Friday, March 28, 2008

Virginia Woolf

I think I post this every year from The Writer’s Almanac

It was on this day in 1941 that the novelist Virginia Woolf drowned herself in a river near her house (books by this author). She had long suffered from periods of depression, and modern scholars believe these depressions may have been symptoms of manic-depressive illness, also known as bipolar disorder.
In early March of 1941, she wrote in her diary that she had fallen into "a trough of despair." She wasn't satisfied with her most recent book, and she felt as though World War II was making writing insignificant. She wrote three letters in the weeks before she committed suicide, explaining her reasons for wanting to end her life. In the longest of the three, she wrote to her husband, "I feel certain that I am going mad again. ... I shant recover this time. ... I cant fight it any longer. ... What I want to say is that I owe all the happiness of my life to you. ... I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been."
Woolf left the letters where her husband would find them, and then on this day in 1938, she walked a half mile to a nearby river and put a heavy rock in the pocket of her fur coat before jumping into the water.

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