Tag Archive: Suicide

220px-george_charles_beresford_-_virginia_woolf_in_1902_-_restorationOn this day in 1941 Virginia Woolf took her own life aged 59 by  weighing down her jacket with stones and drowning in the River Ouse near her home in Sussex, England.

By way of tribute, below is a You Tube link to Max Richter’s haunting music composed for Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works which begins with a reading of Woolf’s suicide note to her husband, signed ‘V’ which is beautifully read by Gillian Anderson. Continue reading


 A SINGLE MAN directed by Tom Ford (USA, 2009) based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood.

When I first saw this movie I hadn’t read the book on which it is based.

I have just watched it again after being hugely impressed and deeply moved by Isherwood’s flawless novella.

 Tom Ford’s expert adaptation is faithful to the story yet makes key changes;  some for better, some for worse.

Note that this post contains spoilers.Don't say I didn't warn you!

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VIRGINIA WOOLF biography by Hermione Lee (Vintage Books, 1996)

leeVirginia Woolf’s life story is one that is continually being re-evaluated. After all, it was fully  two decades after her suicide in 1941 before she began to be more widely acknowledged as a literary great and a feminist icon.

Even so, there are still far too many (mostly male) detractors who will routinely belittle the achievements of Woolf. Hermione Lee recalls that as a student she was taught to regard her as a “minor modernist”, not fit to be ranked alongside Joyce, T.S. Eliot or D.H. Lawrence.

She also recounts a revealing (and humorous) story of a St Ives bookseller who decided to take advantage of Woolf’s association with one of her former homes but only had a vague idea of who she was. He put up a sign which read : ‘Talland House. Home of Virginia Woolf, wife of the famous novelist”. Continue reading

MONSIEUR LAZHAR directed by Philippe Falardeau (Canada, 2011)

An elementary school in Montreal is concerned not to make a drama out of a crisis when a young female teacher hangs herself in the classroom.

A lone psychologist is appointed with the aim is to draw a line under the incident as quickly as possible and move on.

The dead teacher’s place is taken by an Algerian refugee, Bashir Lazhar, who applies for the job after reading the story in the newspaper and is appointed as the sole candidate.

It transpires that Lazhar is also attempting to come to terms with a private tragedy and seeking political asylum to try to build a new life.

Lazhar is conscientious but he’s no ‘seize the day’ teacher. He feels inadequate by the side of an experienced colleague whose class is much livelier and more spontaneous.

This teacher, who is obviously attracted to Lazhar, can’t understand why he doesn’t introduce his ‘exotic’ African culture into his classroom. Continue reading

The scene of the suicide- Il Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), Cesena, Italy

Yesterday I saw a suicide victim. I didn’t actually see the woman jump but I passed the scene just minutes after.

She had left her shoes and sunglasses on the wall of Cesena’s old bridge before throwing herself off.

When I drove over,  the traffic was moving very slowly. Standing by the side of the road were a young man in full cycling gear and another woman who was probably on the way to the nearby market. At first I thought they were simply admiring the view but something in their expressions told me they had stopped for some other reason.

When I turned the corner, I saw more people were staring towards the bridge from both sides of the river bank.  I pulled over and saw they were gazing at a motionless figure lying face down on the flat rocks below the bridge. Continue reading

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