Time and tide has taken me to the realms of 18th Century novels that it has not allowed me to crash on the couch we call “Virginia Woolf”. However, reading To The Lighthouse has been a pleasant experience.
Su Reid comments on how readers often misinterpret the difficulty of Woolf’s novel. Thus despite my initial exasperated difficulty to understand the novel, I was glad that I endeavoured through it. I don’t pretend to be used to the diction and form of the novel; in fact, most of it was a struggle.
Because To The Lighthouse is truly a Modern masterpiece.
There are many reasons why I believe Woolf’s novel is a Modern masterpiece. In her famous essay “Modern Fiction”, she writes about how the “[typical] writer seems constrained, not by own free will but by some powerful and unscrupulous tyrant who has him in thrall, to provide a plot…” Indeed, how true that is. To The Lighthouse has eluded the conventional novel structure, instead, she models for herself a new “framework of steel”, an alternative (?) for the novel.
The Modern Novel places an emphasis on realism. To stay as true to reality as much as possible. You know, when one reads about “reality” and staying true to “reality”, we often like to think it objective. However, what if “reality” is an amalgamation of subjective thoughts, hearts and minds? People are the source of all things “refreshing”. We may be creatures of habits, but when different creatures of habits meet, there is an explosion of colours.
“The perpetual task of poetry is to make all things new. Not necessarily to make new things.” (Eliot, T S). Hark that. To The Lighthouse has somehow, by an insidious (and perhaps conniving) and clever way, breathed life into novels. She does not claim refuge in the petty things like pandering to her readers, but there is still a hint of stylistic devices used to convey her thoughts to us.