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A number of women writers died by their own hand. We do not necessarily know their motives, albeit these have been the subject of speculation both by their contemporaries and in later scholarly studies. Their lives and works have subsequently, however, been read and interpreted in relation to the tragedy of suicide.

The Swedish writer Victoria Benedictsson cut her throat with a razor in a Copenhagen hotel room in 1888. The Danish writer Tove Ditlevsen took an overdose of sleeping pills and lay down to die in Rude Forest in March 1976. Both these deeds could very well have been accompanied by a great sense of peace and clarification. But posterity has found it difficult to see past the drama of the tragedy: life and work have merged in a narrative about women doomed to destruction.