“Nowhere else could we have started the Hogarth Press, whose very awkward beginning had rise in this very room […] Here that strange offspring grew & throve; it ousted us from the dining room […] & crept all over the house. And people have been here, thousands of them it seems to me”
Virginia Woolf’s Diary, 9 January 1924
On or about March 1917 something changed in the publishing history of Britain, in the lives of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and definitely in the everyday life of their dining room. They finally bought a letterpress and placed it on their dining table, whereby the history of the Hogarth Press officially started. This boutique publishing “house” that flourished at their home in Richmond and burgeoned at their new one in Tavistock, saw not only the priceless handmade copies of Woolf’s works adorned with her sister Vanessa Bell’s beautifully designed covers and illustrations, but also some of the seminal texts of English Modernism and avant-garde such as T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The professionalism and scope of their enterprise were far beyond the means of ameateur book makers who initially used wallpapers for book covers and bound loose papers literally sewing them with a needle and thread. As our exhibition of the early Hogarth books aims to demonstrate, the strands of blue thread left behind in the early handmade copies were, in a way, the blueprints for a firm move away from traditional publishing. Soon the list of publications included the first translated edition of Sigmund Freud’s collected works, Vita Sackville-West’s best-selling novel The Edwardians, travel writing by Utley, poetry criticism by Sitwell, as well as translations from the literature of Russia, a country that made a big political move away from the known exactly around that time.
On May 10th 2017 we celebrate the centenary of this unique and inspirational cultural institution at Harvard. We will explore some first editions of the Hogarth Press at the Houghton Library. We will continue with a round table about the Woolfs, Hogarth, the Bloomsbury circle, the printing world, and the significance of independent publishing today. Finally – we will have a hands-on letterpress printing workshop at the Bow & Arrow Press at Adams House. You can also join an initial workshop at Bow & Arrow on May 3rd and prepare with us the printing of a page from the first Hogarth publication: Virginia Woolf’s “The Mark on the Wall”.
See the full HOGARTH CELEBRATION PROGRAM
Coordinators: Dr. Mine Özyurt Kılıç & Dr. Nana Ariel
**Free event, space is limited. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
The May 10th Event is Sold Out!
Books included in the demonstration at Houghton:
Two stories | Virginia and Leonard Woolf (1917)
Paris : A poem | Hope Mirrlees (1919)
Poems | T. S. Eliot (1919)
The story of the Siren | E.M. Forster (1920)
Monday or Tuesday | Virginia Woolf (1921)
Stories of the East | Leonard Woolf (1921)
Daybreak | Fredegond Shove (1922)
Twelve Original Woodcuts | Roger Fry (1922)
The Waste Land | T. S. Eliot (1923)
To A Proud Phantom | Ena Limebeer (1923)
Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown | Virginia Woolf (1924)
Parallax | Nancy Cunard (1925)
Poetry & criticism | Edith Sitwell (1925)
Kew Gardens | Virginia Woolf (1927)
Notes for Poems | William Plomer (1928)
A Room of One’s Own | Virginia Woolf (1929)
The Edwardians | Vita Sackville-West (1930)
On Being Ill | Virginia Woolf (1930)
Elegies from the Castle of Duino | Rainer Maria Rilke (1931)
The Waves | Virginia Woolf (1931)
From Moscow to Samarkand | Freda Utley (1934)
*The book selection reflects the diversity of the Hogarth Press and highlights items having unique aesthetic value. Changes may apply.