Partner Mariette Lydis

Queer Places:
Aldington TN25, UK

Erica Marx (May 12, 1909 - April 4, 1969) was an English publisher and niece of Karl Marx. From 1940 she lived with her partner Mariette Lydis, until her death in 1969. Marx learned the trade in France where her father, the collector Hermann Marx (Cobham), entrusted her to her friend Giuseppe Govone. She worked with Alberto Tallone at the Hotel de Sagonne Paris Bastille and created a collection of young poetry writers in 1951: Hand and Flower Press.

Erica Marx was born May 12, 1909. Marx operated Les Presses de l'Hotel Sagonne in Paris from 1938-1940 and 1945-1947.

Mariette Lydis met Compte Giuseppe Govone in France, and married him in 1934.They stayed formally married until his death in Milan in 1948. However, already at the end for the 1930s, together with her partner, Erica Marx, she escaped Paris and the ensuing Nazi roundup of Jews. The couple lived for a brief time in Winchcombe, England before sailing as a refugee to Buenos Aires in July 1940.

Marx founded the Hand and Flower Press in 1941 at her home in Aldington, Kent, an hour's drive from Churchill home at Chartwell. She believed in encouraging novice writers and artists by publishing their work in a form and at a price many could enjoy. She only charged a shilling a piece for her paperbound Hand and Flower Press Poems in Pamphlet series, among them the first publications of poets Charles Causley, Thomas Blackburn, Michael Hamburger, and Muriel Spark. She also produced finely bound volumes as well, including plays by Antony Borrow, an edition of Dante’s Paradiso, and Henry James’s Turn of the Screw.

Marx was the sole proprietor of the Hand and Flower Press in Kent, England from 1945 to 1963; of particular renown is the Poems in Pamphlet series, which ran for three series of 10-11 each in 1951-1953. Each pamphlet included up to 40 poems by one author and sold for a low price.

Under the Hand and Flower imprint, Marx published two books of her own verse. The first of these, Escape from Anger, was issued in the 1951 pamphlet series, under the pseudonym Robert Manfred. The second, Some Poems, was published as a chapbook in 1955.

From 1940 Lydis and Marx lived and worked in Argentina until Marx's death in 1969.

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