Words in Pain by Olga Jacoby – edited by Jocelyn Catty and Trevor Moore

Jocelyn Catty, our Senior Research Fellow on Waiting Times and also a child psychotherapist, was featured in The Times on 2nd January 2019 in relation to the discovery of a fascinating book by her great-grandmother Olga Jacoby (1874-1913).

Words in Pain is a collection of letters Olga wrote to her doctor during the four-year period when she knew she was dying from a heart condition that today would be easily curable. She writes poignantly about the struggles of her four young adopted children to understand their mother’s predicament, and her own determination to ‘die with my fountain-pen in my hand’ as she writes letters that she intends them – and perhaps a wider public – to read after her death.

Our PI  Laura writes:

Written in the form of letters that are both intensely personal and clearly turned towards posterity, Words in Pain is a fascinating record of the attitudes towards suffering and death of its period. But the distinctive voice ringing out in this text also feels profoundly contemporary in its frank description of states of despair and rigorous refusal of the consolations of religion. Words in Pain bears compelling witness to the author’s commitment to communicating experiences that, both in her period and now, are very frequently left unvoiced.

The book is due out on 7th March.  Snap up a copy here.

Enduring Time book launch 15th March

Enduring Time by Lisa Baraitser
Book launch and panel discussion

Thursday 15th March

Swedenborg House
20-21 Bloomsbury Way

Celebrating the publication of Lisa Baraitser’s Enduring time, a panel of scholars (Laura Salisbury, Stella Sandford and Raluca Soreanu) will engage with the book to consider the changing ways we imagine and experience time. Climate change, unending violent conflict, fraying material infrastructures, permanent debt and widening social inequalities mean that we no longer live with an expectation of a progressive future, a generative past, or a flourishing now that characterized the temporal imaginaries of the post-war period. Time, it appears, is not flowing, but has become stuck, intensely felt, yet radically suspended. The question the book raises is how we might now ‘take care’ of time? How can we understand change as requiring time not passing? What can quotidian experiences of suspended time – waiting, delaying, staying, remaining, enduring, returning and repeating – tell us about the survival of social bonds? And how might we re-establish the idea that time might be something we both have and share, as opposed to something we are always running out of?

Praise for the book

This work is a tour de force. It constitutes the most significant rethinking of “women’s time” since Kristeva’s influential article. [ …] It brings philosophy, psychoanalysis, cultural theory, feminism and race theory, art and art criticism, together with trenchant social critique, philosophical meditation, and psychoanalytic inquiry in a brilliant and capacious way. Without any recourse to essentialism, Baraitser shows us for the first time the temporal world of care, of maintenance, their nonproductive and nonteleological potentials in an ethics that illuminates our world as one of time-consuming practices of staying with and for one another in the midst of destruction and repair (Judith Butler, UC Berkeley).

The panel discussion will be followed by a wine reception.

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