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To the Lighthouse Paperback – Bargain Price, December 27, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. It's wondrous to listen to a fine reading of a long-loved novel. Leishman makes masterly use of volume, timbre and resonance to distinguish between characters and draw us into the emotional swings and vibrations of the internal musings of each. She creates not a new but a more nuanced reading, following the interwoven streams of consciousness in a British English that lends authenticity to each voice. Leishman swims smoothly through Woolf's sentences that ebb and flow with numerous parenthetical thoughts and fresh images. These passages are interspersed with quick, sharp, simple sentences that gain strength in contrast. Leishman also draws our attention to Woolf's poetic prose: her rhythms and images, her use of hard consonants in monosyllabic words in counterpoint to long, soft, dreamy words and phrases. To The Lighthouse plays back and forth between telescopic and microscopic views of nature and human nature. Mrs. Ramsey is both trapped in and pleased in her roles as wife, mother and hostess. The introspective Mr. Ramsey is consumed with his legacy of long-since-published abstract philosophy. This is a book that cannot be read—or heard—too often. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Novel by Virginia Woolf, published in 1927. The work is one of her most successful and accessible experiments in the stream-of-consciousness style. The three sections of the book take place between 1910 and 1920 and revolve around various members of the Ramsay family during visits to their summer residence on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. A central motif of the novel is the conflict between the feminine and masculine principles at work in the universe. With her emotional, poetical frame of mind, Mrs. Ramsay represents the female principle, while Mr. Ramsay, a self-centered philosopher, expresses the male principle in his rational point of view. Both are flawed by their limited perspectives. A painter and friend of the family, Lily Briscoe, is Woolf's vision of the androgynous artist who personifies the ideal blending of male and female qualities. Her successful completion of a painting that she has been working on since the beginning of the novel is symbolic of this unification. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
There is the intriguing Lily Briscoe, who stays within the boundaries of the canvas, but is comfortable with changing its surface into oil-ordained permanence. But her personal surface, that which she painted in the presence of Mr. Ramsey, was but a temporary front, not terribly original, but sufficed for the moment. Lily also responds delightfully and negatively to the misogynistic assertion that women can’t write or paint.
Then there is James Ramsey, who is homologous to the typical academic, permanently insecure and self-absorbed, hypersensitive to criticism, perpetually requiring praise, with smugness and arrogance being immediate corollaries. This is someone with no rhythm in his personality and stale in his outlooks. He has a sense of life that deems it difficult, but not stoic in his reaction to it. Only in privacy does he feel safe, and he consistently requires sympathy from his wife and eight children. Being happy, or rather appearing to be so, was a vulgar confession, to be classified as nonsensical and trivial. If only this character were more colorful; if only he were a chatterbox of free-flowing language. If only he were not as a piece of Scottish limestone that will break into thin pieces even under the slight pressure and perturbation of criticism.
And Mrs. Ramsay, intimidated by change, engaging in false protection of her husband (with purported but unconvincing reverence), but aware of the masks she puts on when doing so, and always seeking comfort and solace in customs, the latter of which serve to quiet the soul, to protect it from the flux of Heraclitus. Happiness to her is a transient phenomenon, and she gladly and consciously accepted her children’s insights, believing that they had the distinct quality and ability to move her into the future.
This is a novel par excellence, where the genius of expression, the greatness of articulation, and the beauty of prose have a chance to combine and entangle themselves with the reader, who will after finishing it have one emotion that will stand out and overwhelm the others: astonishment...astonishment....astonishment....astonishment......
With every read, I promise you, it'll reveal different bits and new perspectives.
However, I'm biased. I've loved Woolf since reading "Mrs. Dalloway" and "Jacob's Room"
Whatever was said about her "...stream of consiousness" style of writing would have differing opinion today.... more like an example of a "manic" style of prose.
I enjoyed the all the perspectives and opinions of the characters. But the plot is definitely lacking.
Woolf's style is innovative and requires the reader's attention. Careful reading will introduce the reader to Woolf's philosophy so well written that the novel flows without interruption. The book can be read on two levels: for pure reading enjoyment or as a text for deeper philosophical trends that became popular in the 20th century.
KINDLE version: Although I believe this book can be easily read on the Paperwhite --- my favorite KIndle for "just reading" --- I believe those who want to delve deeper into the philosophy would be better served by the Kindle Fire. Additionally, there are pictures at the end of the book that show up well on the K-Fire HD.
Formatting is excellent for the Kindle