May 31, 2010

Virginia Woolf's Last Letter

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th Century, having produced several novels, short stories, and diaries. A number of traumatic events in her life, such as the death of her parents in her teens and sexual abuse at the hands of her half-brothers, may have contributed to the depression that plagued her throughout her life. Although her literary output remains largely unaffected, she was subject to periodic mood swings and associated illnesses until her suicide at age 59.

In a letter to her husband, regarded as her suicide note, she revealed a glimpse of life as a voice-hearer:




I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that - everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been.


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