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House History

John Sutherland, 24 January 1980

Allen Lane: King Penguin 
by J.E. Morpurgo.
Hutchinson, 405 pp., £9.95, November 1980, 0 09 139690 5
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... have made much of the hypocritical discrepancies between public eminence and private person. J.E. Morpurgo has settled for ‘paradox’. His biography-cum-house-history evokes a constant sense of how odd it was that such a man should have produced such a thing. According to this account, Allen Lane was a monstrously paradoxical man: not ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... living on ‘this desperate edge of now’, or the mercurial evanescence of a Jim Clark or a Joe Orton, counts for little in the scales of achievement when weighed against such elephantine stamina and titanic endurance. This book is, unashamedly, perhaps inevitably, a monument to the loneliness of the long-distance runner, rather than a paean of praise ...

Wolfish

John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry, 5 May 2005

Publisher 
by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... of books. The story is told with verve and enlivening malice (most of it for his predecessor J.E. Morpurgo, whose 1979 biography, Allen Lane: King Penguin, stinks in Lewis’s nostrils). Particularly gripping is Lewis’s account of the turbulence left by Maschler’s departure in June 1960. In his letter of resignation to Lane, Maschler recommended his ...

Author’s Editor

A. Alvarez, 24 January 1980

... 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 ...

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