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Lehmann, John, 1907-1987 | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Lehmann, John, 1907-1987
Variant Name: Lehmann, Rudolph John Frederick, 1907-1987

Historical Note:

(Rudolph) John Frederick Lehmann, was born on June 2, 1907 at Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, England. Lehmann was educated at Eton, and studied history and modern languages at Trinity College, Cambridge. There his close friendship with Julian Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf, plunged him into the Bloomsbury circle. By 1931 he was working at the Hogarth Press, owned by Woolf and her husband, Leonard. Hogarth Press published his first volume of poems, A Garden Revisited (1931). He briefly left publishing and lived for a time in Austria and the U.S.S.R. as a poet and a journalist prior to the start of World War Two.

His first periodical, New Writing, appeared in 1935 and by 1940 the series reached a broad audience both in Britain and on the frontlines of World War Two. Formatted to fit into the side pockets of combat trousers, it averaged monthly sales of up to 75,000.

Lehmann returned to Hogarth Press in 1938 as a partner and general manager and worked as editor of several anthologies showcasing the works of promising new writers. In 1946 Lehmann established his own publishing company, John Lehmann Limited. After the demise of Lehmann Ltd., he founded and edited London Magazine. He relinquished control over the periodical in 1961 and subsequently wrote several biographies, including Rupert Brooke: His Life and His Legend and Thrown to the Woolfs: Leonard and Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press, and three autobiographies which were collected, revised, and condensed into the book In My Own Time: Memoirs of a Literary Life. Lehmann also wrote several volumes of poetry, including A Garden Revisited and Other Poems and Collected Poems, 1930-1963, and the novels Evil Was Abroad and In a Purely Pagan Sense.

He frequently lectured in the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After a long illness and unsuccessful hip operations severely limited his mobility, John Lehmann died on April 7, 1987. The New York Times Book Review, called Lehmann "the greatest British literary editor of his time. . . . There is scarcely a writer [of his generation] in Britain . . . who hasn't at one time or other been grateful for his passionate scrutiny."


Gale Literary Databases,"(Rudolph) John (Frederick) Lehmann," (accessed August 31, 2006).

David Hughes. "Lehmann, (Rudolph) John Frederick (1907-1987)," rev., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Petra Rau, University of Portsmouth. "John Lehmann." The Literary Encyclopedia. 21 Mar. 2002. The Literary Dictionary Company.

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