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The Hours - VIRGINIA WOOLF'S SUICIDE

Virginia Woolf wrote two suicide notes, one to her sister (Vanessa) and the other to her husband (Leonard). This image depicts the end-of-life letter which she wrote to Leonard. It says:

“Dearest,

“I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that - everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer.

“I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been.”

 

Leonard and Virginia purchased a country house, in 1919, in the village of Rodmell, England. It was named Monk's House, although no monks ever lived there. Virginia wrote Jacob's Room (in memory of her brother Thoby) at Monk's House. A map, annotated by Leonard, depicts its location.

By the time Virginia was fifty-nine years old, bouts of mental illness had damaged her outward beauty and her inner well-being. Having suffered mental breakdowns during World War I, she was once again living in the nightmare of war. She could no longer travel and her home in London was destroyed by Germany's bombs.

In March of 1941, Leonard became increasingly concerned about his wife's mental health. He summoned a friend, Octavia Wilberforce, to examine her. The doctor did not find the situation particularly serious. Later, Wilberforce thought that she had failed her friend by not recognizing the extent of Virginia's illness.

With Hitler's Blitzkrieg hammering her beloved London, and with headaches and "voices" returning to disrupt her writing (this is her desk in her writing lodge) and her life, Virginia wrote two suicide notes. One was for her husband, Leonard. The other, nearly identical, was for her sister, Vanessa.

Following the footpath to the nearby River Ouse (from the Celtic word for "water" and pictured here at Lewes), Virginia walked away from the home which she shared with Leonard at Monk's House. It was the 28th of March, 1941. She put a heavy stone in her coat pocket and let the river's current swallow her. Children found her body three weeks later, on the 18th of April.

Following an inquest into her death, which was ruled a suicide, Virginia's body was cremated. Her ashes were scattered under the elm tree just beyond her garden. Her last novel, Between the Acts, was published posthumously. Leonard lived at Monk's House until his death in 1969.

Virginia's nephew, Quentin Bell, wrote what most Woolf scholars agree is the definitive biography of his famous aunt. Quentin died in 1996.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Jul 14, 2019


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"VIRGINIA WOOLF'S SUICIDE" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2003. Oct 22, 2019.
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