Comfort in Virginia

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Reading…..Virginia Woolf’s biography and found some good words to hold on to ….

“Virginia was a sane woman who had an illness.  She was often a patient, but she was not a victim.  She was not weak, or hysterical, or self-deluding, or guilty, or oppressed.  On the contrary, she was a person of exceptional courage, intelligence and stoicism, who made the best use she could, and came to the deepest understanding possible to her, of her own condition.  She endured, periodically, great agony of mind and severe physical pain, with remarkably little self-pity.

She frequently uses the word ‘apprehensive’ to describe her states of mind.  The word is a crucial one:  the awful fear which accompanied her breakdowns and the possibility of their recurrence can never be underestimated.

What is certain is her closeness, all her life, to a terrifying edge, and her creation of a language which faces it and makes something of it.  This is a life of heroism, not of oppression, a life of writing wrestled from illness, fear and pain.”

Excerpt from biography ‘Virginia Woolf’ by Hermione Lee.  If you’re interested in Virginia’s story (Hollywood version), see movie, ‘The Hours’.  On the topic of ‘labelling’ people with conditions of mind (as Virginia was), watch previously featured clip, ‘Coming Unstuck’.

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