To the Lighthouse
to the lighthouse
“There it was before her - life. Life: she thought but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband. A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimes they parleyed (when she sat alone); there were, she remembered, great reconciliation scenes; but for the most part, oddly enough, she must admit that she felt this thing that she called life terrible, hostile, and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance.”
- to the lighthouse - most certainly, to the great displeasure of proponents not of the realist and modernist techniques, which verily are disagreeable to the uninitiated - is without a doubt, a piece of literature, inasmuch as it enacts life without, in itself, enacting the truest forms of life as it is, for it is merely a piece, or rather a masterpiece, if viewed through the eyepieces of peaceful literature analyses, or the individuals overseeing the analyses, or imagination, masterful imagination at that, documented into a novel, or a conglomeration of ideas and undoubtedly a piece of work which will, probably and most likely, be instrumental in to architecture of modernism, a Virginia Woolf novel.
yes, of course
to Woolf these words conveyed an extraordinary joy, as if it were settled, or more than settled, on the premise that the words were unsettling, or on the literary exposition that was bound, or at least was almost bound, to take place, and to the wonder to which the many readers had looked forward, for perhaps years and years, or so it seemed, was, after a paragraph and a quote, perhaps finally in touch.
for she came to belong, at the age of forty-five, to the great clan of writers, esoteric in nature, which cannot help but inevitably reveal the joys and sorrows of future prospects, whilst unknowingly clouding their most animistic instincts, forcing the hand of the animist to perhaps crystallize and transfix the moment upon which the gloom of radiance and the radiance of gloom, inextricably interlinked albeit ostensibly separated.
she was unable to effectively transmit ideas, what with her senses dimmed, with the radiance toned down till but a candela, and resorted to the reconstruction of intellectual pieces, while inserting, and in fact at times propagating the inherent psychological undertones and mental tendencies, her thoughts and beliefs to subjugate the intelligentsia under the guise of innovation.
and thus, when Melymbrosia was given, or accorded accordingly, through the critical critics and the intelligent intelligentsia, the three words of affirmation, which perhaps at some other time could be seen as something deceptive, Woolf laughed, but now with every trace of wilfulness abolished, and in stead, instead, was a lingering feeling which can only be described as an Achilles' heel, a result borne perhaps of eudaimonia.
the only logical course of action after Melymbrosia, or the novel later called The Voyage Out, would be to extend her philosophical inquisition, as reflected, partially due to the influence of traditional modernists such as Marcel Proust and James Joyce, notwithstanding the recurring criticisms of the pre-raphaelites, and the aesthetes as well, conflating philosophical investigations with the art of lying, which were largely dimmed figures what with the deadening societal notion of extravagance, in Mrs. Dalloway; she did, however, innovate and attempt to instigate another course of action, which, would in fact bring about a different illumination from that which she intended to implement, that is, she was to start the writing of to the lighthouse; or in Woolf's own words, yes, of course.
complexity and complicacy
the stream of consciousness technique, as experimented with by many modernist writers in order to create the effect of a narrator which conveyed all of the human spirit, both conscious and unconscious, is perhaps the most important, and interesting, for it is of great interest to the reader who intends to identify identities from the intensity of the novel, for it is a lighthouse in itself, shining and reflecting beams of ambivalence whilst at the same time connecting individuals hailing from different platforms; another manifestation of the lighthouse motif is the Ramsay household, or rather the house, for a house is not a household when it is not the household members who are residing in the house, rather it is merely a house and not a household nor a home but a house, for it attracts visitors and travelers, and in fact provides them with residence, and like a lighthouse it is a path, a way in which the sheep can be shepherded, a beam of light akibg which individuals without bearing can reorientate themselves, to develop and mature and eventually free themselves of their unknown chains.
therefore, through this concept of the lighthouse, or the physical manifestation of this concept, the Ramsays are inadvertently exposed, perhaps without their wanting, to various individuals who reside in their house, ranging from the most complex, who at times are exceedingly sensitive, in turn causing the Ramsays to reciprocate, or rather return in kind, or in unkind, to the point that individuals are unable to properly interact, save for the select few who are oblivious, to the oblivious.
sympathy is another recurring motif, espoused especially through the Ramsays, in their thirst, which inevitably led to a disaster, even though the largest disaster of all, the death of Mrs Ramsay, and to a certain extent Andrew, was not the result of this thirst, but rather the straining and constraining corollary of emotional and psychological relationships, especially within the Ramsays; the Freudian archetypes are clearly illustrated, with James and his father undergoing, if you will forgive the image, a rough passage, and rather rocky, if not disastrous, shores, all part and parcel of the oedipal complex; it was later proven that Woolf did indeed research Freudian theory, and investigate the emotional ties through plunging, herself, into the messy character web, woven by herself, but not developed by herself, for she believed that the characters developed on their own, she was merely the architect of a building that was not to be completed; for understanding the complexity of individuals is the ultimate vanity of the pre-modernist author, and ties back to the complicated issue of the complexity of human emotion, and more often than not the Modernist reader, in his attempt to eviscerate the stagnant part of himself in an effort to understand, and therefore develop his fecundity, his comprehension of the novel and its complexity, how sympathy for an individual can possibly, and most evidently eventually, as depicted in the text, is left to reflect on complexity and complicacy shrouding the complexity and complicacy of the individuals regarding the complexity and complicacy of the novel.
but it is with great satisfaction, exuberance of emotion almost, that the reader finds out that in fact, the trip does occur, even though it is not due to the expected reasons but rather to Mrs Ramsay passing, rather unfortunately, away, and which leads to rather ironical juxtaposition of the most traditional of trips in this most modernist of texts, taking into account all the while that the novel has now, by some scholars, been identified as traditional modernism with teleological beliefs which dictate that, as Newton aptly, or rather scientifically, as it is more so applied to the sciences than the humanities, phrases it, that there is always an equal and opposite reaction for every force, whereby the initial force in this case can be identified as the chunks of experience through which the Ramsays have passed through, in their quest to reach the lighthouse, while the second force is represented by their ultimate maturation embarkation to the lighthouse.
conversely, this masterpiece has also been claimed as a defense of the non-teleological, inasmuch as the novel seems to be overbearing through the expositions of its characters through a sudden turn of events, especially those regarding Mr Ramsay, who although apologetically, seems to be versatile, even somewhat like glue - except that the glue does not dry and is full of substance - for he was a man, or at least is portrayed as such, who identified with the ethical and academic intelligentsia of the Victorian community, through his writings and existentialist criticisms, without which the book could very easily be classified as teleological; but it is the inclusion of Mrs Ramsay who is more than capable of arousing the emotional capacity of Mr Ramsay, and with sufficient doses of her essence, or her rapier sharp wit, he unequivocally reignites his latent heat, and therefore causes the change, reaffirming the novel's teleologism.