Virginia Woolf - The Second Common Reader (Wartime first edition)
A fascinating and rare find: a wartime first edition of Virginia Woolf's Second Common Reader published by Pelican books in 1944.
This book is wonderful for so many reasons. It is a collection of Virginia Woolf's essays about reading, covering topics such as Robinson Crusoe, the books of Thomas Hardy and the subject of how one should read a book. Virginia Woolf described it as 'an unprofessional book of criticism dealing with such lives and books as have chanced to come my way'.
The book itself was published for the first time during the WWII, printed on very thin paper due to the lack of resources, and with advertisements for shoes and cigarettes on the back pages. It includes a note at the front explaining that war-time production difficulties meant Pelican were unable to maintain large stocks of their publications and readers wishing to know the current list of titles available were to send a penny stamp or stamped addressed envelope. What an amazing piece of social history.
Condition: The front cover is missing a piece and is coming away at the front but, surprisingly, the rest of the book is in excellent condition for its 74 years.
Dimensions: 7" x 4.1"