To the Lighthouse, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


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 most trenchant when exploring adult relationships, marriage and the changing class-structure in the period spanning the Great War.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • ISBN: 9781853260919

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Here's what I think is a bit of an unusual review, since I wrote the while I was still reading the book and had just finished part 2: Time Passes. Having finished reading it now, I found I had said all I had to say about it already:After getting through the first few pages, I began to pick up on Virginia Woolf's rhythm and voice once I caught on the her stream of consciousness, and greatly enjoyed the first part, which describes Mr and Mrs Ramsay and their interactions with their guests and children, the narration fluidly moving from one character’s thoughts to another. Then everything fell apart and I got absolutely lost when the narrative changed completely and was suddenly skipping quickly ahead through time. I couldn’t make heads nor tails of it. It would have been helpful if I’d paid more attention to the title of part 2: Time Passes, but the prose, always beautiful, became much more poetic and since I’ve never much understood about poetry, try as I might, it felt like I was swimming far out to sea in unfamiliar currents. Since it’s a short book and the third part (The Lighthouse) is closer in tone to part 1 (The Window), I’ll persevere and finish it. It’ll be worth my while even if I won’t have understood all of it. I don’t keep many books once I’ve read them for lack of space, but I intend to keep this one to read later on, when, having already gone through it once, I’ll probably understand it on a whole other level next time.

Review by

Talvez o livro mais perfeito de Virginia Woolf.<br/>"He has landed," she said aloud. "It is finished." Then, surging up, puffing slightly, old Mr Carmichael stood beside her, looking like an old pagan god, shaggy, with weeds in his hair and the trident (it was only a French novel) in his hand. He stood by her on the edge of the lawn, swaying a little in his bulk and said, shading his eyes with his hand: "They will have landed," and she felt that she had been right. They had not needed to speak. They had been thinking the same things and he had answered her without her asking him anything. He stood there as if he were spreading his hands over all the weakness and suffering of mankind; she thought he was surveying, tolerantly and compassionately, their final destiny. Now he has crowned the occasion, she thought, when his hand slowly fell, as if she had seen him let fall from his great height a wreath of violets and asphodels which, fluttering slowly, lay at length upon the earth.<br/>Quickly, as if she were recalled by something over there, she turned to her canvas. There it was—her picture. Yes, with all its greens and blues, its lines running up and across, its attempt at something. It would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be destroyed. But what did that matter? she asked herself, taking up her brush again. She looked at the steps; they were empty; she looked at her canvas; it was blurred. With a sudden intensity, as if she saw it clear for a second, she drew a line there, in the centre. It was done; it was finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.

Review by

Not my usual type of read, but I'm so glad I risked it. This really is the perfect book for those feeling depressed and overwhelmed. The language is stunning. Even though nothing much really "happens", I found the mundanity deeply comforting. The Ramsey family and various friends are spending summer at their island home. Written as stream of consciousness, we see their deepest thoughts and feelings. I found myself compelled to read to the end to discover will they go to the lighthouse.I read the Wordsworth Classics edition which had an interesting introduction to some of the themes in the book. The added endnotes were a little odd - they seemed to explain things which were obvious and leave you on your own with more obscure references.

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