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Avant-garde P resses. Book Publishing during the Modernist Period Alexa Ondreicka. Publishing & Writing throughout the Modern Era . General disdain for most of the literary works of the Victorian age A movement to reshape the publishing landscape of interwar Britain

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avant garde p resses

Avant-garde Presses

Book Publishing during the Modernist Period

Alexa Ondreicka

publishing writing throughout the modern era
Publishing & Writing throughout the Modern Era
  • General disdain for most of the literary works of the Victorian age
  • A movement to reshape the publishing landscape of interwar Britain
  • Poets took advantage of the new spirit of the times, and stretched their works longer, experimented with structure
  • Publishing houses, large & small, expanded
hogarth press

Virginia & Leonard Woolf purchase Hogarth House & hand press

Begin publications 1917

Wanted to publish small books that wouldn’t have the chance at publications in large companies

Refused to publish anything they did not consider worth printing for their own sake

Majority of authors were a part of Woolf’s Bloomsbury circle

Clive Bell, T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, Roger Fry, Katherine Mansfield

hogarth press1

“What began as a recreation became a necessity. Virginia Woolf’s genius surely would have survived in some form under any publisher, but it developed as it did in the novels and essays because she was free from editorial pressures, real or imagined, and needed to please only herself” (Willis 44)

  • Allowed for freedom to do what she wanted as a female writer, free from male criticism
  • Woolf was exposed to visual, textual, & linguistic experimentation of other modernist writers
    • T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” (1923)
  • Publications were never as professional as others. They did not want to produce “books which are not meant to be read, but to be looked at.”
secker and warburg
  • Formed 1936 as the result of a merger between Martin Secker’s publication company with Frederic Warburg’s
  • Anti-fascist, anti-Soviet stance
  • George Orwell, after parting ways with Communist-sympathizer Victor Gollancz, joined firm & became close friends with Warburg


Simone de Beauvoir, Colette, J.M. Coetzee, Alberto Moravio, George Orwell, D.H. Lawrence, Cedric Dover

heinemann press
  • Founded 1890 in UK
  • William Heinemann
  • Financially supported Joseph Conrad while he wrote The Rescue, later published TheNigger of the ‘Narcissus’
  • Sold English books to Japan, including translations of Dostoevsky
  • Authors: Sylvia Plath, Harper Lee, John Steinback, Truman Capote,
  • All three of these presses allowed for the experimentation that characterized the modernist era
  • Exposure to other authors and public; without the freedom these presses allowed, many of these works would not have been seen today
  • Began the publications of works on a more global level: Africa, Asia, etc.
works cited
Works Cited
  • "Making Britain." Secker & Warburg |. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  • "Modernism." Literature Periods & Movements. The Literature Network, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  • "Secker and Warburg." George Orwell Novels. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  • Svendsen, Jessica. "Hogarth Press." Modernism Lab Essays. Yale University, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  • "William Heinemann." William Heinemann. The Random House Group, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.