In 1917, Virginia and Leonard Woolf began Hogarth Press, which over the years published Virginia Woolf’s stories and novelsas well as works by Katherine Mansfield and T.S. Eliot. Eventually, Hogarth Press was acquired by the publishing firm of Chatto &Windus, where it continues today. Its success in the Woolf years had as much to with Leonard’s painstaking bookkeeping and business management as it did with Virginia’s eye for literary quality.
To commemorate the 100thanniversary, Hogarth Press published Two Stories by Virginia Woolf and Mark Haddon– homage to the first publication by Hogarth in 1917 being two short stories, one by Virginia and one by Leonard. To look both backward and forward, the new Two Storiesincludes “The Mark on the Wall” by Virginia Woolf and “St. Bride’s Bay” by contemporary British writer and artist Mark Haddon (best known for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).
Woolf’s “The Mark on the Wall” is a kind of stream-of-consciousness narrative that begins with an observation of a mark on the wall and moves into a host of ponderings, including the meaning of life, before returning to the discovery of what the mark actually is. Haddon’s “St. Bride’s Bay” concerns a mother who has just left her daughter’s wedding reception (a second marriage) who pauses to watch the lights of a ship on the bay and then considers her own life, including a youthful fling. The two stories are both ultimately about one’s mortality.
Two Stories by Virginia Woolf and Mark Haddon is a fitting tribute to both Hogarth Press and the writers themselves.