Virginia Woolf/ To the Lighthouse
He said nothing. He took opium. Thr children said he had stained his beard yellow with it. Perhaps. What was obvious to her was thst the the poor man was unhappy, came to them as an escape; and yet every year, she felt the same thing; he did not thrust her. She said, ‘I’m going to the town. Shall I get you stamps, paper, tobacco?’ and she felt him wince. He did not thrust her. It was his wife’s doing. She remembered that iniquity of his wife’s towards him, which had made her turn to steel and adamant there, in the horrid little room in St.John’s Wood, when with her own eyes she had seen that odious woman turn him out of the house. (…)
(Penguin Books, 1970)
Virginia Woolf died in 1941. Her first books were novels, and at the time of her death she had won a foremost place in English fiction, but she also ranks high among literary critics and essayists.
This novel was acclaimed on its appearance in 1927, and the Spectator commented that her genius was ‘at once more difficult and more original than that of any other novelist of today’.
The cover shows a detail from ‘The Red Skirt’, 1948, by Ceri Richards (photo Rodney Todd-White).
I bought this adorable little book way back in 1970, when I was a student at the University of Leuven.