Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Overview

In this haunting and compelling book, eminent psychiatrist Peter Dally explores the darker side of Virginia Woolf. Bringing together his knowledge as a doctor with his life-long fascination with Woolf's life and work, he sheds light on the depression that tormented her adult years.

A quiet life cushioned Virginia from the bouts of depression and elation that she regularly experienced, but life in the public eye profoundly affected her moods and her behavior. On three occasions ...

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1st Ed. (U.S.), Fine/Fine- Crease along DJ rear flap fore-edge, o.w. clean, bright and tight. No ink names, tears, chips, foxing, etc. Price unclipped. ISBN 0312205597

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New York, NY 1999 Hard cover First edition. 1ST Us ed.1ST PRINTING New in new dust jacket. BRIGHT CLEAN, BRAND NEW Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 352 p. Contains: ... Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In this haunting and compelling book, eminent psychiatrist Peter Dally explores the darker side of Virginia Woolf. Bringing together his knowledge as a doctor with his life-long fascination with Woolf's life and work, he sheds light on the depression that tormented her adult years.

A quiet life cushioned Virginia from the bouts of depression and elation that she regularly experienced, but life in the public eye profoundly affected her moods and her behavior. On three occasions Virginia went mad. This terrified her, and she lived in constant fear of the return of this dreadful affliction. Yet the experience gave her the extraordinary insight and new ideas and associations that were to emerge in her writing.

Ideally, every manic depressive needs to be protected from stress. Virginia had several protectors, but none so vital as her husband, Leonard. Without his constant vigilance and care, it is doubtful she would have been so creatively productive. Yet, paradoxically, their marriage precipitated one of her bouts of madness. At the end of her life, when events outside the couple's control led to Leonard's gradual withdrawal and his own depression, Virginia found herself facing her madness alone, and with tragic results.

Compassionate and disturbing, this fascinating study is the first to look at Virginia Woolf's life from the perspective of her madness. Although a general psychiatrist, his professional outlook is eclectic and he has particular interests in manic depression and anorexia nervosa, a subject on which he has written several books. Virginia Woolf first aroused his interest when, as a student, he read Mrs. Dalloway. He subsequently became absorbed in her diaries,which give a wider and deeper picture of manic depression than any textbook could. This book then is about her life, and her marriage, in relation to manic depression, and the author is as much Virginia Woolf's psychiatrist as her biographer." - Peter Dally

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It is no secret that Virginia Woolf suffered from manic depression for most of her life (a notable treatment appears in Panthea Reid's Art and Affection: A Life of Virginia Woolf, LJ 9/15/96). In jargon-laden prose, Dally, a retired psychiatrist living in England, explains that Woolf's difficult childhood and youth--marked by the death of her mother--lay the chemical and biological groundwork for her later mental illness. This forensic inquiry is possible only because Woolf, a faithful diarist, left "surely the fullest year-by-year record ever of the effect of the disease on a creative life." While interesting reading, this work adds little new insight into Woolf's troubled genius. Discussions of her literary works appear as asides--or worse, as symptoms of her illness, a serious mistake given the psychological narrative techniques Woolf used so powerfully in novels such as To The Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway. Recommended for larger Woolf collections.--Diane Gardner Premo, Rochester P.L., NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312205591
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/20/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface
1 Julia Stephen 1
2 Leslie Stephen 11
3 The Stephen Marriage 19
4 Virginia's Early Life and Temperament 31
5 Deaths - The First Major Breakdown, 1904 41
6 Vanessa's Marriage - Virginia's Instability 53
7 Gender and Sexuality 67
8 Leonard Woolf and Courtship 73
9 Marriage - The Second Major Breakdown, 1913 93
10 Inner and Outer Worlds 107
11 Creativity 119
12 Vita Sackville-West 127
13 Threat of War 145
14 The Years and Three Guineas 153
15 War, Depression and Suicide 167
Appendix Mania, Madness and Creativity 185
Family Tree 200
Abbreviations 201
Notes 203
Bibliography 215
Index 219
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