Virginia Woolf's lyrical, nostalgic novel centres at first on a family holiday in Skye where the subtle shifts of tension and affection between the Ramsays and their guests are delicately explored. James, the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Ramsay, has a devout wish to visit the lighthouse but his father, a rather pompous, philosophical man, seems determined to disappoint him. It is only many years later, when the war has brought dramatic changes to society and to the Ramsay family in particular, that the journey is made under very different circumstances.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is now generally recognized as the author of two of the twentieth century's greatest literary works, To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway, both of which employ a style of narration that has come to be known as "stream of consciousness" because it focuses on the interior—and not always logical—movement of thought that make up the better part of most people's psyches. The Ramsays are holidaying in the Hebrides, and young James Ramsay is keen to visit a lighthouse; his father and mother respond quite differently to the idea, but his father prevails. Through this and a variety of other incidents a portrait of the family and their friends comes into focus; most clearly of all, at the family’s centre, the consciousness of Mrs. Ramsay emerges. In the book's final section, Mrs. Ramsay has died, as have two of the Ramsay children—Andrew in the war, Prue in childbirth. In this sombre context, James and his father finally make the trip to the lighthouse. This Broadview edition provides a reliable text at a very reasonable price. It contains textual notes but no appendices or introduction.
From the Back Cover
One of the greatest literary achievements of the 20th century and the author's most popular novel. The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, together with their children and assorted guests are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Virginia Woolf constructs a remarkable and moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life, and the conflict between male and female principles.
From the Inside Flap