain is the physical organ and the mind the psychic one. The mind pulls away, the brain draws to, there is a continuous pulling and drawing in the book.

We also discussed Virginia Woolf briefly, her bouts of marital instability, her anxiety. Her mother died when she was 13, it is just amazing how she internalized the relationship of her parents at that young age. She was a very smart lady.

According to Publisher's Weekly, "To the Lighthouse" also belongs to the Top 10 Most Difficult Books.

We discussed this in our book club in May 2010.

From the back cover:

"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 women.

As 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.

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2024.

I also read "Mrs. Dalloway".

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