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Disease of the Heart

Dreamed 1929/11/2 by Virginia Woolf

I dreamt last night that I had a disease of the heart that would kill me in 6 months. Leonard, after some persuasion, told me. My instincts were all such as I should have, in order, and some very strong: quite unexpected, I mean voluntary, as they are in dreams, & thus have an authenticity which makes an immense, & pervading impression.
First, relief -- well I've done with life anyhow (I was lying in bed)
then horror;
then desire to live;
then fear of insanity;
then (no this came earlier) regret about my writing, & leaving this book unfinished;
then a luxurious dwelling upon my friends sorrow;
then a sense of death & being done with at my age;
then telling Leonard that he must marry again; seeing our life together;
& facing the conviction of going, when other people went on living.

EDITOR'S NOTE

The dream wasn't literal. She lived years more. But notice her focus! For Woolf, the dream's not about illness--it's about exploring the emotional stages on the road to accepting death, which she dissects in her precise, Woolfish way. And here the dream is accurate. Though her own suicide was over a decade ahead, I think this dream was the first step down the long gradual road--by mapping the landscape ahead. This early, and she's already trying on death to see just how it fits.

--Chris Wayan



LISTS AND LINKS: dream diseases - diagnostic dreams - letting go - death - dying in dreams - literary dreams - suicide - Woolf, Virginia -

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