chapter  6
20 Pages

To the Lighthouse

Published two years after Mrs. Dalloway in 1927, To the Lighthouse supplies not only an in-depth view of the lives of one upper middle-class British family while on holiday prior to the First World War, but also Woolf’s fullest exposition of the creative process as experienced by a single artist in her fiction. Setting the novel’s action on a remote island off the coast of Scotland during September of a year before the war and then, following the war, during the same month ten years later, Woolf provides something akin to a laboratory view of the complex relations that make up the lives of Mr. Ramsay, a scholar of philosophy, his wife, and their large family of eight children. Also presented are the relationships between members of the family and their summer guests, who include William Bankes, a widowed botanist, and Augustus Carmichael, a poet, both of whom are old friends of Ramsay; Charles Tansley, an ambitious young doctoral student; and Lily Briscoe, an unmarried woman and friend of the family who paints.1