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Virginia Woolf: To The Lighthouse



To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

U. of Adelaide e-text


wiki: To the Lighthouse

Large parts of Woolf’s novel do not concern themselves with the objects of vision, but rather investigate the means of perception, attempting to understand people in the act of looking. In order to be able to understand thought, Woolf’s diaries reveal, the author would spend considerable time listening to herself think, observing how and which words and emotions arose in her own mind in response to what she saw.



SparkNotes: To the Lighthouse

Themes, Motifs and Symbols – The Subjective Nature of Reality

Toward the end of the novel, Lily reflects that in order to see Mrs. Ramsay clearly—to understand her character completely—she would need at least fifty pairs of eyes; only then would she be privy to every possible angle and nuance. The truth, according to this assertion, rests in the accumulation of different, even opposing vantage points. Woolf’s technique in structuring the story mirrors Lily’s assertion. She is committed to creating a sense of the world that not only depends upon the private perceptions of her characters but is also nothing more than the accumulation of those perceptions. To try to re-imagine the story as told from a single character’s perspective or—in the tradition of the Victorian novelists—from the author’s perspective is to realize the radical scope and difficulty of Woolf’s project.



Stream of Consciousness in To the Lighthouse

by Christie Lamon-Burney and Srirupa Dhar

Auerbach states that Woolf’s technique is achieved through “[t]he design of a close approach to objective reality by means of numerous subjective impressions received by various individuals….


Notes on Novels: To the Lighthouse

Jane Elizabeth Dougherty, in an essay for Novels for Students, Gale, 2000.

deals with characterization of Lily Briscoe


Virginia Woolf’s Comments on To the Lighthouse

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I suddenly remembered Sartre’s description of light in Nausea, and decided to check how often the word was mentioned in To the Lighthouse in the e-text. I think he ripped the idea of light as a philosophical metaphor from Woolf !

Refs. on realism

Some Forms of Realism – A Critique of Representative and Presentative Realism

Subjective Realism and Phenomenal Consciousness – an essay

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There is an essay:

Light in To the Lighthouse
Jack F. Stewart
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Oct., 1977), pp. 377-389

This essay refers to Stewart:

The Illuminating Gaze: Light and Consciousness in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse

By Anne-Marie Walsh

There is :

Erich Auerbach’s essay, “The Brown Stocking”

which I have not found on online.



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April 25, 2008 - Posted by | objective realism, Sartre, subjective realism, Virginia Woolf | , , , , ,

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