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Thread: To the Lighthouse - Viginia Woolf

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    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    To the Lighthouse - Viginia Woolf

    I've just just finished this book for the book club.

    There seems to be a bunch of different metaphors for the Lighthouse, does anyone have a clear idea of what the actual Lighthouse represents in the book?

    Disclaimer: I had to read this for the book club and do not normally read Virginia Woolf.

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    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Isn't the lighthouse simply a pretext, as important as any other, that supplies for a while something of a raison d'Ítre for the Ramsay family and a few "close" friends? And a decade, and a world war, later a few of them as good as reach it - well, almost. And that they seem to, might conceivably mean something, if not for them then for those, like Lily Briscoe and the late Mrs Ramsay, who don't.

    Isn't the lighthouse a destination not too different from where some of us are heading, either sooner or later or, as circumstances change, perhaps not at all? Best to keep positive, I think.

    Did you enjoy the novel, Tony? It rather grew on me after a slow start.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    The Stephen family went regularly to St Ives in Cornwall for the summer. Godrevy Lighthouse is just off the coast there.Virginia Woolf often writes of her great happiness on these family holidays which came to an end when her mother died.She was 13 when this happened.
    I don't necessarily see any symbolic meaning in the lighthouse per se, except perhaps as an important memory of childhood happiness and a reminder of its loss.
    I never understood why she changed the location of it Skye, though.
    I think the book is her masterpiece.

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    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    Isn't the lighthouse simply a pretext, as important as any other, that supplies for a while something of a raison d'Ítre for the Ramsay family and a few "close" friends? And a decade, and a world war, later a few of them as good as reach it - well, almost. And that they seem to, might conceivably mean something, if not for them then for those, like Lily Briscoe and the late Mrs Ramsay, who don't.

    Isn't the lighthouse a destination not too different from where some of us are heading, either sooner or later or, as circumstances change, perhaps not at all? Best to keep positive, I think.

    Did you enjoy the novel, Tony? It rather grew on me after a slow start.
    Gladys, I think your right, as the general theme is looking for purpose in life and leaving a legacy of some kind. A search. Does tie in with the lighthouse.

    I did enjoy it. It's a stetch for me, but I had to read it for the book club(another amusing thead). It's a bit like Proust in that Stream of consciousness style. Well, I can say I read a Virgina Woolf book. Not many guys can

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    Seasider
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    As a 2nd year Honours student I was asked to prepare and present a seminar paper on To the Lighthouse which I hadn't at that stage read. Our group was about 16 strong and evenly balanced as to men and women. Our tutor told me not to expect any of the men to attend...and they didn't. I asked later which of them had read the book and only 2 had. I don't why men don't find it simpatico.

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    it's a superb book that might look differently with a second read. motoring through it the first time, i only saw the light house as a convenient focus for the story instead of some deeper symbolism. I think this book was written on the fly by an extremely intelligent lady who can write a little. She lacks the polish and, am thinking, the work ethic of the very best writers, and so to me is a little below the top. e.g. to craft much of his verse I visualize Shakespeare going over and over it until the verse is perfect. Similar to the goethe biographies detailing the crafting of Faust. I never got this feeling of effort in To The Lighthouse, and so the art and turn of phrase there to me was more haphazard than u see in the very best. Nevertheless interesting book with many memorable images.

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    @ fbo252
    Sorry to say this but that is patronising nonsense.

    and contrary to your sentimental vision of Shakespeare obsessively editing his work until deemed perfect...his contemporary Ben Jonson said of him

    "I remember, the Players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing, (whatsoever he penn'd) hee never blotted out line."
    Last edited by Seasider; 08-12-2011 at 01:44 PM.

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    that would be remarkable indeed. however, I disbelieve Ben Johnson and the players. First, how would they know? Second, reading Mr. S closely everything is perfect in much of it down to pronouns and adverbs. always correct choice and phraseology. am unable to imagine any human extemporizing with the brilliance of much of Mr. S without careful editing and terrific amount of elbow grease. Johnson's statement implies Shakespeare lacked the personal pride to perfect his work whereas, if u read, and better yet, memorize the lines, the hand of extraordinary and imaginative editing is everywhere and fairly obvious. just my opinion. would be interested harold bloom's take. In fairness of V. Woolfe, I viewed TTLH as a family memoir, and I think somewhere she does even state she wrote it very rapidly over a few days of inspiration. I'd like to read more of her in a longer life. as it is, have decided to move on as I find others of slightly higher plane, which is in no way to patronize or to demean the great work of VW. Am glad to see a thread on her close in time to finishing the book.

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    Not wanting to stir up anything but why has this thread been moved? Plenty of other threads deal with single works and/or authors. Looking at the similar threads on THLH they are quite scanty.

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