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On being ill /

Main Author: Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Ashfield, Mass. : Paris Press, 2002
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Review by Booklist Review

Woolf's essays, most famously A Room of One's Own, have been as liberating and nourishing as a freshening wind or drought-ending rain, and so the resurrection of this forgotten work on illness is a boon indeed. Written between two of Woolf's greatest novels, Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, this is Woolf at her spangled best. Seemingly a cascade of gossamer thoughts, her prose is in fact as tightly knit, strongly patterned, impervious, and purposeful as a fisherman's sweater. Woolf wonders why illness, which is as much a part of life as love and greed, is not a common theme in literature, then reveals its import in lyrical yet ironic descriptions of illness' slow-motion parallel world, where the afflicted have time to watch the sky or carefully observe a rose. Illness is an altered state, says Woolf, who suffered from myriad chronic conditions, one that grants significant revelations. Insightfully and eloquently introduced by renowned Woolf biographer Hermione Lee, this scintillating and important addition to the Woolf canon is graced by Vanessa Bell's cover for the 1930 Hogarth Press edition. Donna Seaman

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.