KYBau / Brown_Stocking

This essay is a close-reading of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, a favorite Modern novel which exemplifies the narration as the ‘stream of consciousness’. Readers are, on the one hand, allowed into the inner mind of the characters; yet, they are simultaneously only given mere impressions of it. Sentences depicting a ‘realm beyond reality’ dominate in the novel, as Erich Auerbach puts it, serving a mirroring function insomuch as to reflect within the reader the uncertainty of perception. In sum, there is a fusion of interior time with the neo-Platonic idea that the true prototype of a given subject is to be found [more truthfully] in the soul of the artist’.

Triviality and temporal disjuncture are also characteristics of this novel. The reader soon realizes ‘the contrast between the ‘exterior’ and ‘interior’ time’, as well as their lack of commonality and importance. Such a framing device serves as a critical commentary on the highly romanticized novels which preceded it in the earlier century.