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O chorowaniu. Ze wstępem Hermione Lee
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O chorowaniu. Ze wstępem Hermione Lee

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  569 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Dlaczego "choroba nie zajęła wraz z miłością, orężem i zazdrością miejsca pośród głównych tematów literatury"? Pytanie zadane przez Virginię Woolf w 1925 roku do dziś nie straciło na aktualności. Dlaczego wciąż nie doczekaliśmy się powieści o grypie, poematu o tyfusie czy ody do zapalenia płuc? Dlaczego pisarze próbują nas przekonać, że dusza ludzka jest ważniejsza niż cia ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published January 2010 by Wydawnictwo Czarne (first published 1930)
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Reviewed in January 2013
I was reading these wonderful pieces by Virginia Woolf and her mother, Julia Stephen, last Saturday morning, in bed, sipping coffee and nibbling a piece of toast when I came across this sentence: The origin of most things has been decided on, but the origin of crumbs in bed has never excited sufficient attention among the scientific world, though it is a problem which has tormented many a weary sufferer. I will forbear to give my own explanation, which may be neither scie
M. Sarki
Always good to read this book again each year. Virginia Woolf remains so brilliant and T.S. Eliot such a bore. I reference this because of his stupid diss of her submission per his request. Makes one hate editors in general.

This is a book for all seasons. A brilliant piece of writing by one of my favorite female writers. I wrote a review of the essay here:
Totally worth reading.

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours." (Alan Bennett) This certainly was one of those moments for me.
Feb 24, 2007 Rosie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Virginia Woolf lovers and/or anyone interested in the phenomenon of illness
Virginia Woolf analyzes illness from the perspective of one who has spent much of her life haunted by its specter. Although illness is experienced differently by each person, she probes collective feelings of being ill: the self pity, the delusions, the inability to imagine existence without it. This book is powerful.

This was a lovely, meandering little essay on illness, its place in literature, the states of mind that it engenders, and how the acts of writing and reading are influenced by it. In spite of the subject matter, the tone of the piece is frequently very playful, and outright funny in parts. There are also, of course, treatments of isolation, melancholy, and death that one would rightly expect from an essay on being ill. The occasionally long, convoluted, dreamy sentences do a good job of evoking

Virginia Woolf's article "On Being Ill" is paired with her mother's guide to amateur nursing, "Notes From Sick Rooms." Hermione Lee and Mark Hussey provide wonderful accompanying essays on the context in which these pieces were written and the interesting ways in which reading them together assists in understanding Woolf, Stephen, and illness. I loved the writing in Woolf's "On Being Ill" (I had to pause every paragraph just to savor the words) and found Stephen's guide to be a lovely historical ...more
This edition, by Paris Press, creates an engaging dialogue between mother and daughter through their own works on illness/ caretaking. I love Virginia Woolf and I think her meditation on illness and its ties with creativity, as well as her notice of its lack of representation in literature (something beginning to shift in the twenty-first century) is quite accurate and interesting.
Paris Press

In this poignant and humorous essay, Virginia Woolf observes that though illness is a part of every human being’s experience, it has rarely been the focus of literature — unlike the traditionally acceptable subjects of war, love, and betrayal. We cannot quote Shakespeare to describe a headache. We must, Woolf says, invent language to describe pain. Illness enhances our perceptions and, she observes, it reduces self-consciousness; it is "the great confessio
Lovely short comment on illness and how it is never discussed in literature the way love and other themes are:
“Consider how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate
"Foreigners, to whom the tongue is strange, have us at a disadvantage. The Chinese must know the sound of Antony and Cleopatra better than we do."
small, lovely, and perfect for a gloomy Sunday morning in bed.
Maureen M
I'm belatedly becoming a Virginia Woolf fan, and this essay continues that progress. Her writing pulls you into her perspective, allowing you to see what she sees and think what she thinks. Even as a staunch member of the "army of the upright," I appreciate her call to think more about what life is like for those who are not. This edition's pairing of her essay with her mother's notes on caregiving made it an excellent partner to this month's book club selection, "No Saints Around Here" by Susan ...more
Jennifer Lauren Collins
In the new edition of Virginia Woolf's On Being Ill, available from Paris Press, editors have printed On Being Ill alongside her mother Julia Stephen's nonfiction work, Notes from Sick Rooms, along with thoughtful introductions to both works, as well as an afterword from Rita Charon, one of the leading figures in the relatively new discipline of Narrative Medicine. While any of the works might be well worth reading on their own, this new edition showcases the material in such a way as to highlig ...more
I had always wanted to read this essay. When I came to know about this essay many years ago, I was very eager to read it. I instinctively knew that there is something to the state of being ill. Most would want to avoid it, but once were are in it, what happens? And why is this human condition, in all its bizarre possibilities so neglected?
The essay was delightful and elegant but I was a bit underwhelmed by the ending.
It took me back to my childhood when every year I was sure to fall ill due to
This is a strange and yet fascinating meditation on how illness is treated, not only in literature, but also in society. It's not a commentary about hospital systems or treatment of patients or anything like that. It's more about how ill people experience the world while they are patients. On the surface, this essay is presented as a humorous piece. However, when the reader digs deeper, they will find an insightful and somewhat controversial presentation of how illness does and could potentially ...more
A short essay - the introduction by Hermione Lee is longer - asking why, though illness is a part of everyone's existence, it has rarely been the focus of literature, like war or love or jealousy or ambition. Woolf muses on this and along the way takes in the subjects of language, sympathy, reading, the afterlife, dentists, electricity, a sort of old-fashioned lute and a tortoise. Behind the scenes there is a quarrel with T. S. Elliot, a love-affair and her own raging headaches and unsteady ment ...more
Indeed worth reading for the first sentence alone. I enjoyed her flowing, almost feverish sentences. She describes well how the ill often perceive the world lucidly and with detachment: "Mrs. Jones catches her train. Mr. Smith mends his motor. The cows are driven home to be milked. Men thatch the roof. The dog barks. The rooks, rising in a net, fall in a net upon the elm trees. The wave of life flings itself out indefatigably. It is only the recumbent who know what, after all, Nature is at no pa ...more
Constance Merritt
a very general essay on literature's neglect of illness and on the regions of perception only available to the ill. In this brief essay Woolf treats a subject of which she had intimate knowledge quite impersonally. More than half of this slim volume, published in 2002 by Paris Press, is taken up by a short preface and a longish introduction whose illuminations or lack thereof I cannot vouch for. Here is my favorite morsel:

There is, let us confess it ((and illness is the great confessional), a ch
When we're ill, we are usually so beaten over by the waves of uncomfortable sensations that we don't wish to think deeply and linger in the memory of illness after it ends. I'm so glad Virginia Woolf thought to dwell on illness and crystallize her thoughts about how we live through the smudged or rosy glass pane of our bodies; how illness changes our relation to productivity and the values of larger society; and how reading and our relationship to words change under the sway of illness.

'In illne
On Being Ill is a nice little essay on the perspectives and portrayals of the sick. I was almost more taken by the essay by her mother that came after which was probably the most compassionate take on caring for the ill ever written. It was beautiful and gave such a clear picture of what Julia Stephen must have been like as a mother and what a loss it must have been to lose her so early.
This is especially haunting if you read it straight after finishing The Voyage Out. That's what I did - by pure accident - and it honestly feels like an epilogue of sorts for that book. What can I say? It's only a couple of pages long, but, to me, it's still worth 5 stars.
I can't say I would recommend this book to just anyone. Without context, it seems strange and foreign, which is Woolf's point. So many books are indeed written about love, or war. Obviously not everyone has experienced war, and philosophers can't even agree on what love is. This is a double standard; not everyone's life has been twisted by illness, and yet illness seems to be something one can't convey to someone who hasn't been touched by it in any way.
But as someone whose life has been defined
Paris Press hizo una inteligente reedición de este maravilloso ensayo de Virginia Woolf. Nadie mejor que ella para hablar de vivir de medicamentos, remedios y restricciones para recuperar la "salud". La enfermedad, dice Woolf, debería ser considerado otro de los grandes temas de la literatura al lado de la vida, la guerra y la muerte.

Acompañando estas páginas se encuentra el ensayo que la propia Julia Stephen, madre de Virginia, escribió sobre el cuidado de los enfermos: Notes from Sick Rooms. S
Jennifer Rolfe
I loved that Virginia Woolf and her mother Julia Stephen were brought together in this book about their perceptions on illness. Virginia's philosophical approach and Julia's practical approach. A lovely historical perspective.
Perhaps Woolf's 'illness' and Bahktin's 'defamiliarisation' have a lot in common.

Like with any introduction to the Communist Manifesto, Hermione Lee's introduction may actually be longer than Woolf's interesting, cursory essay on illness, an ill person's 'deserting' from the upstanding healthy human crowd, illness's ability to speak truths, and how there is no literature in English that truly captures illness as it does love. Illness shows us the world in new eyes, allows us to take time to look
Danielle Durkin
This is a short essay in Woolf's inimitable prose expressing both the necessity to address illnesses as a legitimate form of creative expression as well as the importance of trying to express them in prose.
It was partially written while she was under the influence of all sorts of mind-numbing stuff, as well hallucinating, and trying to show how her headaches and challenges were so devastating to what she lived to do: write.
It was incomplete before she died. Her husband published it with apology,
In illness we are more visibly slaves to the body. We may think we are all soul/intellect, wrapped up in a shell, but illness serves only to emphasize a truth always present: how entirely our outlook is shaped by the bodily experience. Woolf describes an appreciation of Nature's dominion, and other poetic ideas taken in through our bodily senses when we are stripped of our overruling intellect (through illness). In this way illness awakens us to new horizons, new sensory outlooks; we can acquain ...more
The prose in this essay is absolutely beautiful. I would quote a line or two but I simply can't choose one or two lines. The essay is only 28 (very short) pages, so take a half hour to read it to see what I mean.

Woolf has me thinking about the aims of writing in new ways. The essay wanders in many different and seemingly unrelated directions, but it's more of a think-piece than a traditional essay. She draws connections between disparate ideas (cloud formations, influenza, madness, Shakespeare)
Lois Ann
I decided to read this essay as being ill is something I know a lot about and have read very few books that have to do with this topic--mostly I think because an unskilled writer would approach the issue and render one long complaint. This is not a complaint but a reflection and I found many points in common to my own experience. The book I have also has an essay by Woolf's mother on taking care of the sick-- it is a tedious read but it highlights how far we have slid in the estimate of what car ...more
Woolf examines illness as an existential condition and asks, "Why has illness not been as popular a subject for literature as love?" I was under the impression that this essay would focus more on her personal experiences with illness, rather than examine illness as a literary subject, but nonetheless I found it useful to think about how Woolf takes the deeply personal subject matter of her own mysterious illnesses and weaves these into an essay about the place of illness in literature.
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(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length es
More about Virginia Woolf...
Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse A Room of One's Own Orlando The Waves

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“Illness is a part of every human being's experience. It enhances our perceptions and reduces self-consciousness. It is the great confessional; things are said, truths are blurted out which health conceals.” 29 likes
“We do not know our own souls, let alone the souls of others. Human beings do not go hand in hand the whole stretch of the way. There is a virgin forest in each; a snowfield where even the print of birds' feet is unknown. Here we go alone, and like it better so. Always to have sympathy, always to be accompanied, always to be understood would be intolerable.” 19 likes
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