AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number2. May  2020                                   Pp.56 -68

Conceptual Symbolic Narration in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse and The Waves from a Reader-response perspective

Department of English, Faculty of Arts
Assiut University, Assiut,  Egypt


This study examines conceptual, symbolic narration in Virginia Woolf’s; To The Lighthouse and The Waves. The study applies the reader-response critical approach to explain the significance of Woolf’s metaphoric narration in achieving specific interactions and meanings within her readers’ minds. Firstly, it sorts out symbolic language in the two novels to figure out how readers receive them. The analysis shows the heavy use of conceptualized symbolic language to achieve particular meanings and create thematic responses. Secondly, the study clarifies the effect of the conceptual, symbolic narration in revealing the technical aspects in the novels both at the literal meaning and at the symbolic meaning. Thus, the study aims at explaining how the conceptual, symbolic narration plays a functional role in achieving reader-responses to enhance thematic purposes and ideas intended by the writer.

Cite as:

Aboudaif, S. A. (2020).Conceptual Symbolic Narration in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse and the Waves from a Reader-response perspective.  Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (2) .56 -68.


Ammar-Guirat, H. (2019). Impersonality Theory as Spatial Imagination in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Literary Imagination, 22(1), 42-57. https://doi.org/10.1093/litimag/imz064

Apter, T. A. (1979). Virginia Woolf – A study of Her Novels. London: Macmillan Press.

Buchner, H. (2019). The Function of the Mirror Image in the Perception of the Self in Virginia Woolf’s Fiction (Master). Universiteit Leiden

Chlack Randles, B. (1985). The waves of life in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves. In A. Tymieniecka (ed.), Poetics of the Elements in the Human Condition: The Sea (pp. 45-56). Dordrecht: Reidel.

Fayzullayeva, U. (2019). Experimental Novels, Written by Virginia Woolf. European Journal of Research and Reflection in Educational Sciences, 7(12), 1-5.

Flint, K. (2016). An introduction to To the Lighthouse. The British Library. Retrieved from https://www.bl.uk/20th-century-literature/articles/an-introduction-to-to-the-lighthouse.

Godfrey, T. (2019). “The Thing that Exists When We Aren’t There”: Narration and Mysticism in Virginia Woolf ’s Novels (Senior English Thesis). Providence College, Digital Commons@Providence.

Hanna, E. (2012). ‘I Am Rooted, But I Flow’: Virginia Woolf and 20th Century Thought. (Senior Thesis) Retrieved from http://scholarship.claremont.edu/scripps_theses/97

Johnston, J. (2014). Symbolism in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. (BA Thesis). Gothenburg University.

Leaska, M. A. (1977). The Novels of Virginia Woolf: From Beginning to End. London: Weidenfield and Nicolson

Li, Q. (2011). The Absent Presence: A Study of Percival in The Waves. English Language and Literature Studies, 1(1), 77-79. doi: 10.5539/ells.v1n1p77

Li, Q. (2019). Color Language Concerning Scenes in To the Lighthouse. In 2019 2nd International Conference on Arts, Linguistics, Literature and Humanities (ICALLH 2019) (pp. 271-274). UK: Francis Academic Press.

MacNeillie, A. (ed.). (1991). Essays of Virginia Woolf 1919-1924. United Kingdom: Harcourt on Demand.

Marsh, N. (1998). Virginia Woolf. New York: St. Martin’s Press; Houndmills: Macmillan.

Nicolson, N., & Banks, J. (1978). The letters of Virginia Woolf. London: Hogarth.

Nünning, V. (2017). “A Theory of the Art of Writing”: Virginia Woolf’s Aesthetics from the Point of View of Her Critical Essays. English Studies, 98(8), 978-994, DOI: 10.1080/0013838X.2016.1241055

Petry, S. (2007). Motifs and Symbols in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. GRIN Verlag GmbH.

Schapp, W. (1975). Conceptual Narration .Retrieved, from http://www.myzel.net/Narration/vorwort_en.html

Septiyana, A. (2019). An Analysis of Conceptual Metaphor Meaning in Owl City Songs. Counselor: Faizal Risdianto, S.S., M.Hum

Thakur, N. (1965). The Symbolism of Virginia Woolf. London. Oxford University Press

Tyson, L. (2006). Critical Theory Today: A User-friendly Guide (2nd ed.). Hoboken: Routledge.

Ward, J. (2003). Virginia Woolf and her symbols. English-literature-essays.com. Retrieved from https://www.english-literature-essays.com/woolf.htm

Woolf, V. (1954). To The Lighthouse. 1927; reprint, San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, HBJ Modern Classic edition.

Woolf, V. (1987). The Waves. New York: Cambridge Press.

Young, D. (1986). The Mythological Element in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves: Bernard’s Vision. Iowa Journal of Literary Studies, 7(1), 94-104. DOI: 10.17077/0743-2747.1195


Dr. Said Ahmed Aboudaif is a faculty member at the English Department, Assiut University, Egypt. English Literary criticism researcher and writer. I have published some books and articles related to that topic in international Journals and the Amazon site. I am interested in
Literature and translation. I have done my studies at home and abroad, where I have done academic studies at the University of Pennsylvania, USA and the University of Iowa, USA. Orcid id: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4389-9306