How does Virginia Woolf take us to the hearts of the father, mother and child atthe core of this story? –for this is a portrait of a family, based on Woolf’s own memories of her childhood holidays at Talland House near St.Ives in Cornwall. In writing these scenes, Woolf was able to come to terms with the abrupt loss of her own idyllic childhood when she lost her mother at the age of thirteen.


She achieves her effect by building the novel upon two sentences, and variations upon them. The sentences concern that most British of subjects, the weather.



‘Yes, of course, if it’s fine tomorrow,’ said Mrs Ramsay. ‘But you’ll have to be up with the lark,’ she added.To her son these words conveyed an extraordinary joy .

‘But,’ said his father, stopping in front of the drawing-room window, ‘it won’t be fine.’

The dramatic tension between these two attitudes, between light and dark, positive and negative, the comic and the tragic stand out clearly for the child James, who simply longs to set sail without more ado across the bay to the distant lighthouse.


‘To the Lighthouse’


A re-telling of passages from the novel by formidable writer Virginia Woolf


Spoken by Vanessa Underwood


Orpheon Voices

‘bringing literature to life’


   at  The Branch (138 on West 15th St)

        Anthroposophical Society

        of New York City

       Tel.001 (212) 242-8945


   on Sunday 28th September 2008 at 5pm