Virginia Woolf's last novel, in equal parts a triumphant celebration and witty mockery of 'Englishness', "Between the Acts" is edited by Stella McNichol, with an introduction and notes by Gillian Beer in "Penguin Modern Classics". Outwardly a novel about life in a country house in whose grounds there is to be a pageant, "Between the Acts" is also ...
Virginia Woolf's last novel, in equal parts a triumphant celebration and witty mockery of 'Englishness', "Between the Acts" is edited by Stella McNichol, with an introduction and notes by Gillian Beer in "Penguin Modern Classics". Outwardly a novel about life in a country house in whose grounds there is to be a pageant, "Between the Acts" is also a striking evocation of English experience in the months leading up to the Second World War. Through dialogue, humour and the passionate musings of the characters, Virginia Woolf explores how a community is formed (and scattered) over time. The tableau, a series of scenes from English history, and the private dramas that go on between the acts are closely interlinked. Through the figure of Miss La Trobe, author of the pageant, Virginia Woolf questions imperialist assumptions and, at the same time, re-creates the elusive role of the artist. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author and essayist, a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist, and the centre of "The Bloomsbury Group". This informal collective of artists and writers which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from "Mrs Dalloway" (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel "The Waves" (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive "Orlando" (1928) and "A Room of One's Own" (1929) a passionate feminist essay. If you enjoyed "Between the Acts", you might like Woolf's "The Waves", also available in "Penguin Modern Classics". "A powerful and prophetic statement". (Richard Shone, "The Times").
Very Good. First edition, first printing. One of 6, 358 copies. Personal copy of author's sister Vanessa Bell, with her ownership initials "V.B." in blue ink to the front free endpaper. Publisher's bright blue cloth boards, lettered in gilt. Very good, with a slight lean, rubbing to the extremities, toning and light spotting to the spine, bright gilt, clean boards, a hint of spotting to the endpapers, pencil marks to list of works by the author, bright and clean pages. Housed in a custom quarter-leather clamshell box. Kirkpatrick A26a. Between the Acts was the last novel Virginia Woolf wrote, and the first volume to be published posthumously, only a few months after her death in March 1941. In his introductory note, the author's husband, Leonard Woolf, noted that while Virginia had completed the manuscript, she had not yet finished the text's final revision for the printer. In reference to her notorious, meticulous editing style, Leonard stated "She would not… have made any large or material alterations in it, though she would probably have made a good many small corrections or revisions before passing the final proofs." Between the Acts tells the story of a play within a play, set against the backdrop of a small English village in the years leading up to World War II. The text, which represents a rather cynical view of English history, makes the poignant claim that, while everything seems to be constantly changing, humans and their relationships with one another have not really changed much since the beginning of our history. As with much of her writing, the beauty of Between the Acts lies in Woolf's eloquent descriptions more so than in the plot itself. As Hudson Strode wrote in his 1941 review for The New York Times, "the cream…lies between the lines-in the haunting overtones… the best of the show…happens between the acts and immediately before the pageant begins and just after it is over. So the play is not really the thing at all. It is merely the focal point, the hub of the wheel, the peg on which to hang the bright ribbons and dark cords of the author's supersensitive perceptions and illuminated knowledge. It is in her imagery, in her felicitous gift for metaphor, for cadence, for exciting association, in her 'powers of absorption and distillation' that her special genius lies."
Vanessa Bell. Signed Woolf, Virginia. BETWEEN THE ACTS. Presentation by John Lehmann. London: The Hogarth Press, 1941. First Edition. Woolf, Virginia. BETWEEN THE ACTS. Presentation by John Lehmann. London: The Hogarth Press, 1941. 8vo., Publisher's blue cloth, titles to spine gilt. A near fine copy in a very good dustwrapper printed in black designed by Vanessa Bell and showing modest loss. Inscribed in black ink on the front free endpaper in the year of publication: Demetrios / With best wishes / from / John Lehmann / 24 vii. 41". "John Lehmann played a significant role in bringing Between The Acts to publication. When Woolf felt the novel not worth publishing, she and Leonard agreed to give Lehmann the 'casting vote'. (VW Letters Vol. 6). Lehmann replied to her letter praising the novel however, she had decided it was 'too silly and trivial'. She committed suicide soon after writing this to Lehmann and in his memoir, Thrown To The Woolfs, Lehmann speaks of bringing the book out as a kind of homage to her". Hussey, Mark. An important association copy. Published July 1941. Kirkpatrick A26a; Woolmer 488.
Vanessa Bell. Woolf, Virginia. BETWEEN THE ACTS. London: The Hogarth Press, 1941. 8vo., Publisher's blue cloth, titles to spine gilt. A fine copy in like dustwrapper printed in black designed by Vanessa Bell. One short closed tear. A much better than usual example. Published July 1941. Kirkpatrick A26a; Woolmer 488.
Fine in VG jacket. Sm 8vo. Original blue cloth with gilt stamping, in dust jacket designed by Vanessa Bell. Cloth clean and bright, previous owner's bookplate on f.p.d., former bookseller's label on lower inner corner of f.f.e.p. Pages age toned consistent with poor quality war-time paper. Jacket scuffed and dust-soiled, shallow chipping at extremities, closed tears in fold of spine panel, front flap; a deeper (3/4") closed tear at top of rear flap fold, with tape repair on verso. Scans available on request.
Good. 015611870X 1941 Harcourt Brace hard cover-stated First American Edition-no dust jacket-some staining to cover and page edge-some text on binding faded-label inside cover-some staining inside cover-otherwise binding strong contents clean-a nice collectible-enjoy.
Very good in very good dust jacket. UK hardback reprint from 1969. From a uniform edition in attractive reddish-brown and yellow jacket. VG with slight spotting to top page edges in VG jacket, clipped with a little spine browning and a few spots. The Hogarth Press 1969. 0.0 0.0" 0.0 0.0 0.0.
Good. No dust jacket. 1941 stated first American edition. Sunning, soil, rubbing and slight fraying on cover, lettering faded from spine, bottom corners bumped, sticker residue on back ep, pages tanned, soil/dust and a stan on top edge, else text clean, binding still good.
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