Historical Influence

Now we are in the war. England is being attacked. I got this feeling for the first time yesterday; the feeling of pressure, danger, horror. The feeling is that a battle is going on-a fierce battle…Am I afraid? Intermittently. The worst of it is one’s mind won’t work with a spring next morning…*

In August of 1940, Woolf and the rest of the British public were waiting for invasion. German planes and blazing swastikas roared over Monk’s House, Woolf’s country home in Rodmell. A bomb fell so close one day that Woolf “cursed Leonard for slamming the window” (Woolf, 1982, p. 339). Hitler and Mussolini howled threats through the radio into the sanctuary of the Woolf living room.

We will never know how the pressure, danger, horror, and intermittent fear, along with anxiety and boredom, influenced Woolf’s decision to commit suicide in March of 1941. However, research has shown that stressful events, like the terror and tedium of war, have significant impact on moods. Higher stress levels often precede the onset of manic episodes (Goodwin & Jamison, 2007).


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Research Papers


___References for this Section____

Goodwin, K.F. & Jamison, K. R. (2007). Manic Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

* Woolf, V. (1982). A Writer’s Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf. (L. Woolf. Ed.) San Diego: Harvest Book, Harcourt Inc.