Virginia Woolf – The Common Reader 1
Hogarth Press first edition book jacket designs
Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader (1925) Cover design by Vanessa Bell.
This was Virginia Woolf’s first major collection of critical essays. After a slow start, it became very popular, and was followed in 1932 by The Common Reader: Second Series. Both books have remained in print ever since and have been influential works of non-fiction which have taught generations of people how to enjoy literature.
The range of topics included in this volume of over twenty essays includes Elizabethan drama, Jane Austen, Defoe, “The Russian Point of View”, and “Modern Fiction” among others. Earlier versions of a number of the pieces had previously been published in journals, often in the Times Literary Supplement, London Mercury, and the Nation and Atheneum, but this was Woolf’s first collection of essays.
Elizabeth Willson Gordon, Woolf’s-head Publishing: The Highlights and New Lights of the Hogarth Press
Hogarth Press studies
Woolf’s-head Publishing is a wonderful collection of cover designs, book jackets, and illustrations – but also a beautiful example of book production in its own right. It was produced as an exhibition catalogue and has quite rightly gone on to enjoy an independent life of its own. This book is a genuine collector’s item, and only months after its first publication it started to win awards for its design and production values. Anyone with the slightest interest in book production, graphic design, typography, or Bloomsbury will want to own a copy the minute they clap eyes on it.
Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers: Hogarth Press, 1917-41 John Willis brings the remarkable story of Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s success as publishers to life. He generates interesting thumbnail sketches of all the Hogarth Press authors, which brings both them and the books they wrote into sharp focus. He also follows the development of many of its best-selling titles, and there’s a full account of the social and cultural development of the press. This is a scholarly work with extensive footnotes, bibliographies, and suggestions for further reading – but most of all it is a very readable study in cultural history.
Bloomsbury Group links
© Roy Johnson 2005
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