I’m a little bit afraid of Virginia Woolf

Reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf right now. It’s been ages since I’ve attempted to read anything by her. I read A Room of One’s Own back in College in a Women’s Studies class, but I couldn’t relate to any part of it at that time. I was quite heartened a couple of days ago when, after getting through the first few pages of Lighthouse, I began to pick up on her rhythm and voice once I caught on the her stream of consciousness, and greatly enjoyed the first part, which describes Mr and Mrs Ramsay and their interactions with their guests and children, the narration fluidly moving from one character’s thoughts to another. Then everything fell apart and I got absolutely lost when the narrative changed completely and was suddenly skipping quickly ahead through time. I couldn’t make heads nor tails of it. It would have been helpful if I’d paid more attention to the title of part 2: Time Passes, but the prose, always beautiful, became much more poetic and since I’ve never much understood about poetry, try as I might, it felt like I was swimming far out to sea in unfamiliar currents. Since it’s a short book and the third part (The Lighthouse) is closer in tone to part 1 (The Window), I’ll persevere and finish it. It’ll be worth my while even if I won’t have understood all of it. I don’t keep many books once I’ve read them for lack of space, but I intend to keep this one to read later on, when, having already gone through it once, I’ll probably understand it on a whole other level next time.

I’ll be receiving Mrs Dalloway from BookMooch soon and feeling a bit apprehensive because I remember giving it a shot a few years ago and feeling very discouraged and utterly lost. Somehow, I intuit that if I can just get past whatever barrier prevents me from feeling at ease with Virginia, a whole new level of appreciation for great literature will open up to me.

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5 thoughts on “I’m a little bit afraid of Virginia Woolf

    • why thank you. That image immediately came to mind when I wanted to describe what it felt like for me. Also, being on a small boat in choppy waters. Somehow, fluids come to mind for me when reading/thinking about Virginia, whether consciously or not but seems appropriate enough considering everything. xx

    • I have no doubt that it is it just seems that with Virginia Woolf, there’s not a lot of times that I can just sit back and enjoy the prose washin over me… it’s more like serious intellectual work and not terribly relaxing. Or that’s what it’s been like in my experience so far.

  1. Books and movies, at least the well written ones always seem to speak to me in a different voice depending on what stage in life I am. I always enjoy the little light bulb moments of understanding something I missed the first time because of lack of experience and wisdom.

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