A. Alvarez, 24 January 1980
When Tony Godwin died in 1976 the Times called him ‘the single most influential personality in British publishing since the war’ and added: ‘in his seven years with Penguin, Tony Godwin brought new life to what was fast becoming a moribund list and in doing so doubled their turnover.’ You would never guess this from J.E. Morpurgo’s biography of Allen Lane. He allows Godwin less than twenty pages out of almost four hundred and several of those twenty are devoted to a palace revolution Godwin is supposed to have plotted to depose the King Penguin. According to a letter to the Guardian from Godwin’s disenchanted but uniquely well-informed exwife, no such conspiracy ever existed.