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.

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