18 March (1941): Virginia Woolf to Leonard Woolf

Here, Virginia Woolf pens one of her suicide notes, which was left for her husband, Leonard Woolf, on Friday, March 28, 1941. The other note was left to her sister Vanessa Bell, a painter and another prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group. This note, which recounts Woolf’s depression and reiterates her love for her husband, is simply dated “Tuesday.”




I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.


From Afterwords: Letters on the Death of Virginia Woolf. Oldfield, Sybil. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2005.