First things first: no, you are not an idiot.
The modernist literary movement tossed realism out the window and replaced it with sensory impressions and stream-of-consciousness narration in an attempt to “make it new,” as Ezra Pound put it. After all, post-WWI life could not be expressed through the old traditional forms. The result was a way of writing that confuses many readers and terrifies university students the second they see The Wasteland on their reading list, and with good reason: modernist literature is difficult. It is often dense, fragmented, full of obscure allusions, and thus asks more from the reader than your average novel. Tackling a modernist work demands commitment, patience, and attention, but if you are willing to put in the work, you can discover a whole new
world way of writing unlike anything you have ever seen before.
As someone who took a very long time to come to appreciate the movement (we’re talking years here), I know how daunting a book like To The Lighthouse can be. That’s why I have put together a list of five simple tips to get you going.