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Archive for the ‘Jean Moorcroft Wilson’ Category

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.

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Cecil Woolf Publishers, 1 Mornington Place London NW1 7RP, UK Tel: 020 7387 2394 or +44 (0)20 7387 2394 from outside the UK, cecilwoolf@gmail.com

Each year at the Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, Cecil Woolf Publishers introduce several new monographs in their Bloomsbury Heritage Series and distribute a new catalogue of their publications.

Here are the three new titles that debuted at the 21st Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, held June 9-12 at the University of Glasgow, and the two that were reissued:

  • Virginia Woof and the Thirties Poets by Emily Kopley
  • How Vita Matters by Mary Ann Caws
  • `I’d Make It Penal’, the Rural Preservation Movement in Virginia Woolf’s “Between the Acts” by Mark Hussey
  • Virginia Woolf, Life and London: Bloomsbury and Beyond by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, a revised reissue available in both paperback and casebound editions
  • Virginia Woolf: A to Z  by Mark Hussey, a reissue available in both paperback and casebound editions

Download Cecil Woolf Publishers Bloomsbury Heritage Series 2011 Catalogue and Order Form.

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Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson

Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Cecil Woolf are featured in an article about World War I poet Edward Thomas posted today on the Islington Tribune website.

Wilson, who is writing a biography of Thomas, spoke about him at an event at the Imperial War Museum on the eve of Remembrance Day. She is the author of biographies of World War I poets Isaac Rosenberg (2005) and Siegfried Sassoon (2009).

Churchill biographer Martin Wilson also spoke at the event, describing the conditions on the Western Front during the Great War.

Wilson serves as editor for many monographs in the Bloomsbury Heritage Series and the War Poets Series published by her husband, Cecil Woolf of Cecil Woolf Publishers, which is based in London.

She also wrote the text that every Woolfian consults when planning a trip to England in the hopes of following in Virginia Woolf’s footsteps. It’s titled Virginia Woolf, Life and London: A Biography of Place.

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I love getting post from abroad. Everything about it is charming: the feel of the envelope, the look of the stamps, even the fact that “U.S.A.” is included in the address.

I never rip it right open. I usually hold the letter in my hands for a minute, thinking about the long distance it has come, the water it has crossed, the person on the other end who has taken the time to sit down and put pen to paper.

Sometimes I have to wait for the right moment before I can open it. I never want to read a letter from abroad when I am agitated or in a hurry or distracted by some mundane matter.

But when the moment is right, I settle down on my favorite sofa, the one where the late afternoon sun slants across my shoulder. In that calm and quiet spot, I carefully slit open the envelope. I sip the words slowly, letting them swish around in my mind. I savor their flavor and their meaning. I note their nuances and subtleties. I picture the person who wrote it and the place where he wrote.

A letter, an old-fashioned handwritten letter from abroad, is something I can tuck in my book and read again later. It is something I can take with me wherever I go. It is something I can save forever, tied up with others like it, bound together and stored in a drawer.

So where is the Virginia Woolf connection in all of this? Well, we all know she wrote and received lots of letters — volumes in fact. Five of them sit on my bookshelf.

But two other things have made me think about letters. The first was a note I received from Cecil Woolf, nephew of Leonard and Virginia, who wrote to say that he and his wife Jean Moorcroft Wilson had spent 12 days in South Africa, where they spoke at the University of Capetown. Cecil’s talk was titled “As I Remember Them: Virginia and Leonard Woolf.” His missive was dated Jan. 26, and I thought about the significance of that date as well.

Cecil Woolf

The second thing that made me think about letters was the much-discussed news that Angelica Garnett has published a new volume of short stories, The Unspoken Truth: A Quartet of Bloomsbury Stories. These stories are not letters. But Garnett has been quoted as saying that the stories are autobiographical, not invented, for the most part.

Those things led me to ponder the similarities between real life and fiction and the differences between real life stories and the lives we share via letters. Both are edited, either formally or informally. Both alter the realities of our daily lives. Both stay true to those realities.

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Anne Fernald and Megan Branch

Anne Fernald and Megan Branch

Wow! That is my overwhelming response to the Virginia Woolf conference that ended yesterday afternoon in New York City.

The comments I heard throughout the four-day event tell me that Woolf and the City left everyone buzzed. Anne Fernald and her team of volunteers from Fordham University — Megan Branch, Elizabeth Foley O’Connor, Kelly Spall and Sarah Cornish — put together a dynamite event that sparked many ideas in the minds of Woolfians from around the world.

Here are some highlights:

  • Fifty fabulous panels featuring the work of Woolf scholars and common readers from around the globe,
    Alice Lowe
    Alice Lowe

    including Bloomsbury biographer Frances Spalding of Newcastle University, Pace University’s Mark Hussey of Virginia Woolf from A to Z fame, Alice Lowe of San Diego, artist Suzanne Bellamy of the University of Sydney, Sarah Prieto of SUNY New Paltz, Katarzyna Rybinska of Wroclaw University in Poland and Iolanda Plescia of Roma Tre University in Rome.

  • Dr. Ruth Gruber. Yes, Dr. Ruth Gruber. The 97-year-old journalist, photographer and author of Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, was part of a conversational panel led by writer and broadcaster Katherine Lanpher. She shared fascinating stories of her 1930s experiences as a journalist who visited the Soviet Arctic and a writer who met Virginia and Leonard Woolf in their Tavistock Square flat.
  • Susan Sellers, author of Vanessa and Virginia, the novel based on the relationship between sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, which is receiving rave reviews in the U.S. after its recent release, was also part of the Lanpher conversation. When she read a passage from her novel, I wasn’t sure what impressed me more — the words she read or the liltingly beautiful English accent with which she read them. Maybe it was the combination.
  • Kris Lundberg, founder of Shakespeare’s Sister, a New York theater company for women that also focuses on community literacy. She did a dramatic reading of Woolf’s words that made a hush fall over the audience.
  • Keynote speaker Rebecca Solnit, a prolific author whose soothing voice left her audience in a state of suspended animation while her intriguing ideas left their minds in a state of excitement.
  • Tamar Katz of Brown University who spoke about the importance of “pausing and waiting” in life and in Woolf.
  • Anna Snaith of King College, London, who shared her views regarding the meaning of street music in The Years — and treated us to audio clips of the actual tunes as well.
  • Plus a reading from Vita and Virginia and a performance that combined rock-out music from Princeton with dance from the Stephen Pelton Dance Theatre.
  • A table full of lovely books for sale from New York’s independent, activist book seller, Bluestockings.

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson
Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson

And, of course, what Woolf conference would be complete without the inimitable combination of Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson and their collection of Bloomsbury Heritage Series monographs, including their two latest.

These monographs, published by their London publishing house, Cecil Woolf Publishers, are always popular at Woolf conferences, as they cover topics often missing in other Woolf scholarship.

Get the full list of books available in his Bloomsbury Heritage and War Poets series.

I will soon be posting an order form as a PDF to make the purchasing process easier. And I promise to keep you updated on other steps Cecil and Jean plan to take to make their monographs more available to their reading public.

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cecilwoolfseriesIn a month and year when our country is giddily celebrating the historic election of Barack Obama as president, our friends across the pond have a different event on their minds.

They are getting ready to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

Of the five million British men and women who served in the war, only three are still alive. They are Henry Allingham, Harry Patch and William Stone, and they will lead the country in two minutes of silence on Nov. 11, in honor of those who have died in war.

The BBC has a special Web page and programs devoted to the 90th anniversary, along with information about artists and poets from WWI. And the Imperial War Museum in London is the site of a year-long exhibition to commemorate the anniversary.

The museum was also the site of the November 2005 launch of The War Poets series, edited by noted war poet writer Jean Moorcroft Wilson and published by Cecil Woolf Publishers of London.

That fall, just in time for Armistice Day, four volumes in the series were published. Another four came out the following November.

This year, Cecil Woolf Publishers has released several more. They include People’s Poetry of World War One by Phil Carradice, and Trench Songs of the First World War, selected and edited by John Press. These two soft cover volumes are the twelfth and thirteenth in the series.

Five of the volumes in the series are reviewed in the Camden New Journal. You can also read more about them on the Web site of the War Poets Association. Just search on Cecil Woolf.

Other titles in the series, which is billed as “The Lives, Works and Times of the 20th Century War Poets,” include:

  • Richard Aldington: The Selected War Poems
  • Richard Perceval Graves: Changing Perceptions: Poets of the Great War
  • Anne Powell: Alun Lewis: A Poet of Consequences
  • Alan Byford: Edmund Blunden and the Great War: Recollections of a Friendship
  • John Press: Sidney Keyes
  • Christopher Saunders: Edward Thomas: All Roads Lead to France
  • John Press: Charles Hamilton Sorley
  • Merryn Williams: T.P. Cameron Wilson
  • Dominic Hibberd: Harold Monro and Wilfrid Gibson: the Pioneers

For a full list of these and other books from Cecil Woolf Publishers, as well as details about how to order them, click here.

All of the monographs are available directly from Cecil Woolf Publishing, 1 Mornington Place, London NW1 7RP, UK, Tel: 020 7387 2394 (or +44 (0)20 7387 2394 from outside the UK). Prices range from £4.50 to £9.95. 

Cecil Woolf is also planning an addition to his Bloomsbury Heritage series on the topic of Virginia Woolf’s Likes and Dislikes, and anyone can contribute to the project. Search her letters and diaries for the things she liked and those she didn’t, then post them here.

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