LiteratureTo the Lighthouse

Discuss Virginia Woolf as a Novelist

6 Mins read

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was an English novelist, essayist, biographer, and feminist. Woolf was a prolific author, whose modernist style modified with every new novel. Her letters and memoirs reveal glimpses of Woolf on the center of English literary tradition throughout the Bloomsbury era. Woolf represents a historic moment when artwork was built-in into society, as T.S. Eliot describes in his obituary for Virginia.

“Without Virginia Woolf at the center of it, it would have remained formless or marginal…With the death of Virginia Woolf; a whole pattern of culture is broken.”

Virginia Woolf broke free from custom; she had additionally to discard the current type of the novel. But then she was pushed to invent her own method which might specify her personal imaginative and prescient of life. Her formulation for the novel was not humanity in action however in a state of infinite notion. The novel in her hands is not only an entertainment, or propaganda, or the vehicle of some mounted concepts or theories, or a social document, however a voyage of exploration to learn the way life is lived, and the way it may be rendered as it’s really lived with out distortion. She concentrates her consideration on the rendering of internal reality and provides refined and penetrating inlets into the consciousness of her characters. She cares little or no for narrating dramatic events.

It is to be famous that as a result of her essential goal as a novelist is to depict internal life of human beings, she has not ignored the world of outer reality, the warm and palpable life of nature. In reality, in her novels we discover that the metaphysical curiosity is embodied in purely human and private phrases that the bounding line of artwork stays unbroken, that the concrete images that are the very stuff of artwork are by no means sacrificed to abstraction, however are certainly more in proof than within the work of such writers as Bennett and Wells. The important subject matter of her novels is no doubt the consciousness of a number of characters, however the outer life of tree and stream, of bird and fish, of meadow and seashore crowds in upon her and lends her image after image, an important, sparkling and many-colored world of sight and scent and sound and touch.

Read About: To the Lighthouse; Themes

In Virginia Woolf’s novels we discover a rare creative integrity and so they show a well-developed sense of form. To communicate her expertise she needed to invent conventions as inflexible as or extra inflexible than the old ones that she discarded. And this she does in her finest novels of the middle and the ultimate interval— Mrs. Dalloway, To The Lighthouse, The Waves and Between the Acts. In every case a small group of individuals is chosen, and through their intently interrelated experience the reader receives his complete impression. We additionally discover that in every case certain images, phrases and symbols bind the entire collectively. So there are specific resemblances between them in structure or type. Apart from these basic resemblances every of these novels is a fresh try to unravel the issues raised by the departure from traditional conventions. So it’s noticed that every of her novels grows out of the preceding one and we see the germ of her later works of their predecessors.

One of probably the most excellent achievements of Virginia Woolf is that she represents the poetic and musicality of English novel. Among the English novelists she is foremost in lyrical method. She sets out on a quest for a mediating kind by way of which she may convey concurrently picture of life and manners and a corresponding picture of minds. She aimed towards conveying internal life and this could possibly be best achieved in a lyrical method. Hence it’s discovered that with the intention to enrich her language, she used vivid metaphors and symbols that are peculiar to poetry. Her language is the language of poetry; her prose model has the assonance, the refrains, the rhythms and the accents of poetry itself. Virginia Woolf’s lyrical narrative is predicated on a design on which numerous contents of consciousness are juxtaposed. The equilibrium between the lyrical and narrative artwork reveals how Virginia Woolf brilliantly achieves the telescoping of the poet’s lyrical self and the novelist’s omniscient standpoint. It is a case of unified sensibility, that’s, a mixing of the target and the subjective, which is taken into account to be the very best type of poetry significantly in modern poetry. Virginia Woolf’s “To The Lighthouse” reveals her lyricism in an excellent method and Time Passes’, the second part of this novel, has been described by the novelist herself as significantly representative of her lyric vein.

Stream of Conscious Technique:

To the novelists of the new school of human consciousness is a chaotic welter of sensations and impressions; it’s fleeting, trivial and evanescent. According to Virginia Woolf, the great process of the novelist needs to be ‘to convey this varying, this unknown and un-circumscribed spirit’. His essential business is simply to disclose the sensations and impressions to bring us near the quick of the thoughts. He needs to be extra involved with internal reality reasonably than outer. This is what is named ‘the stream of consciousness technique’. We are launched into inside life of a personality by the use of interior monologue. There could be very little intervention in the best way of explanation or commentary on the part of the novelist. This has been achieved by Virginia Woolf by really skillful use of ‘the interior monologue’ or ‘the stream of consciousness’ method. She has very efficiently revealed the very spring of action, the hidden motives which impel women and men to behave in a selected way. She has been in a position to take us straight into the minds of her characters and present the flow of ideas, sensations and impressions there. Thus Mrs. Woolf has been in a position to create a lot of memorable, many-sided and rounded figures, comparable to Mrs. Ramsay or Mrs. Dalloway, that are among the many immortals of literature.

Read About: To the Lighthouse; Role of Women

Virginia Woolf’s novels have a particular nature of reality. Jean Guiguet’s feedback on this are worth noting “Her reality is not a factor to be specified in some question of the universe: it is the Sussex towns, the London streets, the waves breaking on the shore, the woman sitting opposite her in the train, memories flashing into the mind from nowhere, a beloved being’s return into nothingness; it is all that is not ourselves and yet is so closely mingled with ourselves that the two enigmas—reality and self—make only one. But the important thing is the nature or quality of this enigma. It does not merely puzzle the mind; it torments the whole being, even while defining it. To exist, for Virginia Woolf, meant experiencing that dizziness on the ridge between two abysses of the unknown, the self and the non- self.”

Sincerity and Integrity:

Virginia Woolf had her personal authentic imaginative and prescient of life and she has ever remained truthful to her imaginative and prescient. And this truthfulness and this creative integrity is because of her excellent detachment from all personal prejudices and preconceived notions or from any personal end. Literary traditions and conventions, or social and political issues of the day nothing may deter her from writing in accordance with her imaginative and prescient, in accordance with the ideal which exists in her thoughts with unusual creative sincerity and integrity. And then Mrs. Woolf was a ‘naturalist’ in addition to a contemplative. In the view of Bernard Blackstone, “She observes new facts, and old facts in a new way; but she also combines them, through the contemplative act, into new and strange patterns. The outer is not only related to, it is absorbed into the inner life. Mrs. Woolf believed in the power of the mind and so she makes her reader think.”

Woolf’s Feminism:

It must be accepted that Virginia Woolf was a woman and naturally in her novels she provides us the woman’s standpoint. That is why we discover her relying more on intuition than on motive. We additionally discover in her a woman’s dislike for the world of societies churches, banks and faculties and the political, social and financial actions of the day have hardly any attraction for her. As a sheltered feminine of her age she had hardly any scope to have any information of the sordid and brutal facets of life. Thus we discover that her image of life doesn’t embrace vice, sordidness or the abject brutality of our age. So it could be inferred that Mrs. Woolf thus represents the feminism of the English novel.

Read About: To the Lighthouse and Stream of Consciousness

Virginia Woolf’s best achievement is that in her novels the stream of consciousness method finds a stability. She knew that artwork required a variety and ordering of material. Hence her work has a uncommon creative integrity. In fact she splendidly succeeded in imposing kind and order on the chaos inherent within the novel of subjectivity or ‘the stream of consciousness’ novel. And it was Mrs. Woolf who was additionally one of the crucial forceful and authentic theorists of ‘the stream of consciousness’ novel, and be her exposition of aesthetics of this sort of novel, she did a lot to throw light on its method, and to convey out its superiority to the traditional novel.

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