Radical and celebrated in its day for breaking down structures, To the Lighthouse refuses the establishment of chronological order, instating another more poetic rhythm: the watery flooding potential from which time emerges, and not the other way round. As Woolf blends the novel's point of view across Mr and Mrs Ramsay and their summerhouse guests, the many subjectivities carry on a dialogue with their reader across porous boundaries.
As such, the story washes over you with its stream of consciousness Modernist style prose poetry, narrative that flourishes on the imaginary lives of its characters, explores their intimate conversations, dreams, fears, loves, memories, epiphanies, from the inside-out.
This is fiction writing that is dreamlike, painterly; held together on the one hand by the ordinary details of a single day spent in a summerhouse in the Hebrides islands west of Scotland, and on the other by articulated crossings-over between each of the subjects—the human islands—and their complex individual subjectivites. What remains is a series of unforgettable moments of being, lives held in both the presentiment and wake of WWI, lit up in fragmentary and nonetheless connected moments by the lighthouse’s eternally-present beam.
This episode of Literary Punk featuring Virginia Woolf's writing was recorded in Melbourne, Australia, on October 7th 2014 during Mental Health Week.