Virginia Woolf was born in 1882 in London.She was not given a formal education Virginia’s mother died when she wasthirteen. This caused the first of severalmental breakdownsVirginia Woolf started to work as a tutor atMorley College in 1904 and wrote reviews forsome books.Her reviews were published in the “TimesLiterary Supplement”.In 1905 she started meeting friends todiscuss literary and artistic topics.Virginia Woolf also became a member of thePeople’s Suffrage Federation and of theWomen’s Co-operative Guild. In 1912, Virginiamarried Leonard Woolf who was a writer.One year later, Virginia suffered a deepmental break down. Her husband helped herto live through it.VIRGINIA WOOLF
Both Virginia and her husband werevery interested in literature. Togetherthey founded the Hogarth Press in 1917. In 1927 composed “To the Lighthouse” Virginia Woolf battled depression. On March 28, 1941 she committedsuicide by drowning herself; she wastormented by sound of grenades ofFirst World War. In her life she hadpublished over 500 essays and aboutten novels. Virginia Woolf did not usethe traditional writing styles of her time.During her lifetime, Virginia hadbecome a leader in the modernistliterary movement.
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE: PLOT “To the lighthouse” does not have a traditionalplot but consists of a series of experiences,memories, emotions and feelings explaned bysymbols. This novel is divided into threesections:1. The window, which takes place during asummer afternoon and evening in a summerhome on the Isle of Skye in Hebrides;2. Time Passes, which covers about ten years;3. The Lighthouse, which lasts only one day.
Mr and Mrs Ramsay pass their holiday with theireight children: Cam, James, Prue, Andrew, NancyRoger Rose Jasper, at the house by the sea.James, the younger son, wants disperately to go tothe Lighthouse, but his father say that the next dayit would be a storm. There are a lot of guests and Mrs Ramsayaddresses them with respect and deferance : thebotanist William Bankes, the poet AugustusCarmichael, a phylosopher Charles Transley, thepainter Lily Briscoe and two lovers Minta Doyle andPaul Rayley.
That evening Ramsay family has a dinner party,and this is a perfect situauion in wich, eachcharacter thinks to his situation. After the dinner Mr Ramsay says “I love you” tohis wife, but she isn’t capable to answer him.
In The Lighthouse Memory is the most importantcharacter. Mr Ramsay decides to go to thelighthouse with his two children James and Cam,and this experience is a moment of connection forthem. Lily succeeds in finishing her painting,achieving her vision.
Mrs Ramsay•Mrs Ramsay is a beautifulwoman and a loving wife.•She shows kindness andtolerance to her guests even ifthey do not appreciate herpoliteness.•The image of Queen Victoriain relation to Mrs. Ramsay isrecurrent and reflects the idealdomestic angel of the VictorianAge.•Mrs. Ramsay plays this role ofthe ideal domesticated femalevery well, especially ashostess during a dinner party .
Lily Briscoe rejects theconventional image ofthe woman representedby Mrs Ramsay, but sheis very shocked whenCharles Transleysupports the idea thatwomen can neither paintor write. She doesn’twant marry, but shemenages to put intopractice Mrs Ramsayteaching. Mrs Ramsayrepresents an example oflife for her, so when shecompletes her painting
THEMESThe most important themes of this novel are: LOSS: Minta loses her brooch on the beach,Ramsay family loses some of itsmembers ART: Also women can do Art TRANSIENCE: Nothing lasts, but MrsRamsay doesn’t want that her children growup SEARCH: For God and for the true meaning
WHITE: The absence of colours symbolizesthe uncolourfuf meaning of science andastract thought. RED and BROWN: appeare to be colours ofegotism. BLUE and GREEN: are the colours ofimpersonality YELLOW: purity of everything and logicalmental activity.
Her visits with her parents and family to St Ives,Cornwall, where her father rented a house, wereperhaps the happiest times of Woolfs life, but whenshe was thirteen her mother died and, like MrsRamsay. Woolfs sister, Vanessa, wrote that reading thesections of the novel that describe Mrs Ramsaywas like seeing her mother raised from the dead. Their brother Adrian was not allowed to go on anexpedition to Godrevy Lighthouse, just as in thenovel James looks forward to visiting thelighthouse and is disappointed when the trip iscancelled. Lily Briscoes meditations on painting are a way forWoolf to explore her own creative process
THE MODERN NOVELThe modern novel is characterised by: The new concept of TIME: It was introduced byBergson (who made the difference betweenhistorical and psychological time) and James. Inthis case time was not seen as a cronologicalorder of events, because also our thoughts haveillogical connections in the mind. The new theory of unconscious deriving from theFreudian influence: the novelist rejectedomniscient narration. The analysis of character’sinner was influenced by the simultaneousexistence of different levels of consciousnessand sub-consciousness.
STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS The stream of consciousness technique orinterior monologue was introduced todescribe the flow of thoughts, sensations,memories in a flux of words, ideas andimages similar to the mind’s activity. It’s the attempt to the describe the nature ofmental life “from within”