New York: Doran, 1920. First Edition. Hardcover. 1st American edition of her 2nd novel. Cloth with little corner rubs (light as a cat’s footfall), else fine, in an unrepaired dustjacket with the shadow of a handwritten number on the spine, corner chips, and edge tears, else very good. fine / very good. Item #837
Here is 37–year old Woolf, shrewd as an insurance adjuster, trying her hand at contrasts by portraying 4 young people who idealize different kinds of independence and yet, as is conventional with young people, insist on each other’s support and fail to see any irony in that.
Duckworth’s 1919 London 1st edition of Night and Day is aggravatingly rare in a dustjacket, and one as nice as our NY edition, would be 10 times our price, and if you can find one, and if you can afford it, buy that. This 1st American edition in jacket is less rare, but RBH says only one copy has sold at auction since 1975 (34 years ago), and were it thought to be fairly valued at, say, $5,000, every copy that showed up in the trade would be quickly spoken for and you would never see a nice one for sale. But collector enthusiasm for Virginia Woolf’s books legitimately drives up her prices, and a rising price softens demand keeping copies of this NY edition of Night and Day sporadically for sale.
Woolf’s prose has nuances only successfully realized by women, but we will move past gender. The great portrait painter’s brush captures the outer person more adeptly than the great writer’s pen ever can, and it even reveals some of the inner person too. However, the writer’s pen interprets samples of the superficial that we might have missed in the painting, and it more deeply captures the inner person more entirely than any brush. At their finest they are both art, different, and yet with the same aims.
Between the candle lit and the candle cold there is a whisp of gray smoke. It looks like Virginia Woolf’s whisp is going to last a long time.