Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2017

Conference days are long. And full. And draining. But on the afternoon of day two of the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, one plenary session — a roundtable featuring five scholars — perked up the crowd.

It was the session introducing the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP), a new digital project that currently focuses on the Hogarth Press but plans to include more newly digitized material and information connected with additional publishers as time goes on.

“This is the first time in a long time I’ve wanted to be 22 again,” said Beth Rigel Daugherty of Otterbein University. “Last night [at the Hogarth Press 100th birthday celebration] there was this very strong sense of the past. And this project is moving toward the future.”

Visitors can navigate the site several different ways to locate works, authors, and publishers in which they are interested. They can read synopses of the work, brief bios of the authors, and download high-res images of the book covers. Images can be used under a Creative Commons license.

MAPP is a collaborative project among six scholars and their students and research assistants from several countries. It was spearheaded by Elizabeth Willson Gordon, The King’s University of Edmonton, Canada; Claire Battershill, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada; Alice Staveley, Stanford University; Helen Southworth, University of Oregon; Michael Widner, Stanford University; Nicola Wilson, University of Reading, Reading, England.

The group will be recruiting students to serve as research assistants to write additional book synopses and literary biographies. The site will eventually include pedagogical resources, including lists of syllabi and assignments using the digital resources available on MAPP.

The new Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP) now available online.

Claire Battershill of Simon Fraser University led conference participants through the MAPP website.

Roundtable participants sit below a screen showing a digitized ledger sheet from the Hogarth Press.

 

Read Full Post »

The Hogarth Press is 100 years old this year, and the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf marked the centennial with a birthday party that turned out to be a family affair.

Cressida Bell, granddaughter of Vanessa Bell, designed the cake, which was loaded with chocolate chunks and fruit. Cecil Woolf, nephew of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, shared his memories of working at the Hogarth Press starting in 1931, as well as the history of the business.

The Woolfs’ printing business began with their purchase of a small hand printing press in March of 1917. The couple spotted the press in a printer shop’s window, Cecil said, and purchased it for 19£, five shillings and five pence. It came with a 16-page instruction book, type, cases, and other equipment.

Book and art treats, too

Conference participants who attended the party at the Reading, England Museum of English Rural Life were treated to more than cake and Cecil’s charming talk. They were also able to purchase specially printed keepsake editions of  Virginia’s 1924 article “The Patron and the Crocus.” Included in the slim volume is a facsimile reproduction of a reader’s report from the Hogarth Press archives at the University of Reading.

Party-goers were also able to print their own woodcut of the Roger Fry design “The London Garden.”

The publication of “Cecil Woolf: The Other Boy at the Hogarth Press, Virginia and Leonard Woolf as I Remember Them” by Cecil Woolf Publishers also marks the centennial, as does a new Hogarth Chatto & Windus version of the first book published by the Hogarth Press, the Woolfs’ Two Stories.

Cecil Woolf, accompanied by his wife Jean Moorcroft Wilson, talks about being “A Boy at the Hogarth Press” at its 100th birthday party

The Hogarth Press 100th birthday cake, designed by Cressida Bell.

Clara Farmer, publishing director of Hogarth Chatto & Windus, and Cecil Woolf slice the cake.

The Hogarth Press centenary keepsake of “The Patron and the Crocus” offers two different colored letterpress covers.

Martin Andrews of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading patiently helped guests print their own woodcut copies of Roger Fry’s design, “The London Garden.”

Woodcuts hanging to dry at the Hogarth Press 100th birthday party.

Party guests enjoying Cecil Woolf’s reminiscences.

Read Full Post »

After decades of publishing other people’s books, Cecil Woolf has written a monograph of his own. Cecil Woolf: The Other Boy at the Hogarth Press, Virginia and Leonard Woolf as I Remember Them is being launched at the 27th Annual International Conference on Virgina Woolf in Reading, England this week.

To order this monograph and others in the Bloomsbury Heritage and War Poets series, visit Cecil Woolf Publishers.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes things last longer than one would like. Other times, they fly by and seem much too short. My tour of the archives at the University of Reading Special Collections, part of the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf and the World of Books, fell into the latter category.

Hogarth Press archives

The tour of the archives focused on the collection of documents related to the Hogarth Press founded by Leonard and Virginia Woolf in 1917. We weren’t permitted to take photos, so I’ll describe what I saw.

The Hogarth Press documents nearly filled two stacks.  Most of the 18 shelves contained boxes of documents — from letters to notebooks detailing the book income of the authors they published. Nearly three of the long shelves were filled with large leather-bound ledger books from the press. I wanted to linger and explore by hand but we had to move on.

Hogarth Press Centennial

Our next stop was an exhibition housed at the same location, which is also the Museum of English Rural Life. The Hogarth Press at 100 marks the importance of Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s venture into independent publishing and book selling. It will be on display through Aug. 31.

The exhibition features contemporary artwork responding to a conference call for printed works. It includes original artwork, woodblocks, archival objects and documents from the archives of the Hogarth Press, held in the University of Reading’s Special Collections.

Virginia and Leonard’s travel cases

On the bottom shelf in one glass display case were two special items: nearly matching leather satchels, worn and creased with cracks, that belonged to the Woolfs. Virginia and Leonard carried them during their travels. And attached to Virginia’s was a faded blue tag leftover from a trip to France.

Because of copyright issues, we were not permitted to take photos, so I am longing for a website or a print catalogue that will share the items and art displayed.

Walking to the Museum of Rural English Life, which houses the Hogarth Press archive, as well as the Hogarth Press at 100 exhibition.

Museum of English Rural Life

Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press at 100

Whoops! I snapped this photo at the beginning of the exhibition before I saw the sign instructing us not to take photos.

Read Full Post »

When I arrived in Reading, England by train for the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at the University of Reading yesterday, I was too tired to notice The Three Guineas pub right across from the train station. But others did and they clued me in.

So when I went out to explore a bit last evening, that’s where I landed, thanks to conference keynoter Ted Bishop and Elizabeth Willson Gordon, who graciously invited me to tag along with them. Bishop, of the University of Alberta, Canada, will talk about Virginia Woolf’s inks, and Willson Gordon, of The King’s University of Edmonton, Canada, is part of a roundtable on the Modernist Archives Publishing Project. Her colleagues on the project are Claire Battershill, Simon Fraser University; Alice Staveley, Stanford University; Helen Southworth, University of Oregon; Michael Widner, Stanford University; Nicola Wilson, University of Reading.

As it turns out, the Reading pub’s name is not connected to Virginia but to a railway prize. Oh, well. I enjoyed the food, my London Pride brew, the cozy setting on a chill, rainy night, and the company anyway.

Read Full Post »

Andrea Barrett is one of my favorite contemporary writers. Her science-infused stories are extraordinary, but until recently I hadn’t read her early work from before the 1996 National Book Award winning Ship Fever.

Recently I came across Barrett’s 2015 essay in the literary journal Agni, “The Years and The Years.” Barrett starts by noting that while The Years isn’t considered one of Woolf’s finest novels, for her it “made possible the first I would publish.” I was thrilled to find this connection between Woolf and Barrett.

Crafting her first novel in the mid-eighties Barrett had her themes, her time and place. To fill them she had characters and relationships spanning three decades. But after writing hundreds of pages and discarding most of it, she couldn’t find a satisfactory way to shape the material. Then she read The Years. She describes the opening scene as an overture—“technically brilliant, profoundly moving”— in the way it introduced the characters and their lives with “ripples that reinforce each other as they intersect  …. Everything, it turns out, changes everything. Everything repeats and reverberates.”

Barrett went to Woolf’s diary, to where she sets out her ideas for The Years: “I want to give the whole of the present society …. with the most powerful and agile leaps, like a chamois, across precipices from 1880 to here and now.”

The structural elements of The Years became a framework from which Barrett was able to give shape to her story. She discovered that, like Woolf, she could skip over portions of time, “shining a beam on one moment and then, years later, on another, suggesting swiftly by thought and conversation what had happened in the space between.”

The result was Lucid Stars, published in 1988. Each of four sections is broken down into dated chapters, and each part’s block of years has a different central character with her own voice. Each section stands apart from the whole while at the same time knitting it together. Like The Years.

Woolf continued to influence Barrett. She tells how Orlando, Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves all showed her the intricacies of writing about biography, history, politics, and war in fiction. Barrett did all of this, in her own voice and style, in the stories and novels that followed Lucid Stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Whether we celebrate it June 20 or June 13, may we all think of Clarissa and Virginia in London today, as we arrange some flowers of our own, read some Woolf, and take a walk. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: