"WHAT WASTES AND DESERTS OF THE SOUL A SLIGHT ATTACK OF INFLUENZA BRINGS TO VIEW…": SIGNED BY VIRGINIA WOOLF
WOOLF, Virginia. On Being Ill. London: Hogarth Press, 1930. Slim octavo, original half vellum and green silk boards, marbled endpapers, uncut; original dust jacket. $6500.
Signed limited first book edition of this meditation on the literary possibilities of illness, number 125 of 250 copies signed by Woolf in her characteristic purple ink.
Woolf's essay advances the idea that illness is as worthy a topic of literary attention as more traditional ones like war, love and lust: "novels, one would have thought, would have been devoted to influenza; epic poems to typhoid; odes to pneumonia, lyrics to toothache. But no; … literature does its best to maintain that its concern is with the mind; that the body is a sheet of plain glass through which the soul looks straight and clear." Woolf wrote this essay while convalescing in bed following a bout with exhaustion. During its composition she was leading what she called an "amphibious" life: half in, half out of bed. She also set the type for this book herself; Vanessa Bell designed the dust jacket. First published in the New Criterion in January, 1926; the text has been slightly revised for this edition. Kirkpatrick A14. Woolmer 248.
Book fine, dust jacket with expert restoration chiefly along spine and upper edge. A very good signed copy.