Candace Couse

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Letters on the Death of Virginia Woolf


Moving  letters on the death of Virginia Woolf are collected in Afterwords: Letters on the Death of Virginia Woolf (public library), edited by University of Sussex researcher Sybil Oldfield — a rousing monument to Woolf’s legacy as an author, humanist, and tireless exponent of the inner light of being.

Darling Ethel I wish I could say something comforting. All I can feel is that it is better for her to be dead than mad, and I do thank God that she has not been found. The river is tidal so she has probably been carried out to sea. She loved the sea.
- Virginia’s one-time lover and lifelong friend Vita Sackville-West

Dear Leonard
I only learned the news yesterday afternoon when I was in London, having had no previous intimation. For myself and others it is the end of a world. I merely feel quite numb at the moment, and can’t think about this or anything else, but I want you to know that you are as constantly in my mind as in anyone’s.
Affectionately,
Tom
 
But nothing is quite as poignant as some of Woolf's own words, written shortly before her death. Woolf writes:

Now is life very solid or very shifting? I am haunted by the two contradictions. This has gone on forever; goes down to the bottom of the world — this moment I stand on. Also it is transitory, flying, diaphanous. I shall pass like a cloud on the waves. Perhaps it may be that though we change, one flying after another, so quick, so quick, yet we are somehow successive and continuous we human beings, and show the light through. But what is the light?
I'm definitely going to be picking up Oldfield's Afterwords: Letters on the Death of Virginia Woolf very soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment