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Leonard and Virginia Woolf were not the first to start their own small press in the early 20th century, but they were among the most important and influential. Leonard, anxious for Virginia's mental health, initially conceived of the Hogarth Press as a distraction for her; eventually he came to see the publishing as important in itself. 

Their list came to include some of the leading Modernist writers of the 20th century, such as T. S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield and E. M. Forster, as well as Virginia Woolf herself. They were also the first to publish the complete works of Sigmund Freud and key Russian texts in translation. In addition their books were attractively designed and illustrated by some of the outstanding artists of the day, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Dora Carrington, among others. 

Although the Hogarth Press was sold to the much larger Chatto & Windus (now part of Random House) in 1948, Leonard and Virginia’s legacy continues in other small presses, one of the first of them set up by Leonard's only nephew, Cecil. With similar ideals and openness, working from home and promoting interesting new work in a variety of fields, Cecil Woolf Publishers is still operating today, over a century after Leonard and Virginia printed their first book in 1917 on their dining-room table. 

Jean Moorcroft Wilson is the widow of Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s nephew, Cecil Woolf, who followed Leonard into publishing. Cecil was 14 when Virginia died: he remembered her well and encouraged Jean to write Virginia Woolf, Life and London, a biography of place that included not only some of Woolf’s favourite walks but also those based on the territory covered in her work. Dr Wilson is also an acclaimed biographer and leading expert on the First World War poets. Shortlisted for the Duff Cooper prize for her Isaac Rosenberg (2008), she has in addition written biographies of Siegfried Sassoon, Charles Hamilton Sorley, Edward Thomas and the first of two volumes on Robert Graves. She has lectured for many years at the University of London, as well as in the United States, South Africa and Austria.