Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is now generally recognized as the author of two of the twentieth century’s greatest literary works, To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway, both of which employ a style of narration that has come to be known as “stream of consciousness” because it focuses on the interior—and not always logical—movement of thought that make up the better part of most people’s psyches.
The Ramsays are holidaying in the Hebrides, and young James Ramsay is keen to visit a lighthouse; his father and mother respond quite differently to the idea, but his father prevails. Through this and a variety of other incidents a portrait of the family and their friends comes into focus; most clearly of all, at the family’s centre, the consciousness of Mrs. Ramsay emerges. In the book’s final section, Mrs. Ramsay has died, as have two of the Ramsay children—Andrew in the war, Prue in childbirth. In this sombre context, James and his father finally make the trip to the lighthouse.
This Broadview edition provides a reliable text at a very reasonable price. It contains textual notes but no appendices or introduction.