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To the Lighthouse To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
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To the Lighthouse Quotes (showing 1-30 of 244)
“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; 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.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of - to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others... and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“He smiled the most exquisite smile, veiled by memory, tinged by dreams.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have- to want and want- how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again!”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“She felt... how life, from being made up of little separate incidents which one lived one by one, became curled and whole like a wave which bore one up with it and threw one down with it, there, with a dash on the beach.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
tags: life
“About here, she thought, dabbling her fingers in the water, a ship had sunk, and she muttered, dreamily half asleep, how we perished, each alone.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees
and changing leaves.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Beauty was not everything. Beauty had this penalty — it came too readily, came too completely. It stilled life — froze it.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Friendships, even the best of them, are frail things. One drifts apart.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“...she took her hand and raised her brush. For a moment it stayed trembling in a painful but exciting ecstacy in the air. Where to begin?--that was the question at what point to make the first mark? One line placed on the canvas committed her to innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocable decisions. All that in idea seemed simple became in practice immediately complex; as the waves shape themselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but to the swimmer among them are divided by steep gulfs, and foaming crests. Still the risk must run; the mark made.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“There it was before her - life. Life: she thought but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband. A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimes they parleyed (when she sat alone); there were, she remembered, great reconciliation scenes; but for the most part, oddly enough, she must admit that she felt this thing that she called life terrible, hostile, and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
tags: life
“All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigues, I have had my vision.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“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 inches too low.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“She had known happiness, exquisite happiness, intense happiness, and it silvered the rough waves a little more 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 the floor of her mind and she felt, It is enough! It is enough!”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“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”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“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, it shaped itself differently; it had become, she knew, giving one last look at it over her shoulder, already the past.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life?--startling, unexpected, unknown?”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“One wanted, she thought, dipping her brush deliberately, to be on a level with ordinary experience, to feel simply that's a chair, that's a table, and yet at the same time, It's a miracle, it's an ecstasy.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
tags: art
“It was odd, she thought, how if one was alone, one leant to inanimate things; trees, streams, flowers; felt they expressed one; felt they became one; felt they knew one, in a sense were one; felt an irrational tenderness thus (she looked at that long steady light) as for oneself.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“The very stone one kicks with one's boot will outlast Shakespeare.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Well, we must wait for the future to show.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“So that is marriage, Lily thought, a man and a woman looking at a girl throwing a ball”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Our apparitions, the things you know us by, are simply childish. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“But nevertheless, the fact remained, it was almost impossible to dislike anyone if one looked at them.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Nancy waded out to her own rocks and searched her own pools and let that couple look after themselves. She crouched low down and touched the smooth rubber-like sea anemones, who were stuck like lumps of jelly to the side of the rock. Brooding, she changed the pool into the sea, and made the minnows into sharks and whales, and cast vast clouds over this tiny world by holding her hand against the sun, and so brought darkness and desolation, like God himself, to millions of ignorant and innocent creatures, and then took her hand away suddenly and let the sun stream down. Out on the pale criss-crossed sand, high-stepping, fringed, gauntleted, stalked some fantastic leviathan (she was still enlarging the pool), and slipped into the vast fissures of the mountain side. And then, letting her eyes slide imperceptibly above the pool and rest on that wavering line of sea and sky, on the tree trunks which the smoke of steamers made waver on the horizon, she became with all that power sweeping savagely in and inevitably withdrawing, hypnotised, and the two senses of that vastness and this tininess (the pool had diminished again) flowering within it made her feel that she was bound hand and foot and unable to move by the intensity of feelings which reduced her own body, her own life, and the lives of all the people in the world, for ever, to nothingness. So listening to the waves, crouching over the pool, she brooded.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
tags: god
“If Shakespeare had never existed, he asked, would the world have differed much from what it is today? Does the progress of civilization depend upon great men? Is the lot of the average human being better now that in the time of the Pharaohs?”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“Never did anybody look so sad. Bitter and black, halfway down, in the darkness, in the shaft which ran from the sunlight to the depths, perhaps a tear formed; a tear fell; the waves swayed this way and that, received it, and were at rest. Never did anybody look so sad.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

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