Virginia Woolf: The Years

(2473 words)
  • Jane de Gay (Trinity All Saints, Leeds)

The Years (1937) was the last of Virginia Woolf's novels to be published in her lifetime. It traces the lives of three generations of the Pargiter family from 1880 until the “present day” in a series of dated chapters. Although the “present day” is generally assumed to be 1937, the year of publication, this is inaccurate because the chapter is set in the summer and The Years was published in March. It is therefore more helpful to regard the episode as presenting a generic present that the original readers in the mid-thirties would have recognized, and to see the book as a critique of Woolf's contemporary society and how it had developed. Woolf wrote The Years in the face of the escalating political …

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de Gay, Jane. "The Years". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 October 2005
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]