Woolf, Virginia. Bell, Vanessa (illustrator)
London: Published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at The Hogarth Press, 1931. Octavo, original plum cloth with gilt lettering to spine, original unclipped pictorial dust jacket designed by Vanessa Bell. Light foxing to edges and preliminaries, lightest foxing to dust jacket, spine toned with one small pencil mark. Original publisher's review slip laid in.
Review copy of the first edition, with Hogarth Press slip laid in, noting the date of publication as “8.10.31." Although The Waves is usually grouped with her novels, Woolf herself called this experimental work a “play-poem," an almost musical arrangement of six alternating streams of consciousness, tracing the thoughts of a group of childhood friends through their lives: “So I went out. I saw the first morning he would never see -- the sparrows were like toys dangled from a string by a child. To see things without attachment, from the outside, and to realise their beauty in itself -- how strange!" Woolf struggled with the manuscript for years, and in a diary entry of January 1930, confided: “Sometimes I am out of touch; but go on; then again feel that I have at last, by violent measures – like breaking through gorse – set my hands on something central." After Woolf's suicide in 1941, Leonard Woolf chose her epitaph from the last lines of The Waves. Woolmer 279. A lovely copy of a fragile book, with the scarce review slip.