Stories of the East

WOOLF, Leonard. Stories of the East.

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WOOLF, Leonard Stories of the East Richmond: Printed and Published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1921.

8vo., card covers printed with a woodcut design in red featuring a tiger surrounded by palm trees, flowers and pineapples; pp. [iv], 5-55, [i]; wrappers browned, with chips to spine ends and lower corner of upper cover; creased along edges and spine; water tide mark to lower cover; rust mark to ffep affecting the upper corner of the first few pages; a very good copy, regardless, of a scarce work.
First edition, sole impression of a purported print run of just 300 copies. The cover artwork provided by Dora Carrington, a painter and illustrator who was closely associated with the Bloomsbury group, and a close friend of Lytton Strachey. Published in the April of 1921 and handprinted by Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Stories of the East was one of six books published by Hogarth in 1925, and ultimately its most sucessful. Leonard’s stories outsold all but Gorky’s second book, The Notebooks of Tchekhov and Virginia’s Monday or Tuesday~, and in the scale of press operations it was perhaps its most successful venture.
In March 1915 Leonard and Virginia Woolf had moved to Hogarth House, Richmond, and were experiencing a particularly turbulent time in their lives. Virginia's first novel,
The Voyage Out~I~ was published that same year, and in an attempt to find an activity to occupy themselves with, Leonard suggested they purchase a book press. Along with some old typeface and some necessary implements and materials, they set about the task with enthusiasm, and their first work, a collection of two short stories by Virginia, was printed in July 1917. All in all, sixteen of the thirty-two books which were published during the years that the press was in Richmond (1917 to 1924) were printed by the Woolfs’ own hand.
A collection of three short stories, 'Pearls and Swine’, ‘A Tale Told by Midnight’, and ‘The Two Brahmans’, each story painting a picture of Leonard Woolf's fear and mistrust of collonialism, as well as the uncomfortable moral ground occupied by the servants of the British Government in Ceylon prior to the Great War.
Scarce, with just a handful of copies appearing at auction within the last 50 years.