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Title: Balancing politics and publishing : Victor Gollancz and the publishing revolution of the 1930s
Author: Roscoe, Jonathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 928X
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is a study of contradictions. In publishing terms, the 1930s was a decade of both consolidation and conservatism and of revolution and progress. It was a period of commercial growth, but also ideological evangelism, thereby making one of the central questions of the period: how do you reconcile commerciality with political idealism? In the publishing industry there was no one who embodied these contradictions in the same way as Victor Gollancz. Building on the work of Febvre and Martin, and Eisenstein, this study seeks to show what happens when political belief is united with commercial publishing in an effort to bring about serious and quantifiable social change. In using the theories of both Bourdieu and Genette, it becomes clear how Gollancz managed to unify both the acquisition of economic and symbolic capital with formidable marketing acumen to create a type of commercially–driven, but politically astute publishing never seen before in the industry. By extensive use of the archives of publishers Victor Gollancz and Lawrence & Wishart, the British security services, and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), in many cases for the first time, this study makes clear that, despite becoming too closely aligned to the CPGB, the Left Book Club and Gollancz’s own publishing firm made radical changes that not only revolutionised publishing in the Thirties, but also directly influenced the policies of the incoming Labour government of 1945. This is significant because it runs contrary to what is for many the perceived view of the success (or lack thereof) of the Left Book Club in particular, positions Gollancz within the wider context of social change, and claims his place as a great innovator in publishing, whose modern age we are still living in.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral