"MARKS THE BEGINNING OF HER MATURITY AND HER FAME": FIRST EDITION OF VIRGINIA WOOLF'S JACOB'S ROOM—AN EXCEPTIONAL COPY IN ORIGINAL VANESSA BELL DUST JACKET
WOOLF, Virginia. Jacob's Room. Richmond: Published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1922. Octavo, original yellow cloth, printed paper label on spine, uncut, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $45,000.
First edition of the first full-length novel published by the Hogarth Press, and an important success for Woolf, one of only 1200 copies. A splendid copy in the very rare original dust jacket designed by Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell, her first of many dust jackets designed for the Hogarth Press.
T.S. Eliot wrote to Woolf of this novel, published in 1922, a crucial year in the development of the modernist novel, "'You have freed yourself from any compromise between the traditional novel and your original gift. It seems to me that you have bridged a certain gap which existed between your other novels and the experimental prose of Monday or Tuesday, and that you have made a remarkable success.' And this, it seemed presently, was the opinion both of the reviewers and the public. Virginia was satisfied; Jacob's Room marks the beginning of her maturity and her fame" (Bell, Virginia Woolf, 319). This book also marks the moment when the Woolfs decided to run their Hogarth Press as a genuine business concern: "With the publication of Jacob's Room the decision was taken to establish the Hogarth Press as a business concern and in future to publish all Mrs. Woolf's works" (Kirkpatrick, 17). Self-publishing Jacob's Room gave Virginia Woolf "an artistic freedom and a degree of self-determination she prized above all else. The completion and publication of the novel led Virginia… to a period of great fertility" (Willis, 61).
"Jacob's Room was an important milepost for the press in several ways. It was the Woolfs' longest book published to date, it was the first novel, and it was one of the first books to be printed by R. & R. Clark of Edinburgh, thus initiating a long and fruitful association between publisher and printer. Virginia's sister, Vanessa Bell, designed her first dust wrapper for the press, which was printed in cinnamon and black. [Bell designed bindings and contributed illustrations to Woolf's Kew Gardens in 1919 and Monday or Tuesday in 1921, but this is her first dust jacket.] Most important, Jacob's Room marked Virginia's complete break from Duckworth into the freedom of self-editing and self-publishing. There had been no problem with the Hogarths printing the stories in Monday or Tuesday, but the Woolfs had to seek and gain permission from Gerald Duckworth to end Virginia's contract when it came to her new novel [Jacob's Room]. Gerald agreed, although Virginia thought him 'a little cross'" (Willis, 60-61). "Virginia was pleased with the dust jacket for Jacob's Room which Vanessa designed that summer: Leonard suggested alterations in the lettering and Virginia chose the colors used… [Bell] produced all the subsequent dust jackets for Virginia's books, and many others besides, as well as the colophon of a wolf's head. These all helped to create a certain house style and made a distinctive contribution to the Hogarth Press" (Spalding, Vanessa Bell, 197-98). With 14 pages of publisher's advertisements at rear; without tipped-in signed subscriber's slip, present in only 40 copies, no priority established. Kirkpatrick A6. Woolmer 26.
Text fine, only faint trace of soiling to bright cloth; lightest edge-wear, small open tears to rear panel and front flap fold, expert repair to front panel, toning to spine of colorful dust jacket. A desirable copy in exceedingly rare dust jacket.