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To the Lighthouse (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) Hardcover – November 3, 1992


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To the Lighthouse (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) + Lolita (Everyman's Library Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: Everyman's Library (Cloth)
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library; RE ISSUE edition (November 3, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679405372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679405375
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British actress Juliet Stevenson makes for a better reader of Woolf's words than Nicole Kidman's Oscar-winning turn as Woolf in The Hours. Stevenson carefully sorts through Woolf's famously tangled modernist masterpiece about the interior lives of a well-to-do British family, and the ways in which the First World War permanently damaged European society. She reads in an amplified hush, her exaggeratedly formal British diction adding poignancy to the sense of dislocation and disorder that marks the book's transition from pre- to postwar. Her reading is quietly, carefully precise, and that precision is a solid complement to Woolf's own measured, inward-looking prose. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

To the Lighthouse is one of the greatest elegies in the
English language, a book which transcends time.” –Margaret Drabble

“Without question one of the two or three finest novels of the twentieth century. Woolf comments on the most pressing dramas of our human predicament: war, mortality, family, love. If you’re like me you’ll come back to this book often, always astounded, always moved, always refreshed.” –Rick Moody

“[Woolf’s] people are astoundingly real…The tragic futility, the absurdity, the pathetic beauty, of life–we experience all of this in our sharing of seven hours of Mrs. Ramsay’s wasted or not wasted existence.
We have seen, through her, the world.” –Conrad Aiken

More About the Author

VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941) was one of the major literary figures of the twentieth century. An admired literary critic, she authored many essays, letters, journals, and short stories in addition to her groundbreaking novels.

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Customer Reviews

Just not my cup of tea.
Fred M.
Woolf has a great insight and beautifully descriptive and engaging way of writing about thought as dramatic and intimate.
Stacey M Jones
I was never bored reading the book and constantly found myself wanting to read to the next chapter.
a reader from New Jersey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

402 of 425 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke VINE VOICE on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've discovered a little secret to reading Virginia Woolf -- it takes time.
It is practically impossible to read this book in little ten-minute spots, while watching television or babysitting. Don't try it; you'll end up not liking it.
It needs your time. Give it an hour with no interruptions. Get a bag of pistachios and read. Unplug the phone, turn off the TV. Read and don't stop. Then you'll discover the joy of Virginia Woolf -- for while her prose is tough, it is haunting, beautiful, and real.
Once you've settled into it, you'll discover a wonderful book, a tale of everyday life lived. Both intensely personal and incredibly universal, this book is life itself.
So, you want the real review. Alright, it's the story of a beach house, where reside the Ramseys and their various friends. Mrs. Ramsey is a goddess and nearly everyone worships her. This is more fun to read than it sounds. Lily Briscoe is a painter trying to figure out what she sees and what she loves.
There is a brutal twist in the middle, and the rest of the book is coping with that. No, I won't tell you what it is. Go read the book. It's great.
It's about beauty, about the incredible tragedy of time passing, about art and the world, about love and marriage, about people. It's not only a book about life, it is a book of life itself.
So maybe it's not written for our 30 second commercial, read at the bus stop age.
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114 of 117 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Many critics, teachers and readers consider To the Lighthouse to be Virginia Woolf's masterpiece. To the Lighthouse was published in 1927 and its structure is unique, although it does contain elements of the Victorian. Woolf wrote this novel in only one year and did very little rewriting. Both subtle and sharp, the ease with which the book was written is apparent in the flow of both its narrative and its prose. The novel was written during one of the brief peaceful and happy times in Woolf's life. (In 1895, after her mother's death, Woolf became almost continuously depressed and suffered a series of nervous breakdowns, culminating in her suicide by drowning in 1941.)
To the Lighthouse, like Woolf's previous novel, Jacob's Room, is a somewhat disjointed story, possessing numerous characters, points-of-view and conflicts. The overlapping and separation of the characters and their stories seems to result from both intention and oversight and is a product of what Woolf referred to as "all characters boiled down," and the "break of unity in my design."
The story centers around the summer vacation to the Isle of Skye of the Ramsey family, a family Woolf admitted was very much like her own. In fact, Woolf said that writing To the Lighthouse helped her "rub out" the obsessive memory of her own mother. Mrs. Ramsey, like Woolf's own mother, is a woman of decidedly Victorian ideals, choosing to focus on her home, her marriage and her family.
Interacting with Mrs. Ramsey is the character most representative of Woolf, herself, Lily Briscoe, a young girl who is staying in the same beachouse as the Ramseys. Unmarried, Lily draws both disapproval and sympathy from Mrs.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply, the most beautiful, illuminating, and period-defining book I have ever read. The prose is smooth and fluid, and if you let it carry you into the book, it will completely absorb you. I understand how stream-of-consciousness can be difficult, but rather than fighting the stream in an attempt to understand every sentence, I recommend 'going with the flow' for the first few pages and letting your visceral reactions to the emotions and ideas in the book guide you.
This is a book about transitions; from childhood to adulthood, from an era of clearly defined roles to one of liberation; it is a book about the things people need from each other but have difficulty communicating; it is a book about the impossibility of communication and the other subtle ways we attempt to bridge the divide between ourselves and other people. I doubt these topics will ever be addressed as elegantly.
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116 of 128 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on April 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
I haven't read To the Lighthouse since college, a time at which I understood very little about it, but was still greatly moved. Two things struck me about the experience of re-reading it. One is that while I can't claim full understanding, I no longer found myself struggling with the form in order to read the book. The second is how much more resonant the book became for me now that I'm older and can identify more with Mrs. Ramsey instead of seeing the book only through the character of Lily Briscoe.
To the Lighthouse centers around the Ramsey family and the people they bring in their wake to their home on the Isle of Skye. Families in the world of this book are fragile things. The first half creates the Ramsey family group so well that when the second half is without it, the reader is constantly aware of the ghost images standing in the empty spaces. Meanwhile, Lily tries to understand the world she's in and make her painting by meditating about the Ramseys and how much has changed in the world around them.
The book is tremendously beautiful and sad. I'll look forward to re-reading it again in another ten years.
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