Recent Blog Posts
MAPP co-founders and team members Claire Battershill and Helen Southworth have both recently published well-received books focusing on the concept of biography as it relates to Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press. Here is a brief introduction to both works, which epitomize the kind of rigorous historical research made possible through deep engagement with archival materials such as the ones MAPP curates on its continually-expanding site.
Surprisingly, I think I have only recently understood the full power of the bookshop. As a literature graduate and book lover it is perhaps no shock that bookshops are among my favourite places to spend time (and usually a small fortune!). I have loved many a bookshop, often in a quiet, personal way. Perhaps now more than ever, in a fast-paced and frequently impersonal society of online shopping, the almost sacred quality that bookshops can possess is particularly striking. What they offer, for me at least, is a haven of knowledge and creativity, going beyond that of a retail exploit. There is increasing academic interest in the role of the modernist bookshop at present, as shown by Huw Osborne's recent edited collection and Andrew Thacker's article in Modernist Cultures (11.3, 2016).
Beginning in that annus mirabilis of modern literature, 1922, and petering out in 1950, the letters between novelist E. M. Forster and the Hogarth Press provide a fascinating and extended glimpse of the relationship between one of England’s best novelists and his publishing agents. This trove of letters features discussions about the technical particulars of paper color and type, of distribution and copyright, but they also hint at personal details of the correspondents, most notably between Leonard Woolf and Forster, or “Morgan” as he’s addressed. Although most of the letters sent during this 28-year period focus on publishing and distribution, small details about the relationship between the two men peek through the negotiations and discussions about Forster’s book Pharos and Pharillon, published by Hogarth Press in May 1923. Both aspects of this collection are fascinating for scholars and students of modern publishing and literature.
At MAPP, we invest a lot of intense, purposeful, and rewarding group effort thinking about how literary theory and digital methodology interact in the context of shifting disciplinary pressures within modernist studies and academic humanities in general. We are always asking ourselves how archival theory and digital praxis reinforce one another, while remaining attentive to and engaging the productive tension between theory and praxis in the actual making of MAPP.
Check out this excellent recent article by Matt Huculak about these very issues, which explores how digital modernist projects have “reenergized the field.” MAPP gets a favorable mention, and the Hogarth Press door plate—portal and threshold to our own digital edifice—a pleasing show. Enjoy!
The hand must have trembled. The regular dip of the capital J turned slightly, yet noticeably, to the left as if by some interruption. I had no idea what might have startled the writer, but my mind took to creatively filling the gaps. A mother of three, she must have been deprived of sleep by a particularly late night reading to the kids about the professional horse races she had loved as a child; startled by the sudden entrance of the Welsh bagman, her pen had slipped creating, for my post-millennial eyes, that lopsided enigmatic “J”.
Author Biographies and Publisher Descriptions
We are seeking submissions for biographical entries for the authors, artists and workers of The Hogarth Press, and for MAPP's publishing house descriptions pages. MAPP is the first modernist DH project to focus exclusively on twentieth-century publishing houses. It offers a pioneering digital platform to organize, interact with, and analyze book production, reception, and distribution networks and will represent a replicable digital model for contemporary and future scholars of modernist publishing and book culture.
We are also open to student work and to pedagogical uses of MAPP. Please contact our team to discuss possible pedagogical collaborations and student writing: http://www.modernistarchives.com/contact
The task of transcribing order books from the Hogarth Press sounded straightforward enough to me. I typed out the first few rows of Vita Sackville-West’s All Passion Spent from left to right: date, cumulative total copies sold, markings (such as check marks), purchaser name, code / notes (such as LL), number of copies ordered, date order received, date order filled, and price (in pounds, shillings, and pence). I took time with these first few entries, making sure I captured every detail. As I continued, I became more curious about the materials I was working with. Who was Deighton Bell and why did he buy so many copies, just to return one of them? Why were Menzies and Hockliffe charged different amounts for the same number of copies? In my head, these mysterious buyers started to come to life. Transcription became less of a manual chore; it became a quest to uncover the framework of the Hogarth Press.
This post will provide a few excerpts from the chapter "Building a Critical Digital Archive" from our collectively-authored book Scholarly Adventures in the Digital Humanities. This post is intended as a introduction to understanding the distinctions among different objects found on this site. For the full description and rationale, please refer to our book.
Some Hogarth Press Centenary events coming up:
Celebrating the Hogarth Press: "A Press of One's Own," Wednesday, 10 May, Houghton Library and Bow & Arrow Press (Harvard)
https://hogarthpress100.wordpress.com/ Co-chairs, Modernism Seminar: Sam Alexander, Paige Reynolds, & J. P. Riquelme
Oxford Bodleian, Print-a-thon, May 13th