The Woolfs are looking ahead to their upcoming weekend in the country with mixed feelings.
Virginia, 40, and Leonard, 41, who operate the Hogarth Press here, will be spending a couple of days at the Mill House, Tidmarsh, in Berkshire with three of their friends who live there together, essayist Lytton Strachey, 42; painter Dora Carrington, 29; and Ralph Partridge, 28, who has been the Hogarth Press assistant for the past year or so.
Dora Carrington, Ralph Partridge and Lytton Strachey
Carrington moved to Tidmarsh with Lytton about five years ago, knowing full well that he is homosexual; Partridge moved in after he met Carrington through her brother at Oxford. Last year, Strachey paid for their wedding and joined them on their honeymoon. The threesome rents the house from another Bloomsbury friend, economist John Maynard Keynes, 39.
Both Virginia and Leonard are protective of their home-based business, Hogarth Press, and this has led to many fights between Leonard and Ralph. But Ralph has refused to leave.
In many of her diary entries Virginia has referred to Ralph as “lazy, undependable, now industrious, now slack, unadventurous, all corroded by Lytton, can’t praise, yet has no view of his own,” and has questioned his “lumpiness, grumpiness, slovenliness, & stupidity versus his niceness, strength, fundamental amiability & connections.”
Recently, the Woolfs have been introduced to some young people who might be suitable additions, but Ralph was furious when they offered a job share to one woman.
In the past few weeks, they have been talking to a young American who was interested in managing the Press for them, but they think he’ll try to turn their publishing house, which is focused on turning out quality content, into a precious press that is more concerned with fancy paper and bindings. Fortunately, the young man has decided that the commute would be too onerous. Virginia didn’t want to hire an American anyway.
They’re hoping to discuss Partridge’s future this weekend with Lytton, who has hinted that he will no longer have Hogarth as his publisher if they get rid of Ralph. Virginia and Leonard are thinking that might not be a bad trade off.
Tidmarsh by Dora Carrington
“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early next year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York City at the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.
If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.
Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.