Virginia Woolf, Modernism, Materialism, T.J. Clark, Heidegger
In this paper, I argue that the “lighthouse” in Virginia Woolf’s novel To The Lighthouse operates as a symbol for Mrs. Ramsay’s “self-hood” and for Mr. Ramsay’s obscure desire for sanctuary and domesticity in Mrs. Ramsay. Through this symbolism I further contend that Woolf renders the ambiguous processes associated with self-hood and desire materially legible and, in doing so, demonstrates how metaphor and symbolism reconstitute our material world into representation. Moreover, I argue that we can conceptualize the lighthouse symbolism revolving around and centered in Mrs. Ramsay in terms of T.J. Clark’s “dual figure”; a figure with two symbolic connotations that never quite coalesce.
Issue and Volume
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
"To The Lighthouse or To Mrs. Ramsay? A Study of Materialization Through the Symbolism of the Lighthouse in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse,"
Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism: Vol. 15:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/criterion/vol15/iss2/8