There have been many memoirs of life among the Bloomsberries, but none more wickedly frank or funny than Richard Kennedy’s A Boy at the Hogarth Press.
In 1922, Richard Kennedy’s formidable grandmother pulled a well-connected string and got him a scholarship to Marlborough. To say that Kennedy’s education up to this point had been patchy is an understatement. As he describes it in his childhood memoir A Parcel of Time, it consisted of ‘two uneducated women’, his mother and his nurse, failing to teach him to read, followed by a series of pretty dire south-coast prep schools from which he generally absented himself by the simple expedient of taking the bus home.
By the time he reached Marlborough he was (more or less) literate, but a scholar he was not, and everyone knew it. At the age of 16 he found that his presence was no longer required at this august establishment and he left without a qualification to his name, thus joining that long line of individuals considered dunderheads at school, who later flourish, creating much-loved, enduring work while the clever chaps are forgotten. Think of Kathleen Hale and Orlando (Slightly Foxed, No. 14); think of Rosemary Sutcliff (SF, Nos. 4 and 17). As for Richard Kennedy, a distinguished artistic career lay ahead. Before that, however, he was to spend a memorable period as an apprentice to Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, and in his wickedly funny account of that time, A Boy at the Hogarth Press, he produced a minor classic.
Putting up Useful Shelves
In 1922, Richard Kennedy’s formidable grandmother pulled a well-connected string and got him a scholarship to Marlborough. To say that Kennedy’s education up to this point had been patchy is an...Read more