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FROM THE FOREWORD BY PHILIP DOSSICK
The thrill of reading Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse is the feeling of looking into a whirlpool just as something utterly extraordinary and unexpected materializes for the first time.
The language itself dazzles: vivid, evocative, poetic language, that challenges the best of James Joyce, with Woolf's gift for inner dialogue—the lies her characters relentlessly tell themselves—which in turn reveal them to us.
Most captivating is the range of development, the sheer technical fluidity on display. However idiosyncratic, it's like looking at that classic hieroglyph of human development—homo sapiens—in slow motion.
To The Lighthouse has it all: life, death, fantasies of suicide, homoerotic desire, lesbianism, and the evanescence of time. Love, fear, solitude, death—the subjects float by like parasols in the rain.
Her characters are strikingly real. We live in that troubled old house with them. Nothing much happens; yet in the tragic futility, the absurdity, the divine pathos, the delicate beauty of contemplation, all of life happens.
To The Lighthouse can be found on countless lists of the finest novels of the 20th century, and is one of Virginia Woolf's major achievements. It is considered her greatest work after Mrs. Dalloway.
Stick with it and you’ll find this landmark novel a captivating reward well worth the effort.
To The Lighthouse is one of Virginia Woolf’s rare and genuine masterpieces; an enchanting work of artistry deserving of the label in a thousand different ways.
PHILIP DOSSICK is the New York Times critically acclaimed writer and director of the motion picture The P.O.W. He has written for television, including the outstanding drama, Transplant, produced by David Susskind for CBS. His most recent books include Aztecs: Epoch Of Social Revolution, Sex And Dreams, Mark Twain In Seattle, Raymond Chowder And Bob Skloot Must Die, and The Naked Citizen: Notes On Privacy In the Twenty-First Century.
British actress Juliet Stevenson makes for a better reader of Woolf's words than Nicole Kidman's Oscar-winning turn as Woolf in The Hours. Stevenson carefully sorts through Woolf's famously tangled modernist masterpiece about the interior lives of a well-to-do British family, and the ways in which the First World War permanently damaged European society. She reads in an amplified hush, her exaggeratedly formal British diction adding poignancy to the sense of dislocation and disorder that marks the book's transition from pre- to postwar. Her reading is quietly, carefully precise, and that precision is a solid complement to Woolf's own measured, inward-looking prose.