Why is Viginia Woolfe's To the Lighthouse considered a modern text?

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ronchar's profile pic

ronchar | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Virginia Woolfe's To the Lighthouse (1927) is a particularly modern work of fiction because of its structure, its treatment of time, and its development of character. Rather than following the traditional, linear structure of 19th-c. novels (this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens), "To the Lighthouse" follows the thoughts of its main character. Its movement is psychological, stream of consciousness rather than chronological. Time is also radically condensed--much of the story takes place on a single afternoon--a lack of movement that would have struck earlier writers are stagnant and illogical.  Finally, the novel's emphasis on psychological development shows the influence of such modernist writers are Freud and Jung.

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fizzjahan | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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To The Lighthouse does not follow the chronological time but psychological time which runs on a vertical scale and crosses the horizontal scale of chronological time in the middle. This technique "Stream of Consciousness" does not only follow the terrain of thoughts of various characters but also help us formulate opinions about them over the course of time. We jump from one mind to the other, also in the mind of a character we follow a chain of thoughts; synonymous to the erratic time pattern of mind-time.

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