Tuesday, 23 March 2010

On this day...

Virginia and Leonard Woolf purchased a small handpress in 1917. Delivered a month later to their house in Richmond, the item was to become known as the Hogarth Press, which. over the next three decades would go on to publish 525 titles. 1917 saw Virginia Woolf emerging from a third bout of depression, and Leonard, with the belief that book publishing might prove a theraputic hobby, purchased for her the printing press.

Yet he equally had a restless mind that he needed to satisfy, and many of the press's early titles were published at his urging, including numerous political commentaries. Perhaps interestingly, considering his wife's own mental position, Leonard was one of the first Englishmen to publish translations of Sigmund Freud's work, so bringing the world of pscyhoanalytic theory to British readers. Yet the bulk of publication was the works of the Bloomsbury Group, of which both Woolfs were members. This included names such as Katherine Mansfield, E.M. Forster, and, undoubtedly the press's most famous work, 'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot.

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