The acerbic Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) coined the term hedge- press (in the above passage) on the model of hedge priest, hedge lawyer, hedge marriage, hedge bird [poacher]—all roles or activities conducted in unofficial and clandestine ways, as if by the roadside, under the hedge. He was referring to an Englishman newly come to Ireland who—although with no more skills than a proof- reader—proceeded to become an influential politician, on the strength of the undue veneration in which Irish people held the English. Hedge- writer was also coined by Swift—and he mentioned having hedge- wine at a hedge- inn. He was altogether much enamoured of the epithet hedge, as were the early- moderns in general.
True to Swift’s meaning, we are a very small independent publishing company, run on a shoestring with a minimum of expertise. Our hedge- writers have several books in the pipeline, some of which will be slow to emerge at the other end. The subjects of most of these books share a quality of marginality—exploring boundaries of one kind or another, and operating at the intersection of history, literature, anthropology and geography.
*A proposal for the universal use of Irish manufacture, in clothes … etc. utterly rejecting … every thing wearable that comes from England. 1720