Jeremy Lewis

Not the Men They Were

Publishers were still newsworthy when I started work in the publicity department of Collins in the late 1960s. Boldly sporting open-necked shirts and corduroy jackets, the two ‘whizz luds’ of the day, Tom Maschler and Tony Godwin, were the subjects of admiring profiles in the colour magazines, while the doings of George Weidenfeld and André Deutsch occupied a comparable number of column inches; Allen Lane’s death in 1970 was front- page news, and not only in the broadsheets; and although the denizens of Bloomsbury and Covent Garden never took themselves as seriously as their equivalents in New York, ‘Billy’ Collins, Hamish Hamilton, ‘Jock’ Murray, ‘Fred’ Warburg and the rest – almost all of them men, keen lunchers at the Garrick or the Savile, and invariably clad in heavy tweeds or chalk-striped suits – were looked up to as gentlemanly tradesmen, possessed of a certain gravitas in the social as well as the literary world.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,