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On Being Ill

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ISBN-10: 1930464061

ISBN-13: 9781930464063

Edition: 2002

Authors: Virginia Woolf, Hermione Lee

List price: $20.00
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In this poignant and humorous work, Virginia Woolf observes that though illness is part of every human being's experience, it has never been the subject of literature-like the more acceptable subjects of war and love. We cannot quote Shakespeare to describe a headache. We must, Woolf says, invent language to describe pain. And though illness enhances our perceptions, she observes that it reduces self-consciousness; it is "the great confessional." Woolf discusses the cultural taboos associated with illness and explores how illness changes the way we read. Poems clarify and astonish, Shakespeare exudes new brilliance, and so does melodramatic fiction! On Being Ill was published as an individual volume by Hogarth Press in 1930. While other Woolf essays, such as A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas, were first published by Hogarth as individual volumes and have since been widely available, On Being Ill has been overlooked. The Paris Press edition will feature original cover art by Woolf's sister, the painter Vanessa Bell. Hermione Lee's Introduction will discuss this "extraordinary" work, and explore Woolf's revelations about poetry, language, and illness. Virginia Woolf (1882__1941) is one of the great literary geniuses of the 20th century. Her innovative fiction and essays are revered by readers around the globe. She was a central member of the Bloomsbury group and a groundbreaking feminist, publishing book-length essays that continue to change the lives of women today. Her most popular novels include To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, and Orlando. When she was not writing, Virginia Woolf operated Hogarth Press with her husband Leonard Woolf. Hermione Lee is the acclaimed Virginia Woolf scholar and the author of Virginia Woolf (Knopf, 1997). Other books include Willa Cather and the forthcoming biography of Edith Wharton. She is Goldsmith's Professor of English Literature and Fellow of New College at the University of Oxford, England.
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Book details

List price: $20.00
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Paris Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/2002
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 64
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.484

Virginia Woolf was born in London, the daughter of the prominent literary critic Leslie Stephen. She never received a formal university education; her early education was obtained at home through her parents and governesses. After death of her father in 1904, her family moved to Bloomsbury, where they formed the nucleus of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of philosophers, writers and artists. As a writer, Woolf was a great experimenter. She scorned the traditional narrative form and turned to expressionism as a means of telling her story. Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927), her two generally acknowledged masterpieces, are stream-of-consciousness novels in which most of the action and conflict occur beneath a surface of social decorum. Mrs. Dalloway, set in London shortly after the end of World War I, takes place on a summer's day of no particular significance, except that intense emotion, insanity, and death intrude.To the Lighthouse's long first and third sections, each of which concerns one day 10 years apart, of the same family's summer holidays, are separated and connected by a lyrical short section during which the war occurs, several members of the family die, and decay and corruption run rampant. Orlando (1928) is the chronological life story of a person who begins as an Elizabethan gentleman and ends as a lady of the twentieth century; Woolf's friend, Victoria Sackville-West, served as the principal model for the multiple personalities. (The book was made into a movie in 1993.) Flush (1933) is a dog's soliloquy that, by indirection, recounts the love story of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their elopement and life in Florence. Her last short novel, Between the Acts (1941), was left without her final revision, but it is, nonetheless, a major representation of a society on the verge of collapse. Having had periods of depression throughout her life and fearing a final mental breakdown from which she might not recover, Woolf drowned herself in 1941. Her husband published part of her farewell letter to deny that she had taken her life because she could not face the terrible times of war. Leonard Woolf also edited A Writer's Diary (1953), which provides valuable insights into his wife's private thoughts and literary development. Equally informative are his own autobiographies, particularly Beginning Again and Downhill All the Way (1967), and The Letters of Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey . Virginia Woolf's Granite and Rainbow contains 27 essays on the art of fiction and biography. There are many sidelights on Woolf in the writings, letters, and biographies of other members of her Bloomsbury circle, such as Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes (see Vol. 3), and Lytton Strachey (see Vol. 3). Also casting much light on her life, thought, and creative processes are The Common Reader (1925), The Second Common Reader (1933), A Room of One's Own (1929), Three Guineas (1938), The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays, The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942), and various collections of her autobiographical writings, diaries, and letters. In addition, in recent years there has been a veritable industry of writers dealing with Woolf and her work.