FAQ: The Waves

Publication History

Created January 25, 1999

What is the publication history of The Waves?

Woolf began The Waves shortly after finishing To the Lighthouse in 1929. The Waves began as "The Moths" or "The Story of the Moths."   Woolf had kept notes for approximately three years (1926-1929) before she actually wrote the first draft in April 1930. However, being dissatisfied, by May 1930 she had already begun to rewrite the entire book. Finally, on October 8, 1931, the novel was published by the Hogarth Press in England and on October 22, of the same year, by Harcourt Brace & Company in the United States. Both dust jackets were designed by Vanessa Bell (Virginia’s sister). Woolf herself said the book would probably not sell 2000 copies. However, in the first year of publication The Waves sold 12,000 copies in England and 12,000 in America, to the great surprise of the author (Brewster 140).

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