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  • John Murray
  • John Murray
  • John Murray

Dear Mr Murray: Letters to a Gentleman Publisher

David McClay

5 Reviews

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Diaries, letters & journals

A sparkling anthology of letters from John Murray authors to their publisher

The publishing house of John Murray was founded in Fleet Street in 1768 and remained a family business over seven generations. Intended both to entertain and inspire, Dear Mr Murray is a collection of some of the best letters from the John Murray Archive and elsewhere.

Full of literary history and curiosities from correspondents including Charles Darwin who hoped John Murray would accept for publication On the Origin of Species, Jane Austen who was anxious about printing delays of Emma, Lord Byron upset on discovering that forged letters had been sent in his name, David Livingstone who was furious about editorial interference, John Betjeman who asked for help in responding to his fan mail and Patrick Leigh Fermor who apologised for tardiness in delivering his manuscript, Dear Mr Murray is the perfect treat for book lovers everywhere.

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Praise for Dear Mr Murray: Letters to a Gentleman Publisher

  • Attractively arranged, given ample context, and a diverting read - Sunday Telegraph

  • An entertaining picture of the day-to-day dealings between author and publisher over 250 years - Times Literary Supplement

  • Few if any names in publishing are as revered as John Murray . . . This book, compiled to celebrate the company's 250th anniversary is just a small sampling of that treasure trove . . . Whether angry, apologetic, wheedling or rude, the fondness and regard in which the Murrays were held by their correspondents shines through - Herald

  • Writers writing about books has always made for compelling reading. Writers writing about their own books in private correspondence to their publisher tends to produce a particular kind of letter. There is passion, conviction, fluency, doubt, deference, sometimes frustration and anger, maybe even gratitude. The letters in Dear Mr Murray . . . show these qualities and more . . . this collection brings [Murray's] salad days inexorably to life - Scottish Review of Books

  • As well as allowing us glimpses behind the public faces of some exalted authors, McClay has paid tribute here to a remarkable line whose shared name became synonymous with a sense of responsibility to their company, their authors and literature itself - Nation

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