This particular dust-jacket’s design was not popular among booksellers. It was “what in 1923 many people would have called reproachfully post-impressionist” (Gordon) because of its lack of an identifiable human figure and inability to act as a descriptive drawing for the narrative. What the design does include, notably, is flowers. Flowers in particular held complex and often opposing meaning as motifs for human nature in works for both sisters (Gillespie 243). By juxtaposing recognizable forms with more abstract, contrasting lines and shapes in a limited palette, Vanessa creates not only an arguably visually pleasing design, but also invokes the “psychological oppositions” that Woolf writes about (Gillespie 266) in her novels.The dust-jacket acts as a material object that intentionally visualizes the complex and abstract nature of the relationship between the exterior and the interior self that is explored in Jacob’s Room — made manifest by Vanessa’s non-representational still life of flowers by a window.
Hana Leaper succinctly describes the symbiotic nature of the dust-jacket and novel form as such:
“When also viewed as objects, rather than simply as images, it becomes apparent the jackets bind Woolf’s texts offering, in both literal and metaphorical fashions, support and protection to the material within.”
Posted by: Pipit Standen