Woolf, Virginia: The Years
(researched by Jared Jones)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Virginia Woolf. The Years. Tavistock Square, London: Hogarth Press, 1937. 

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

The first edition was published in a green cloth binding with a paper dust cover designed by Vanessa Bell.  

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

240 leaves.  [6] pp. 1-469, [5].  The page number of each chapter page appears at the lower center of the page, while the normal pagination appears at the top-right of the text.  These chapter pages are located at pp. 1, 94, 138, 157, 172, 206, 230, 241, 301, and 325.

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

The first edition is neither edited nor introduced by anyone.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

The Dust Jacket is illustrated by Vanessa Bell.  There are no illustrations on the cover or within the work.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The pages measure 181mm X 113 mm with the text on the pages measuring 139mm X 85mm.  The margins are between 20 and 23 mm---depending on the exact margin.  The font used is a serif font--most likely Fournier--and each line is about 3mm in height and 20 lines measure to 84R.  The dust jacket of the book is very appealing, as is the muted green color of the cover.  The text is large enough to be read easily and is well-printed (there are no readily apparent mistakes or smudges).  The chapters are normally dates, except for the final paragraph with reads “PRESENT DAY”.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The pages are white with a slightly rough texture and are straight-edged.  The condition of the copy that I examined is excellent.  The paper appears to have been well-made due to its current physical condition—there are no rips or tears to be found.  This copy does not seem as worn out as one might expect a copy in circulation to be, although the end pages at the front and rear of the book are slightly stained/yellowed.

11 Description of binding(s)

The work is bound in a traditional cloth binding—in this instance, it is bound in green cloth.  Both the front and rear covers are unmarked and the spine has the title of the book, the author’s name, a star, and the publisher.  

Transcription of the spine: “The | Years” is located horizontally towards the top of the spine and is followed by a star insignia which is followed by “Virginia Woolf.”  “The | Hogarth Press” is located at the bottom of the spine.

12 Transcription of title page

THE YEARS | VIRGINIA WOOLF | [wolf crest] | Published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at | The Hogarth Press, Tavistock Square, London | 1937.

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Woolf’s manuscript holdings are spread throughout, but many are located within the British Library. The New York Public Library is also noted to have “a synthetic collection” of her manuscripts as well.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

Dust jacket, inside front flap: “THE YEARS | By VIRGINIA WOOLF | 8s. 6d. net | This new novel by Mrs. Woolf | is one of the longest written by | her.  In form, it is different | from any of its predecessors. | Its theme is the passing of the | last fifty years, seen through the | everyday life of separate indi- | viduals.  The theme is presented | in the concrete details of their | daily life and the impact upon | individuals of all the forces that | mould society, from fear and | love to war and politics.  The | pattern of the book is also | drawn in certain repeated | phrases and verbal echoes | which seem to reveal to the | reader the strange psychologi- | cal and social forces which | drive each individual inexor- | ably along his own separate | path.  The paths of all these | people begin in the ‘eighties of | the last century, diverge and | cross and diverge again through | the years, and finally meet once | more, at the end of the book, | in the present day. |  This jacked is designed by | VANESSA BELL


Unnumbered page 4 (located adjacent to the title page) advertises other works by Virginia Woolf.

The page following the title page states that it was “Printed by R. & R. Clark, LTD., in Edinburgh.”

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

While under the ownership of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Hogarth press published two editions of the work—the original 1937 first edition and a 1940 “uniform edition” that had a different dust jacket than the original but is really just a second impression.  Once acquired by Chatto & Windus in 1946, they reprinted the “uniform edition” in 1950, 1958, and 1965.  In 1969, the publisher joined with Jonathan Cape and reprinted the “uniform edition” impression of The Years under the Hogarth Press name in 1972 and 1979.  Random House acquired the publisher in 1987, and published one final “Definitive Collector’s Edition” of the work as “Hogarth Press” in 1990.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

There are two issues of the first editions with seven total printings.  The first edition, first issue was printed in 1937, and the first edition, second issue was printed in 1940, and later reprinted in 1950, 1958, 1965, 1972, and 1979.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

First American edition; Harcourt, Brace, and Company—1937 (10,000 printed). There were twelve re-impressions totaling 37,900 copies between April and Oct. 1937.

Armed Services Edition; Harcourt, Brace, and Company—1940 (156,700 copies).

Pan books—1948 (40,000 copies printed)

Penguin Books—1968 (25,000 copies printed).  Reprinted in 1971 (15,000 copies), 1973 (12,000 copies), and 1974 (15,000 copies)

Photo-offset reprint of the First American edition; Harvest Books—1969 (7000 copies at $2.85). 

Reprinted in June 1973 (3000 copies), October 1973 (3000 copies), September 1974 (5000 copies), and November 1975 (5085 copies).

Panther Books—1977 (30,000 copies for £1.25 each).  There were nine further printings, but no dates were given.

Manuscript for the Novel-Essay portion of the Years—Microprint plate facsimile—Readex Microprint Corporation. 1977 (2000 copies printed for $16)

Photo-offset reprint of above manuscript. Harvest books—1978 (9831 copies printed. $4.95)


Worlds Classics edition; Oxford University Press—June 1992 (5000 for £4.50). Reprinted in May 1992 (3000 copies).

Penguin—1998, 2002

Oxford University Press—1999, 2000, 2006, 2009, 2012



Cambridge University Press—2012



6 Last date in print?

The latest date in print as of February 19, 2018 seems to be Apr. 25, 2017 as part of a “Virginia Woolf series” by Vintage.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

Hackett’s 70 Years of Best Sellers lists it as the fifth highest-selling work of 1937 under the Harcourt and Brace publishing company.  It does not sell enough to make the overall bestsellers list (selling more than one million copies).  No information was garnered through looking at Mott’s Golden Multitudes, though Snaith’s Virginia Woolf: Public and Private Negotiations notes that in April 1937, 10,250 copies were sold in England, and that by September, Woolf had noted that 40000-50000 copies had been sold in America across nine American editions.  It was noted to have been sold at $2.50 in Publisher’s Weekly advertisements with advance copies costing $2.75 each.

However, A Bibliography of Virginia Woolf by Kirkpatrick and Clark lists the numbers that were printed.  It seems that 431,239 copies were accounted for as printed across publishers as of 1992.  Certain printing numbers are unknown.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

At least 10,250 copies were sold in England and an additional 40000-50000 copies were sold in America in 1937.  More complete metrics for sales were not able to be found at this time.  To see numbers printed by year, refer to section 5. 

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

After browsing through Publisher’s Weekly editions from Jan. 30, 1937 to mid-September, 1937, I was able to locate three different advertisements.  The first was in the “Spring Announcements 1937” edition of Publisher’s Weekly.  It was simply an entry on the larger Harcourt, Brace And Company advert under a “Fiction” heading.  This advert simply listed “Virginia Woolf: THE YEARS” followed by its release date of April 8 and price listed at $2.50.


The second advertisement chronologically was found in the March 6, 1937 edition of Publisher’s Weekly.  The top third of the page was printed in black with white text, and the lower two-thirds in black text on white paper.  The page is intersected in the middle by a line (white and black as appropriate).  The text reads: “The new novel by | Virginia | Woolf | will be published” on the left side of the line in black, and “April 8” on the right.  On the lower portion, the text reads, “ [bullet] THE YEARS is Mrs. Woolf’s | first novel since 1931 | [line break] | [bullet] The longest and most consiste- | ently readable, exciting, and im- | portant work of fiction of her dis- | tinguished career, it will be the | outstanding novel of the spring | for Mrs. Woolf’s following.  And | it is confidently expected to intro- | duce her to a large new audience. | [line break] | [bullet] March 15 advance copies will | be ready.  Giant books will be | available for display for the taking | of orders before publication.  On | the same date, we shall go to press | with announcement circulars for | you April first statement mailings. | April 8, $2.75 | [double line break] | HARCOURT, BRACE & CO. | 383 MADISON AVE., NEW YORK” on the left of the line.  On the right, in large font, it reads “The | Years”.  See the picture below.


The final advertisement found was located in the May 29, 1937 edition of Publisher’s Weekly.  It was simply written in black text on a white page.  The title and author were located at the top of the page in larger font, followed by an advertisement that praised the work and showed the cost.  Transcription: “THE YEARS | by Virginia Woolf | has led all other novels on the “What America Is Reading” | best seller chart in the N.Y. Herald Tribune Books for four | consecutive weeks.  America is reading Virginia Woolf as | it never has before.  And talking about it. | Which presages an excellent summer market for a novel | which happens to be, in many critics’ opinion, the finest | work of this distinguished novelist. 5th large printing, $2.50 | HARCOURT, BRACE & CO., 383 MADISON AVE., NEW YORK”

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

None were found.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

After extensive research in the Film Literary Index, as well as IMDB, it does not appear that a film version of this novel was ever produced.  Furthermore, after researching through James Salem’s A Guide to Critical Reviews, it also does not seem as though there are any other performances through music, the stage, or radio broadcasts, however there does seem to be an audiobook recorded by Finty Wiliams in 2006.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Els Anys, Aurelia Company. [Catalonian translation]

Woolf, Virginia, et al. Évek. Franklin-Társulat Kiadása, 1940. [Hungarian]

Woolf, Virginia, and Dezső Tandori. Az évek. Európa Könyvkiadó, 2007. [Hungarian]

Woolf, Virginia, Mitchell Alexander Leaska, et al. Le livre sans nom: Les Pargiter : roman-essai

à l’origine d’Années. Des femmes, 1985. [French Translation]

Woolf, Virginia. Années. Stock, 1938. [French Translation]

Woolf, Vrginia. Années. Éditions Stock, 1979. [French]

Woolf, Virginia. Les années. Gallimard, 2008. [French]

Woolf, Virginia. Les années: roman. Mercure de France, 2004. [French]

Woolf, Virginia, and René Lalou. Années. Stock, 1985. [French]

Woolf, Virginia, Germaine Delamain, et al. Les années. Gallimard, 2008. [French Translation]

Woolf, Virginia. Die Jahre Roman. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1985. [German]

Woolf, Virginia.  Die Jahre: Roman. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 1990. [German]

Woolf, Virginia, Herberth E. Herlitschka, et al. Die Jahre: Roman. Fischer Taschenbuch, 1985. [German]

Woolf, Virginia, Brigitte Walitzek, et al. Die Jahre: Roman. S. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2002.

Woolf, Virginia, and Brigitte Walitzek. Die Jahre. S. Fischer, 2000. [German]

Woolf, Virginia. Los años. Editorial Lumen, 1983. [Spanish]

Woolf, Virginia. Los años. Debolsillo, 2011. [Spanish]

Woolf, Virginia. Los años. Eds. Lauro, 1946. [Spanish]

Woolf, Virginia. Los años. Lumen, 2010. [Spanish]

Woolf, Virginia. Lata. Czytelni, 1958. [Polish]

Woolf, Virginia, and Małgorzata Szercha. Lata. Czytelnik, 2006. [Polish]

Woolf, Virginia. Sāl’hā. Nigāh, 1998. [Persian]

Woolf, Virginia. Sālhā. Intishārāt-i Nigāh, 1990. [Persian]

Woolf, Virginia. Salha. 2000. [Persian]

Woolf, Virginia. انتشارات نگه،, 2006. (Salha) [Persian]

Woolf, Virginia. Yıllar. İletişim Yayınları, 2004. [Turkish]

Woolf, Virginia, and Dilek Berilgen Cenkçiler. Yıllar. 2013. [Turkish]

Woolf, Virginia, and Oya Dalgıç. Yıllar. İletişim Yayınları, 2009. [Turkish]

Woolf, Virginia. Aarene gaar. København : H. Hagerup 1941. [Danish]

Woolf, Virginia, et al. Os anos. Novo Século, 2011. [Portuguese]

Woolf, Virginia, and Pedro Elston. Os anos. 1992. [Portuguese]

Woolf, Virginia, and 김수정. 세월. 대흥, (Sewol—title) (Taehung--Publisher). Seoul. 1991. [Korean]

Woolf, Virginia, and Артем Осокин. Годы: роман. Текст, 2005. [Russian]

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A


Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Virginia Woolf (née Adeline Virginia Stephen)—acclaimed female British novelist, and author of such works as Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927)—was born on January 25, 1882 in the Kensington district of London, England.  She was the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen—an author, historian, and mountaineer—and Julia Prinsep Stephen (née Jackson)—a nurse, model, and author herself who died when Virginia was thirteen years old.  Virginia had three full siblings: Thoby, Vanessa, and Adrian, as well as four half-siblings: Laura Stephen, George Duckworth, Gerald Duckworth, and Stella Duckworth, who all lived at 22 Hyde Park Gate in Kensington.  James Russell Lowell, the American poet, became her godfather after befriending her father.  Her sister Vanessa is noteworthy for designing the dust covers of many of her works, including the first edition of The Years


Overall, Virginia seemed to have a happy early home life.  Along with her sisters, she was educated in the household where they had access to a quality library, while her brothers were educated at Cambridge.  She became involved in literary activities from a young age—her father was friends with a few authors and critics including William Thackeray (father of his late first wife) and George Henry Lewes.  Furthermore, at the age of nine, Virginia started her own “family newspaper” that she called the Hyde Park Gate News.  The Woolf family spent their summers in St. Ives, along the coast.  Her happy life at home began to change, however, with the death of her mother.  Tragedy (and Virginia’s depression) continued as Stella died two years later, and her father died in 1904—three years after she finished studying German, Greek, and Latin at King’s College, London. 


Virginia met the man who was to become her husband, Leonard Woolf, in 1904, later marrying on August 10, 1912.  Virginia’s first published work The Voyage Out (1915), took her nine years to draft and was originally titled Melymbrosia.  Two years later, she and Leonard established the Hogarth Press—which she later used to publish her works in Britain, as well as works by Freud and Eliot.  She published Night and Day in 1919, Jacob’s Room in 1922, and in 1925 published arguably her best work Mrs. Dalloway.   To the Lighthouse, another well-respected work was published three years later in 1928.  She published only three more novels after this, Orlando (1928), The Waves (1931), and The Years (1937).  Besides novels, she published essays such as A Room of One’s Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938).


Virginia Woolf committed suicide on March 28, 1941 by drowning herself in the River Ouse.  She was cremated by Leonard and he spread her ashes at Monk’s House—a cottage in Rodmell Village that they had bought together in 1919. 


Woolf’s manuscripts are scattered fairly widely, though Kirkpatrick’s bibliography of Woolf notes that The Years papers may be found in the Smith College Library and the New York Public Library (refer to section one for wider manuscript holdings).


Consulted for this assignment: 

“Virginia Woolf.” Biography, https://www.biography.com/people/virginia-woolf-9536773. Accessed 11 Mar. 2018.

“Virginia Woolf | Biography, Books, Death, & Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Virginia-Woolf. Accessed 11 Mar. 2018.

Virginia Woolf Biography - Life, Family, Children, Death, History, Mother, Young, Old, Information, Born, House. http://www.notablebiographies.com/We-Z/Woolf-Virginia.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2018

Kirkpatrick, B. J., and Stuart N. Clarke. A Bibliography of Virginia Woolf. 4th ed., Clarendon Press, 1997

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

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