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John Murray

A new series starts this afternoon.  Presented by the writer and former publisher, Robert McCrum, each short programme looks at five British publishers who were willing to take risks to bring books to the general public.

In the first episode (on BBC Radio 4 at 13:45 – later available on iPlayer) McCrum looks at the empire built by John Murray who represented many leading authors of Regency period including Jane Austen and Lord Byron (the publishing house was to produce works by other significant writers such as Conan Doyle and John Betjamin)

“In 1768 John Murray set up a publishing company, whose most celebrated author was Lord Byron. When Murray published his ‘Childe Harold’ in 1812, it was said that Byron ‘woke up to find himself famous’. It was also the making of Murray the publisher. Yet Murray participated in one of the most notorious acts in publishing history when he burnt the manuscript of Byron’s personal memoirs because he thought the scandalous details would damage Byron’s reputation.”

More information about the programme can be found at:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bqchd

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