Words in pain: Letters on life and death

Jacoby, Olga (2019) Words in pain: Letters on life and death. Skyscraper Publications, Bloxham. ISBN 978-1911072355

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Abstract

First published posthumously in 1919, Words in Pain represents the collected letters of Olga Jacoby - writer, thinker and rationalist. Writing to her Christian doctor as she endures the emotional highs and lows of terminal illness, she challenges his beliefs and celebrates the power of science, nature and love: "Science is turning on the light, but at every step forward dogmatic religion attempts to turn it out." Her children appear in vivid colour: "I was greatly amused by my boy explaining to me ... that even should I die they would not lose me, as they would take my skeleton to keep in a corner of their nursery." As heart-breaking as they are erudite, Jacoby's letters reveal a progressive attitude to child-rearing and adoption, as well as a passionate commitment to moral logic and social justice. They show her to be as strong of mind as she was increasingly weak in body, and a woman both of and ahead of her time. Praised by the Times Literary Supplement of 1919 for its "clear-eyed and exalted spirit", Words in Pain now appears in a new centenary edition, with extensive supplementary notes on its many literary and socio-historical references and an afterword contextualising Jacoby's extraordinary life and the controversial circumstances of her death.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Edited by Jocelyn Catty and Trevor Moore.
Subjects: Cognitive Processes, Theory of Mind > Arts - Applied Psychology
Emotions, Affective Psychology > Grief/Mourning/Loss
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1926

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