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lunedì 31 marzo 2014

Virginia Woolf: Come fu mal interpretata la sua toccante lettera di suicidio


Il 28 Marzo 1941, poco dopo l'accrescersi delle ostilità della Seconda Guerra Mondiale, Virginia Woolf si suicidò sprofondando nel fiume Ouse, con le tasche piene di sassi e la testa piena di sussurri.
I fantasmi e le angosce della depressione giovanile erano improvvisamente riapparsi, impedendole di scrivere e di pensare, di vivere. Presentendo che la sua salute mentale non ne sarebbe uscita intatta, decise di farla finita. Dietro di sè, oltre alle sue opere, lasciò una toccante lettera, che qui riproponiamo:

http://www.amazon.com/Afterwords-Letters-Death-Virginia-Woolf/dp/0813535603/?tag=braipick-20

"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."
Virginia e Leonard Woolf

 I motivi di questo gesto, assieme alla tragicità che esso esprimeva, furono però del tutto travisati e utilizzati ai fini della propaganda patriottica in tempo di guerra. Così il suicidio di Virginia Woolf si tramutò nel gesto di una persona debole e confusa che non riusciva a sopportare le atrocità e il clima di guerra che imperava, la disperazione e il terrore che attanagliavano la società. La sua lettera fu persino ripubblicata più volte con frasi modificate ad arte, cosa che spinse il marito Leonard a scrivere al Sunday Times per chiarire la vicenda:
I feel that I should not silently allow to remain on record that Virginia Woolf committed suicide because she could not face the “terrible times” through which all of us are going. For this is not true… Then newspapers give her words as:
“I feel I cannot go on any longer in these terrible times.”
This is not what she wrote: the words which she wrote are:
“I feel that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times.”
She had had a mental breakdown about twenty-five years ago; the old symptoms began to return about three weeks before she took her life, and she felt that this time she would not recover. Like everyone else, she felt the general strain of the war, and the return of her illness was partly due to that strain. But the words of her letter and everything which she has ever said prove that she took her life, not because she could not “carry on,” but because she felt she was going mad again and would not this time recover.
Il suo intervento però non servì a cambiare le cose perchè fu esso stesso mal interpretato e modificato per rinforzare il significato che ormai era stato attribuito al suicidio di Virginia Woolf.
Per approfondire Afterwords: Letters on the Death of Virginia Woolf (Lettere in morte di Virginia Woolf )


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