Updated June 5, 2002
Created August 14, 1997
1. Auerbach, Erich. "The Brown Stocking." Mimesis. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1946. 16-34. Auerbach studies Woolf’s technique of "a chance occasion releasing processes of consciousness." Almost everything is stated by way of reflection in the consciousness. He reviews the first few pages of To the Lighthouse and discusses who is speaking; what is reality and what is the interior voice? Auerbach also notices that time is often devoted to interludes in the characters’ heads rather than to actual occurrences. The exterior events in Lighthouse serve to interpret inner events. 2. Burt, John. "Irreconcilable Habits of Thought in A Room of One’s Own and To the Lighthouse." ELH 49.4 (1982): 889-907. Rpt. Bloom 191-205. Burt links the arguments of Room to the themes of Lighthouse as examples of Keatsian negative capability. He includes an analytical summary of the argument of Room and Lighthouse, showing two irreconcilable arguments, one progressive, the other nostalgic for the past. He concludes that it is not an argument but "a portrayal of how a mind attempts to come to terms with its world" (197). 3. Cohn, Ruby. "Art in To the Lighthouse." Modern Fiction Studies. 1962, Summer, 8.2 63-72. Cohn focuses on Lily’s love of Mrs. Ramsay and the fact that Mrs. Ramsay cannot take Lily’s art seriously. "Art needs life to nourish it" (65). Cohn proposes that Mrs. Ramsay is Lily’s nourishment, the life of her art. 4. Dash, Irene, Deena Kushner, and Deborah Moore. "How Light a Lighthouse for Today’s Women?" The Lost Traditions: Mothers and Daughters in Literature. Eds. Cathy Davidson and E.M. Broner. New York; Ungar, 1980. 176-88. Dash, Kushner, and Moore examine the challenges women face between "being mothers and being artists" (176). Dash and her daughters (Kushner and Moore), discuss the theme of choice from a mother, daughter, and artist perspective. 5. DiBattista, Maria. "To the Lighthouse: Virginia Woolf’s Winter’s Tale." Virginia Woolf: Revaluation and Continuity. Eds. Ralph Freedman and Maria DiBattista. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980. 161-88. DiBattista states that "the centrality of Mrs. Ramsay in To the Lighthouse would seem to confirm Woolf’s habit of thinking back through her mother" (163). She parallels the events of To the Lighthouse with Woolf’s private rite of passage. DiBattista states that "the creative self, the dutiful daughter, having found her mother and made peace with her father, no longer mourns, but is free to dream again" (188). 6. Levy, Eric. "Woolf’s Metaphysics of Tragic Vision in To the Lighthouse." Philological Quarterly. 75:1 (1996): 109-32. Levy states that, "characters display a similar tendency to reduce reality to the subjective inquiry concerning it" (110). He discusses how the journey to the lighthouse symbolizes the "tragic vision, where the object perceived is the transience of the perceiving subject and the tendency of time to efface the structures on which personal stability depends" (111). 7. Lilienfeld, Jane. "’The Deceptiveness of Beauty’: Mother Love and Mother Hate in To the Lighthouse." Twentieth Century Literature. 23 (1977): 345-373. Lilienfeld discusses the autobiographical elements of To the Lighthouse, focusing on the relationship between Lily Briscoe and Mrs. Ramsay as an outlet for Woolf’s feelings about her relationship with her mother, Julia Stephen. 8. Lilienfeld, Jane. "Where the Spear Plants Grew: The Ramsays’ Marriage in To the Lighthouse." New Feminist Essays on Virginia Woolf. Ed. Jane Marcus. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981. 148-69. Lilienfeld uses the "tools of feminist criticism" to examine Woolf’s vision of the Ramsays’marriage. She attempts to prove that Woolf both celebrates and criticizes it while "making clear the urgency for creating new modes of human love and partnership. She further discusses the marriage as an examination of her own parent’s relationship and of the "destruction wreaked by Victorian social arrangements on human capacities for freedom and growth" (149). 9. Matro, Thomas G. "Only Relations: Vision and Achievement in To the Lighthouse." PMLA 99.2 (1984): 212-224. Matro brings up Roger Fry’s formalist, post-impressionist aesthetic principles. Matro suggests that by using Fry’s aesthetic (with Lily’s painting specifically), one can "easily interpret Woolf’s achievement in the novel and the achievement of the characters." He believes that the novel "testifies to the truth that permanent values lie not in life but in art." Oneness can only be reached through art (Lily’s need to be one with Mrs. Ramsay). 10. Pratt, Annis. "Sexual Imagery in To the Lighthouse: A New Feminist Approach." Modern Fiction Studies. 1972. 417-431. Pratt points out the sections of extreme eroticism in To the Lighthouse. She follows the idea that Woolf developed (for Mrs. Ramsay) three interrelated sets of sexual imagery to portray a "pseudo-sexual adaptation forced upon her by the circumstances of her marriage and times." Pratt suggests that Woolf wanted to cast doubt on the Victorian concept of woman as beauty-of-the-world. She gives Mrs. Ramsay both male and female sexual characteristics in response to "Mr. Ramsay’s infantile asexuality." Pratt also utilizes the thoughts of Carl Jung in parts of her article. 11. Stewart, Jack F. "Color in To the Lighthouse." Twentieth Century Literature. 31 (1985): 439-455. Stewart sets out to prove that "Woolf’s search for spiritual essences is expressed in light and color" with color viewed as a sensitive medium for expressing both individual and universal experience. 12. Stewart, Jack F. "Light in To the Lighthouse." Twentieth Century Literature. 23 (1977): 377-388. Stewart discusses the essence of the Lighthouse symbol as Light itself. At various points throughout the novel Light is "the positive force of visionary consciousness, the negative counterpart of departed consciousness, and the reanimation of consciousness in a creative rhythm that seeks spiritual and aesthetic Oneness." He discusses the character of Mrs. Ramsay as identifying her being with the light, as well as the other characters’ need to draw to her as is shown in the journey to the Lighthouse.
Back to Virginia Woolf Seminar Home Page