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To the Lighthouse

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  101,592 Ratings  ·  5,216 Reviews
With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Nicola Bradbury, University of Reading.

This simple and haunting story captures the transcience of life and its surrounding emotions.

To the Lighthouse is the most autobiographical of Virginia Woolf's novels. It is based on her own early experiences, and while it touches on childhood and children's perceptions and desires, it is at its mo
Paperback, 159 pages
Published 1999 by Wordsworth (first published 1927)
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Paul Bryant
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a problem, dear Virginia
They like stuff that's much more linear,
I know your teeth you will grit
But you have to admit
You may be hot but there's not
a lot of plot that you got
Five pages about rain on a distant steeple
Is five too many for most of the British people
They moan about Mrs Dalloway
In such a very callow way
Instead of your Orlando
They prefer something more blando
They'd rather go to raves
Than have to read The Waves
And no one's read The Years
In years and years and years
Well - i know it'
Stephen M
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: s.penk!
Recommended to Stephen M by: Time to read the rest of Woolf's work
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 ...more
Jim Fonseca
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 ei
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who haven't read it, and to those who should read it again
Recommended to s.p by: Stephen M and Ifer
Shelves: favorites, death, europe, woolf
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, especi ...more
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 fortunately).

When 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 ea
Violet wells
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, classics
Virginia Woolf here gives us possibly the best ever description of her own writing method, especially fitting for this novel and The Waves – “Beautiful and bright it should be on the surface, feathery and evanescent, one colour melting into another like the colours on a butterfly's wing; but beneath the fabric must be clamped together with bolts of iron. It was to be a thing you could ruffle with your breath; and a thing you could not dislodge with a team of horses.”

Perhaps the first thing to sa
Henry Avila
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the quiet, pretty isle of Skye, in the remote Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland, before the carnage of World War One, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay, bring their large family, eight children, and a few friends, for a summer vacation, get away from the turmoil of city living, in London. But with 15 at the dinner table , ( not counting the servants) that will be a goal unattainable. Mrs.Ramsay is a beauty, she pretends to ignore that fact, still her aging, brilliant, distant, philosopher husband, does n ...more
Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος   Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο   Αμούν Arnum
«Γιατί Αν Δεν Κοιτάς Εκεί Που Θες Να Πας, Θα Πας Εκεί Που Κοιτάς» <—> Μέχρι Το Φάρο...

Το ταξίδι προς το Φάρο είναι κατά την άποψη μου μια αυτοεκπληρούμενη προφητεία.
Ένα κίνητρο προς ένα στόχο. Μια πρόβλεψη, που ουσιαστικά μέσα απο τη χρονική πορεία των γεγονότων, προκαλείται η πραγμάτωση της με διφορούμενη σημασία.
Αν επιδράσουν θετικά η πεποίθηση και η συμπεριφορά τότε πραγματοποιείται με επιτυχία η επίτευξη του στόχου ακόμη κι αν πρόκειται για μια χίμαιρα. Η σαγηνευτική λάμψη του φάρου
Oh Virginia! How is it that you make your words spring to life from the barren pages and hit my senses with the force of a gale every time? How is it that you peel off the layers of the banal and reveal the terrible beauty of the core? How is it that you steer my consciousness so deep into the murky waters of uncharted territory that resurfacing takes a toll on my strength?

I wonder what spirit possessed you every time you picked up your pen, brimming over with confidence or maybe unsure of your
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
Recommended to Miriam by: Elizabeth
Shelves: gender
You know how you secretly fear that if anyone really knew you, knew all your pettinesses and fears and insecurities and unkindnesses, they wouldn't, couldn't, like you? I'm sure Virginia Woolf was familiar with that feeling. I suspect she went back and forth on the question of whether it were true or not. At times she seems to love her characters; at other moments, to despise them. The characters display the same shifting extremes of emotion for one another, moving from an almost idolizing devot ...more
To be immersed within the lives of Virginia Woolf’s characters of To the Lighthouse was a splendid joy. As I turned the pages I felt almost like one of them. Through a prose that seamlessly and easily interplays thoughts, emotions and witty remarks Woolf present us an amazing group of family and friends. There they were, each with its own personalities, set of issues, challenges and desires, requiring only a glimpse to reveal them utterly unique to the reader. And on they move through time and p ...more
I think that in certain scenes of To the Lighthouse Woolf’s method — introspective exhaustiveness — disclosure of the vistas within our gestures, the little worlds that flare and die in the time it takes to pass the salt — approaches its own parody. Sometimes reading this was like watching a movie frame by frame. And I found the texture less evenly lyrical than that of Mrs. Dalloway. But cavils aside, it is amazing. Last year I got far enough in Hermione Lee’s biography to know that this novel i ...more
Apr 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: littry-fiction
i love this book, and someday i should write a thoughtful review of it, but i have just discovered, and this cracked me up:

Steven  Godin
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly bewildered, mostly satisfied, totally transfixed, I painstakingly studied each beautifully crafted sentence with patience, one after the other, like an obsessed detective looking for hidden clues as to just what Virginia Woolf had put in front of me, for the most part, I hadn't the foggiest. Reading almost half of it again, I slowly started to see through the heavy mist as to what a finely detailed work this turned out to be. This book requires complete and utter attention, if only life ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who believe in immortality
Prickling rivulets of conscience, smoothly shifting from one to another, sailing the waters, relentlessly dragged by the current of a greater force, a guiding voice, Mrs. Ramsay’s. She alone can conduct this tuneless orchestra of wandering souls towards the open seas where they can become one single stream and fulfill their destiny. The lighthouse is waiting, the darkness in between the flashing beam lights showing the way. Isn’t it in absence where utter understanding is achieved?

Mrs. Ramsay ap
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seekers
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: the summer of women 2012

First my left foot then my right behind the other, breadcrumbs lost under the snow…

There are novels that I read purely as a way to escape reality. They are a release from my incessant mental chatter. They help to pass the time. Other novels will not stand for merely serving as a distraction. They demand to be studied. They demand I go the extra mile and extend my reading well beyond my purview. Sixty pages into this formidable work and I realized this is not just a novel to be read. It does not
I'm finding it difficult to watch movies these days, or at least to find one that fulfills the requirements I'm looking for. Their cumbersome attempts at developing fully formed characters, believable folks that intersect with one another in realistic ways, patterns that you can readily see happening in your own life that are entertaining nonetheless for all their normality. These attempts painfully clunk out at random, grinding out a plot that you can't help cringing at, so trite and false it i ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, bloomsbury
I read this book a few times before and loved it. I tried something different this week, and instead of riding my bike to work I walked the five miles each way while listening to Nicole Kidman read To the Lighthouse. Simply amazing. The words came to life and the language was superb. I didn't think I could like this book more, but now I do.
Luís C.
Much of the novel - like the light and dark of the lighthouse beacon, or waves crashing in and back out - works in a balanced opposition: Crowdedness and the lack of privacy juxtaposed against the condition of utter aloneness. The bond between Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay counterbalanced with their awareness of what they've cost one another. The collusion of the children, their secretiveness and wildness, but then their docility and vulnerability. Trapped thoughts that can't be told, but are then underst ...more
I have started this book several times, and even though I admired the prose, heretofore I had always set it aside after about 20 pages because it required so much focus, so much time. Indeed, I wondered if I would ever find time to finish this book in the same way that young James Ramsay wondered if he would ever get to visit the lighthouse.

But I was determined to finish! Knowing that it required concentration, I settled into my reading chair this weekend and dove into the text. What lyricism! V
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To the Lighthouse is simply the most incredible book I've ever read.

What prose! What soaring, penetrating, eloquent, unique, wonderful writing, that deserves to be read slowly and attentively, the inner voice attuned to the gentle canter of the meter, the rhythmic rise and fall in pitch, undulating like rolling waves, like the beating heart, like poetry. Such a visionary and unforgiving style, with dense, meandering sentences, ever shifting perspectives, the fusion of the real and the imagined,
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Slow or Flow?

I read "To the Lighthouse" quickly and impatiently, because that is what the text seemed to demand of me.

It is relatively short, but, most importantly for me, it flows with the inexorable force of nature, perhaps even Mother Nature, if that doesn’t offend (I will try to explain).

True, I broke the flow to make notes, to track the recurrence of words, the repetition and reinforcement of motifs, but immediately afterwards, I jumped back into the stream and was carried away, until event
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye.
-Honore de Balzac

Evidently, Woolf could write with the hand what we see with the eye and perceive and articulate emotions whose depths remain fathomless.
Woolf retains an imagery with dexterous strokes revolving around a family household with each character asserting its presence in the scene so strong it is asphyxiating the reader. Each of these broad strokes enunciates an image, a perspective, a belief upheld by each of the charac
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Virginia Woolf pertenece a ese selecto grupo de escritores y filósofos que definió un estilo a principio del siglo XX, que aplicaban a distintas ramas del arte como la literatura, la filosofía y la pintura y que se llamó el “Circulo de Bloomsbury”.
Formaron parte de él, tanto la autora como su esposo, el también escritor Leonard Woolf y la escritora Katherine Mansfield, entre otros, asi también como renombrados filósofos de la talla de Bertrand Russell y Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Leer a Virginia Woolf
Camille Stein
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Virginia Woolf -

Lo sabía, sabía todo sin haber estudiado. Su sencillez acertaba donde los inteligentes se confundían.

Eso era precisamente lo que ahora necesitaba con tanta frecuencia: pensar; o quizá ni tan siquiera pensar. Estar en silencio, quedarse sola. Todo el ser y el hacer, expansivo y deslumbrante, se evaporaban; y se contraía, con una sensación de solemnidad, hasta ser ella misma, un corazón de oscuridad en forma de cuña, algo invisible para los demás.

Al perder l
What drivel is this?

There are so many supplicants at this alter (of the emperor’s new clothes) that I am obviously an illiterate idiot for besmirching it. So be it, I stand fast.

Woolf had a hit with Mrs Dalloway in 1925, and buoyed by her success, obviously decided to capitalise on it by basically…plagerising herself. I guess her thinking must have been ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, cause she, um, ‘borrows’ every literary technique and a fair number of characters as well as the narrative s
Rakhi Dalal
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone :)
Swiftly coming in, my thoughts met me in my eyes. There was a tear welling up, slowly, trying to melt the thoughts with it, to make them escape from the unwanted enclosure, to set them free, to give them a lease of life. As the tear found its way, the thoughts strove hard, enduring the abrupt acceleration which followed. Astonishingly, they managed to linger on amidst the unfaltering descend. And then as I looked, they smiled back at me, smiled at the futility of efforts employed, smiled while s ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Lee Monks
In 2013 or 14, I voted on the Goodreads list 'Books you are tired of hearing about' to express my exasperation at seeing To the Lighthouse every bloody where that summer. If, even six months ago, you'd told me not only that I'd read To the Lighthouse this spring, but that I'd give it 5 stars and mark it "favourites", I'd have told you, if you were the kind of friend I could say this to in a friendly way, to fuck off. Especially because I didn't much like Mrs Dalloway and the imprint it left of g ...more
This is the first Virginia Woolf novel I have ever read. I found it complex, and at the same time uncomplicated. It makes me think of authors like Marcel Proust, Henry James and James Joyce. Woolf's style is deceptively simple. There are descriptions of landscapes and everyday events, and yet this author reaches much deeper into the human mind.

What is interesting is that Woolf does not use one character to provide the main point of view, but instead lets us see inside the heads of several of the
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: devastating energy exploding off his tesla coil
Recommended to Mariel by: wave with ten percent of fingers
Whenever she "thought of his work" she always saw clearly before her a large kitchen table. It was Andrew's doing. She asked him what his father's books were about. "Subject and object and the nature of reality," Andrew had said. And when she said Heavens, she had no notion of what he meant. "Think of a kitchen table then," he told her, "when you're not there."

I have reread To the Lighthouse, secretly, three times in the past six months. I took it inside and outside for its secret. If I could se
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Around the Year i...: To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf 8 65 Mar 14, 2018 10:44AM  
Reading 1001: To The Lighthouse 7 24 Feb 28, 2018 10:18AM  
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(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During 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 (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es
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“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.” 823 likes
“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.” 601 likes
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