Quotes from To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

“They came to her, naturally, since she was a woman, all day long with this and that; one wanting this, another that; the children were growing up; she often felt she was nothing but a sponge sopped full of human emotions.”

“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?”

“It was love, she thought, love that never clutch its object; but, like the love which mathematicians bear their symbols, or poets their phrases, was meant to be spread over the world and become part of human gain. The world by all means should have shared it, could Mr Bankes have said why that woman pleased him so; why the sight of her reading a fairy tale to her boy had upon him precisely the same effect as the solution of a scientific problem.”

“Oh, but she never wanted James to grow a day older or Cam either. These two she would have liked to keep for ever just as the way they were, demons of wickedness, angels of delight, never to see them grow up into long-legged monsters.”

“ A little strip of time presented itself to her eyes, her fifty years. There it was before her-life. Life: she thought but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor husband. A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimes they parleyed (when she sat alone), she felt this thing called life terrible, hostile, and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance.”

“Children never forget. For this reason, it was so important what one said, and what one did, and it was a relief when they went to bed. For now she need not to think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated.”

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