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The Core Curriculum

To the Lighthouse, by Patrick Wolf, 2003

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To the Lighthouse, by Patrick Wolf, 2003.

Patrick Wolf's song To the Lighthouse appeared on his Lycanthropy album.  The lyrics include images of war and the emotions of lost dreams and fear. The mention of war in Wolf's song not only connects to World War I in Virginia Woolf's novel but also to her life and, more specifically, her death.  In the line "Build your castle, stop collecting stones and the riverbed shall not be your home," Wolf intimates Woolf's depression during the years of World War II and her tragic suicide where Woolf filled her pockets with stones and drowned herself in the River Ouse in 1941.

In Wolf's video, directed by Ingrid Z, a fuzzy collage of flickering, unfocused images mimic the words, imagery and writing style in Woolf's novel.  The video's images do not recount or narrate a clear story but rather suggest and intimate ideas and thoughts.  The music is based on a descending tetrachord, a repeating four-note pattern that is often used to musically signify a lament.  The mournful lament can be tied to the death and destruction of war, the many deaths of the Ramsay family in Woolf's novel and Virginia Woolf's own suicide.


Attributions: YouTube, Patrick