13. To the Lighthouse.

It was necessary now to carry everything a step further. With her foot on the threshold she waited a moment longer in a scene which was vanishing even as she looked, and then, as she moved and took Minta's arm and left the room, it changed, it shaped itself differently; it had become, she knew, giving one last look at it over her shoulder, already the past.

Our Water/Ocean cluster begins with Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. This curious novel describes two days (separated by ten dramatic years) in the life of the Ramsay family as they stay at their holiday home in the Scottish Hebrides with their assorted friends and hangers-on. But the novel does not concoct a wild plot; instead, it examines how the characters observe each other’s internal and emotional states. Chris and Suzanne explore the way Woolf and her characters try to capture not only the endless flow of time, but also those moments when people are configured just so and time seems to stand still.

Show Notes.

Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse. [In some countries, the text and an audiobook are now public domain.]

Margaret Atwood on reading To the Lighthouse as a teen, and again as an adult.

Vanessa Bell’s art.

Vanessa Bell’s dust jacket design for the first edition of To the Lighthouse.

The Hogarth Press.

The Bloomsbury Group.

Next episode: William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. [An online edition; free audiobook at Librivox.]

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