Thursday, April 25, 2019
A to Z: Letters to Dead Writers: Virginia Woolf
This month I'm writing one post for each letter of the alphabet, all on the theme of "Letters to Dead Writers." You can see my theme reveal post here and learn more about the blogging challenge here.
Today's writer is Virginia Woolf
I first read your books as a college student. First was Mrs. Dalloway, a book that is both about everything and nothing at the same time. An entire life contained in the events of a single day.
I have to admit that I didn't instantly fall in love with your stream-of-consciousness style. But I was fascinated by your portrayal of the subtleties of a person's heart. You "got" sadness.
Unfortunately, you got it too well. You died at your own hand. People say now that you may have had bipolar disorder, something the medical establishment knew very little about in the 1930s and 1940s. Certainly they didn't know enough to help you. We lost you to suicide. I like to think it would have been different for you if you lived now. I hope it would.
I recently read To the Lighthouse, and gasped as I read, recognizing so many of the situations: the way men and women speak past each other, the difficulty of finding your way as an artist.
Your style may have been radical, but your themes remain universal. A Room of One's Own shouldn't be a radical idea, but so may of us still struggle for literal and figurative space for our art.
I wish you'd found a lasting place for yours.