Tom is coming this weekend.
At their East Sussex home, Monk’s House, Virginia, 38, and Leonard Woolf, 39, often welcome weekend guests.
This weekend, one of their star authors at their own Hogarth Press, American ex-patriate Thomas Stearns Eliot, about to turn 32, is coming for the first time.
T. S. Eliot
A few years ago, they were very impressed with Eliot’s poem published by The Egoist Press. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and wrote asking if they could bring out a collection of his poetry. They published 200 copies of Tom’s Poems last year, selling for 2 shillings, 6 pence each. When Leonard closed out the account last month, they had paid Tom 4 pounds, 17 shillings, 4 pence, and made a nice profit for themselves of 9 pounds, 6 shillings, 10 ½ pence. The Woolfs feel that this is an indication, after five years in business, that the Hogarth Press is making good progress toward becoming a “real” publisher.
Ovid Press, also based in London, has published a private edition of Eliot’s Ara Vus Prec—vellum paper, Moroccan leather binding, gold lettering—which has almost all the same poems in it.
From the beginning, Virginia and Leonard have been clear that they are most interested in what the author has to say. The Hogarth Press books definitely look good, and sometimes experiment with typography, but they are meant to be read more than just looked at.
Ara Vus Prec published by the Ovid Press
The risk the Woolfs took on publishing the unknown Eliot has paid off for him as well—the major American publisher Alfred A. Knopf brought out a US version of his Poems earlier this year.
Tom still has a day job at a bank, but some of his friends and fans are talking about putting together a fund to support him and his work.
Virginia is mostly looking forward to talking to Tom about his writing over tea. She feels that sometimes his words need just a bit more explanation.
“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at email@example.com.
If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.
This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.
Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.
My “Such Friends” presentations, Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, and The Founding of the Abbey Theatre, are available to view for free on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.