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Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse” Quotes (40 Quotes)


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  • Had they not been taken, she asked, to circuses when they were children? Never, he answered, as if she asked the very thing he wanted; had been longing all these days to say, how they did not go to circuses.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • Possibly the greatest good requires the existence of a slave class.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • He lay on his chair with his hands clasped above his paunch not reading, or sleeping, but basking like a creature gorged with existence.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • She felt... how life, from being made up of little separate incidents which one lived one by one, became curled and whole like a wave which bore one up with it and threw one down with it, there, with a dash on the beach.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • He looked very old. He looked, James thought, getting his head now against the Lighthouse, now against the waste of waters running away into the open, like some old stone lying on the sand; he looked as if he had become physically what was always at the back of both of their minds-that loneliness which was for both of them the truth about things.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")


  • So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • He smiled the most exquisite smile, veiled by memory, tinged by dreams.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • So that is marriage, Lily thought, a man and a woman looking at a girl throwing a ball
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • He turned from the sight of human ignorance and human fate and the sea eating the ground we stand on, which, had he been able to contemplate it fixedly might have led to something; and found consolation in trifles so slight compared with the august theme just now before him that he was disposed to slur that comfort over, to deprecate it, as if to be caught happy in a world of misery was for an honest man the most despicable of crimes.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • The sigh of all the seas breaking in measure round the isles soothed them; the night wrapped them; nothing broke their sleep, until, the birds beginning and the dawn weaving their thin voices in to its whiteness
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • Heaven be praised, no one had heard her cry that ignominious cry, stop pain, stop! She had not obviously taken leave of her senses. No one had seen her step off her strip of board into the waters of annihilation.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • The spring without a leaf to toss, bare and bright like a virgin fierce in her chastity, scornful in her purity, was laid out on fields wide-eyed and watchful and entirely careless of what was done or thought by the beholders.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • How then did it work out, all this? How did one judge people, think of them? How did one add up this and that and conclude that it is liking one felt, or disliking? And to those words, what meaning attached, after all?
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • The strange thing about life is that though the nature of it must have been apparent to every one for hundreds of years, no one has left any adequate account of it.
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")

  • If Shakespeare had never existed, he asked, would the world have differed much from what it is today? Does the progress of civilization depend upon great men? Is the lot of the average human being better now that in the time of the Pharaohs?
    (Virginia Woolf, "To the Lighthouse")


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