To The Lighthouse Essay, Research Paper
Modernism and Modernist writers in general:
As a concept Modernism it is difficult to define. In its broadest definition it refers to not only the changes in literature but also the radical changes remarks in Europe and America before 1914 (the Great War)
In 1910 King Edward died and George V come to throne. Some new young poets like Gregorians became successful with their works.
This time is a transition from Victorian novel to the Modern novel. So, we cannot exactly separate the authors and their works, as they are Victorian or Modern. The novels written in this period can be titled in three groups. The novels written in old Victorian tradition, the other group is the novels that were not significant with their language, style and form; but actually analysing people s psychologies and their inner life and contradictions and the third group is that gives more importance to its form and style as well as the characters psychologies, their inner life, conflicts and their relation to the real world. (Theme and art are both important) The most significant authors of these type novels are James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. D. H. Lawrence suits the second group. He is said to be profoundly traditional as well as profoundly modern His earlier work, Sons and Lovers, is more traditional. In Virginia Woolf s works personal experiences forms the whole substance of the novel, but for her style; it is true to say that she uses mostly the interior monologue, and steam of consciousness technique.
Both stories; D. H. Lawrence s Sons and Lovers and Virginia Woolf s To the Lighthouse were written almost at the periods, 1913 and 1927; respectively.
The years 1910-1930 were the richest periods of English Literature History. (Comparing to seventeenth century and Victorian period) D.H. Lawrence and other authors tended not to reject past but the recent past. Mythological antiques inspired them.
As I said before; modernism in English Literature did not affect all the writers. Also, most modern writers were actually not English. Definitely d. h. Lawrence was English but his father was Nottinghamshire miner. Very few writers had traditional university education. Other Modernists were coming from different cultural and ethnic groups. Virginia Woolf was also English but she was coming from a Victorian family, her father was an academic had a big library in which Virginia could read books at her young age.
Some similarities and differences between two writers and their works:
D. H. Lawrence third book and according to British readers it was his best, Sons and Lovers, had a main theme, sexuality, and its place in human relations. Industrialism (class distinction) and art were others. According to him; lit. and art should enlarge human s sympathies, so he hated art, which was keeping human s sympathy distanced. His language was rather easy and daily. (Mr. Morel was not careful his language)
Virginia Woolf, growing up among the intellects of her time and with her own gift to write, became very successful. To the lighthouse, her most famous novel, is full of metaphors and symbols. Her novel is concerned with nature of art and artistic creation . For example; Lily Briscoe an artist in the story, is a pure metaphor of herself. To the lighthouse is novel more concerned with personal matters rather than with public matters.
The novels cannot be analysed apart from the authors lives. While analysing and interpreting works we should consider the author s life in terms work. These two novels in some respects can go with autobiographical novel type which is a kind of novel in which the subject of novel is inspired by author s own life and experiences. Both authors relationships throughout their lives contributed to their literature and books.
Virginia not only tells about her own life but also emphasizes the relationships between her mother and father.
Sons and Lovers is both autobiographical also bildungsroman in which the novel concentrates upon one character s development from early youth to some sort of maturity. In this novel we mostly see the relation of Paul between his mother and his lovers. In this novel all the characters, setting, time and incidents matches one to one with D.H. Lawrence s life. If anyone reads this book there s no further reading is needed for his biography. It starts from his childhood to his adolescence.
In both novels and also in authors real life mothers play the most influential part. For D.H. Lawrence his mother gave her all love, which she couldn t share with her husband, to her son; so it was more than a son-mother relation. This relationship had destructive results upon Paul and so had D.H. Lawrence. The setting Nottinghamshire (where D.H. Lawrence grew up). Time is The Great War, Industrialization and class -distinction were also significant. Mrs. Morel tried to regain her social position by means of her son, by sending him to school instead of mining and teaching him her religious belief (same in his own life.)
In Virginia Woolf s novel, the time is also The Great war years, but we only understand this from the second part of the book, time passes . The setting is anywhere, but important thing is that there is sea. Because for her sea played a very important place, sea symbolizes life time and its flow and changes in life. Lily Briscoe s role corresponds with Virginia . she is an artist and tries to prove that a woman can make art and can be as free as she desires. But on the other hand, she always needs Mrs. Ramsey s support and approval to do her painting. This also resembles with Virginia Woolf s own life. She had a hard life and she had breakdowns and she was in search of approval. A critic says she needed her mother s approval to measure her stature. The examples of two novels can be easily increasing by comparing their lives to their works.
Virginia Woolf was mostly used her experiment and for her people s feeling were more important than anything. She used internal monologues and stream of consciousness technique in her novel. Time concept was also significant in two novels. In both novels narration shifted from one to another like Mrs. Morel to Paul or Mrs Ramsey to Mr. Ramsey her child and Lily Briscoe.
Flash back techniques in the middle of present- time narration confuses time references.1 In To the Lighthouse the parts are divided in to three unequal parts and also the time they cover and in each part is just contrasting with the length of the passages.
Virginia Woolf was influenced by James Joyce s Ulysses and its style. D. H. Lawrence s novel shows a similarity with Oedipus complex, in which the son kills his father and marries with his mother.
There are many other similarities and differences in all aspects between the novels, authors and the way they perceive literature and their view of life.