A Boy at the Hogarth Press & A Parcel of Time
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 1926, at the age of 16, Richard Kennedy left school without a single qualification and went to work at Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press. Though home from home for London’s intellectual élite, the Press’s damp basement at Tavistock Square was anything but elegant, with the legendarily mean LW keeping a close check on everything, including the toilet paper, and frequently exploding when confronted with RK’s latest idiocy. The Woolfs clearly developed a fondness for their apprentice, but when he left several years later LW pronounced him ‘the most frightful idiot he [had] ever had the privilege of meeting in a long career of suffering fools’.
But Kennedy, who became a successful artist and children’s book illustrator, was taking everything in, and 50 years later he produced a minor classic in A Boy at the Hogarth Press, accompanied by his own wonderfully alive illustrations. Later still, he published his touching childhood memoir, A Parcel of Time. First published together as a Slightly Foxed Edition in 2008, and now in a Plain Foxed Edition, the two are a sheer delight.
Virginia and Leonard Woolf started the Hogarth Press in 1917. Its first publication, Two Stories, was bound in bright Japanese paper and contained a short story from both Virginia and Leonard.
With illustrations by Dora Carrington, 134 copies were printed by Leonard using a small handpress installed in the dining room at Hogarth House. This new edition of Two Stories takes the original text of Virginia’s story, ‘The Mark on the Wall’, and pairs it with a new story, ‘St Brides Bay’, by Mark Haddon. It also includes a short introduction from the publisher about the founding of the Press.
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