Approaches to Teaching Woolf’s To the Lighthouse

  • Editors: Beth Rigel Daugherty, Mary Beth Pringle
  • Pages: xiv & 211 pp.
  • Published: 2001
  • ISBN: 9780873527651 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873527668 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Woolf's To the Lighthouse Cover

Approaches to Teaching Woolf’s To the Lighthouse will be accessible and useful to a continuum of college professors likely to teach the novel, including experienced scholars of modern literature, literature professors who don’t usually read Woolf, and professors in nonliterary disciplines.”

—Jane Fisher, Associate Professor, Canisius College

“The essays present a wide range of interpretive and pedagogical approaches. This diversity will be stimulus to beginning instructors and a challenge to seasoned instructors, prompting us all to become more self-reflexive about what we do in the classroom.”

—Melba Cuddy-Keane, Associate Professor, University of Toronto at Scarborough

“Good, motivated, well-read students can have trouble reading To the Lighthouse,” admit the editors of this volume in the Approaches to Teaching series; “not-so-well-read students may have even greater difficulty.” Yet many instructors still find Woolf’s fifth novel her most accessible because it grapples with issues that interest students. The essays in this collection show how teachers can tackle the often threatening question “Why are we reading this?” with thoughtful answers that make the novel come alive in the classroom.

Like other books in the series, this volume is divided into two parts. Part 1, “Materials,” discusses the available editions of the novel and further reading for students, as well as reference works, bibliographies, critical works, and teaching aids. Part 2, “Approaches,” gathers twenty-one essays that provide instructors with strategies for introducing students to a difficult text. The first group of these essays focuses on how to read To the Lighthouse; the volume then presents a range of critical approaches, including autobiographical, contextual, and intertextual methods. As the editors note, all the essays “aim to help undergraduates new to Woolf’s novel become the readers Woolf ultimately wants: open, curious, sensitive, active.”