The Waves

The Waves

Paperback

By (author) Virginia Woolf, Introduction by Jeanette Winterson, Introduction by Gillian Beer

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 16mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 25 January 2005
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099478277
  • ISBN 13: 9780099478270
  • Sales rank: 90,530

Product description

Set on the English coast against the vivid backdrop of the sea, The Waves introduces six characters who are grappling with the death of a beloved friend, Percival. The characters are almost imperceptibly revealed through the kaleidoscopic accumulation of their reflections on themselves and each other. Regarded by many as Virginia Woolf's masterpiece, The Waves was partially written in order to exorcise her private ghosts as the central, yet absent, character of Percival represents her brother Thoby, who died in 1906. It is a poetic dreamscape, visual, experimental and thrilling. With introductions by Jeanette Winterson and Gillian Beer.

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Author information

Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882, the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, first editor of The Dictionary of National Biography. After his death in 1904 Virginia and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, moved to Bloomsbury and became 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. In 1912 Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a writer and social reformer. Three years later, her first novel The Voyage Out was published, followed by Night and Day (1919) and Jacob's Room (1922). These first novels show the development of Virginia Woolf's distinctive and innovative narrative style. It was during this time that she and Leonard Woolf founded The Hogarth Press with the publication of the co-authored Two Stories in 1917, hand-printed in the dining room of their house in Surrey. 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. This intense creative productivity was often matched by periods of mental illness, from which she had suffered since her mother's death in 1895. On 28 March 1941, a few months before the publication of her final novel, Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf committed suicide.

Review quote

"Clear, bright, burnished, at once marvellously accurate and subtly connotative. The pure, delicate sensibility found in this language and the moods that it expresses are a true kind of poetry" New York Times "As a reader, as a writer, I constantly return, for the lyricism of it, the melancholy, the humanity" -- Amy Sackville Independent

Back cover copy

WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY JEANETTE WINTERSON AND GILLIAN BEER 'Clear, bright, burnished...a true kind of poetry' New York Times The Waves is an astonishingly beautiful and poetic novel. It begins with six children playing in a garden by the sea and follows their lives as they grow up and experience friendship, love and grief at the death of their beloved friend Percival. Regarded by many as her greatest work, The Waves is also seen as Virginia Woolf's response to the loss of her brother Thoby, who died when he was twenty-six. The Vintage Classics Virginia Woolf series has been curated by Jeanette Winterson, and the texts used are based on the original Hogarth Press editions published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf. See also: To the Lighthouse