Skip navigation

Office of the Registrar

Course Information

ENRICH-0471 – Lit: To the Lighthouse (ENRICH-0471_VWLF)

Dusting Off the Classics: Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse

We all yearn to sail to the quintessential "lighthouse" of our hopes and dreams. But how do we envision in our mind's eye such a profound and potentially life-changing journey, what is necessary to then actually embark upon it, what is needed to sustain us along the way, and is it ever possible to truly arrive at our desired destination? Such are some of the essential questions posed by one of the most dazzling and virtuosic artistic creations of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf's 1927 novel To the Lighthouse, written amidst the turbulent societal and cultural changes sweeping through the British Isles and beyond in the years following the "Great War." Join Dr. Richard Sacks, who spent four decades at Columbia University teaching its core great books course—which began in the ancient Mediterranean world and regularly culminated with To the Lighthouse—in a close reading of the wondrous landscapes, seascapes and mindscapes in Woolf's astonishing masterpiece. To the Lighthouse is at once an elegiac remembrance of Woolf’s parents and family, especially her mother, and at the same time a post-impressionistic journey challenging us all to sail beyond the normal temporal and spatial boundaries governing how we see things, how we remember things, and how we try to process the never-ending streams of consciousness flowing through our daily lives.

Four Zoom sessions
Tue., Apr. 20, 27, May 4, 11, 2021, 6:30-8:30pm MT


Richard Sacks taught literature, mythology and linguistics at Columbia University for 40 years. He also regularly participated in Columbia's well-known Core Curriculum, teaching its great books course and giving lectures to faculty on the challenges of teaching texts ranging from the Iliad and Odyssey to biblical narratives such as Genesis and the Gospels.
Course Details

Course is Full

Please contact the department offering the course for more information.