Leonard and Virginia Woolf have proved endlessly interesting as individuals, as partners, as writers, as modernists, as the central players in the absorbing drama of Bloomsbury. Yet surprisingly scant attention has been paid to their remarkable achievement as publishers. Now J.H. Willis, Jr, attempts to combine wide-ranging literary knowledge with over 10 years of research to enhance our appreciation of Leonard and Virginia Woolf as publishers. The Woolf's very personal publishing enterprise began with the installation of a handpress in the drawing room of Hogarth House in 1917. What started as amateur diversion from the demands of their own writing encompassed, by the time of Virginia's suicide in 1941, the publication of 474 titles. Along the way the Woolfs published the early work of T.S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, John Maynard Keynes, and a host of others, and introduced the English-speaking world to the great Russian novelists and Sigmund Freud. It was a record any publisher would envy, all the more remarkable for the personal way in which it was achieved. Virginia originally set the type and frequently read the proof; Leonard as managing director made the deals, kept the books, and nearly always argued with the assistants. Through much digging J.H. Willis has pieced together the full story of "Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers". "In the midst of present-day publishing giants and the obliterating tide of so many books", the author writes, "readers and publishers may look at the operation of the Hogarth Press with amusement, perhaps with disbelief, possibly with nostalgia. Most of all, I hope readers will look with admiration at what Leonard and Virginia Woolf achieved as publishers in the context of their times and will see the Hogarth Press as a brilliant addition to their accomplishments as writers and intellectuals".About the Author:
J.H. Willis, Jr., is Professor of English at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of William Empson.
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