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 (1882â1941) 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....Continua