John Lehmann

John Lehmann

John Frederick Lehmann (born Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, 2 June 1907; died London, 7 April 1987) was an English poet and man of letters, and one of the foremost literary editors of the twentieth century, founding the periodicals New Writing [ [ New Writing 1938 Edition (reprinted by Ayer Co.)] ] [ [ John Lehmann at Ayer Company Publishers] ] and The London Magazine.

The son of journalist Rudolph Lehmann, and brother of actress Beatrix Lehmann and novelist Rosamond Lehmann, he was educated at Eton and read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, his time at both of which he considered "lost years". [Wright, p. 39.]

After a spell as a journalist in Vienna, he returned to England to found the popular periodical in book format, "New Writing" (1936–1940) which proved of great influence on literature of the period, and an outlet for writers such as Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden. Including many of these authors in his anthology "Poems for Spain" which he edited with Stephen Spender. With the advent o the War and paper rationing New Writing's future was unsure, and Lehmann wrote "New Writing in Europe" for Pelican Books, one of the first critical summaries of the writers of the 1930s, he championed the writers who had been the stars of "New Writing", Auden and Spender, but also his close friend Tom Wintringham, and Wintringham's ally the emerging George Orwell. The best selling Wintringham reintroduced Lehmann to Allen Lane of Penguin Books, who secured paper for "The Penguin New Writing" a monthly book-magagazine, this time in paperback, the first issue featuring Orwell's essay "Shooting the Elephant". Occasional hardback editions combined with magazine "Daylight" appeared sporadically, but it was as "Penguin New Writing" that the magazine survived until 1950.

After joining Leonard and Virginia Woolf as managing director of Hogarth Press between 1938 and 1946 he established his own publishing company— John Lehmann Limited — with his sister Rosamond, publishing new works by authors such as Sartre and Stendhal, and discovering talents like Thom Gunn and Laurie Lee. He also published the first two books written by Elizabeth David, A Book of Mediterranean Food and French Country Cooking.

In 1954 he founded "The London Magazine", remaining as editor until 1961, following which he was a frequent lecturer, and completed his three volume autobiography, "Whispering Gallery" (1955), "I Am My Brother" (1960), "The Ample Proposition" (1966). "In The Purely Pagan Sense" (1976) is an autobiographical record of his homosexual lovelife in England and pre-war Germany, discreetly written in the form of a novel. He also wrote the biographies "Edith Sitwell" (1952), "Virginia Woolf and Her World" (1975), "Thrown To The Woolfs" (1978) and "Rupert Brooke" (1980).

Poets in "Poems from New Writing 1936–1946" (1946)

* Robert Graves
* Bernard Gutteridge
* Norman Hampson
* Arthur Harvey
* John Heath-Stubbs
* Hamish Henderson
* Peter Hewett
* Gillian Hughes
* Pierre Jean Jouve
* Laurie Lee
* John Lehmann
* Alun Lewis
* C. Day Lewis
* Lawrence Little
* Federico García Lorca
* David Luke
* Joseph Macleod
* Louis MacNeice
* H. B. Mallalieu
* Ewart Milne
* Nicholas Moore
* Vitslav Nezval |
* William Plomer
* Pantelis Prevelakis
* F. T. Prince
* Henry Reed
* Anne Ridler
* Michael Riviere
* Alan Ross
* May Sarton
* George Seferis
* Jaroslav Seifert
* Edith Sitwell
* Stephen Spender
* W. F. M. Stewart
* Randall Swingler
* A. S. J. Tessimond
* Dunstan Thompson
* Terence Tiller
* Robert Waller
* Diana Witherby
* L. J. Yates
* Peter Yates



*Adrian Wright, "John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure" (1998)
*Gale Literary Databases,"(Rudolph) John (Frederick) Lehmann,"
*David Hughes. "Lehmann, (Rudolph) John Frederick (1907-1987),"
*Petra Rau, University of Portsmouth. "John Lehmann." The Literary Encyclopedia. 21 Mar. 2002. The Literary Dictionary Company.

External links

* [ American libraries owning works related to Lehmann]
* [ Lehmann at the Hogarth Press]
* [ Lehmann and the London Magazine]

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