October 14, 2011

Who’s afraid of Virigina Woolf? Only herself, it seems…she’s got stones in her pockets this time. Luckily, we have a bit of the British countryside to lift our spirits.

The Last Letter of Virginia Woolf
Read by Xe Sands

From the amazing Letters of Note: “In the days preceding her death, Virginia Woolf wrote three letters; one of which was addressed to her sister, Vanessa, the other two to her husband, Leonard. Here we have the final one, discovered at their home by Leonard on the 28th of March, 1941, just days after he had found his wife returning home soaking wet following what he later believed to be a failed suicide attempt. The second time however, Woolf succeeded in her efforts to escape a lifetime of mental illness, and three weeks later was found in the River Ouse, her coat’s pockets filled with heavy rocks.”


What I didn’t realize until researching Woolf for this piece is that she was nearly 60 at the time of her death. I had always assumed she was half that age at best when she died. To have suffered with (what is now considered to have been) bipolar disorder for so many years, and to feel so deeply as Woolf obviously did…well, my heart went out to her upon hearing her voice come through in this letter.

The Story of My Heart (extract), John Richard Jefferies
Read by Simon Vance

John Richard Jefferies (6 November 1848 – 14 August 1887) was an English nature writer, noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels.

Walter Besant wrote of his reaction on first reading Jefferies: “Why, we must have been blind all our lives; here were the most wonderful things possible going on under our very noses, but we saw them not.”

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