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Charles Granville

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Charles Granville was an English book publisher, publishing in the 1900s and early 1910s as Stephen Swift or Stephen Swift Ltd He published two literary magazines the Oxford and Cambridge Review and the Eye Witness which carried works by ‘up and coming’ literary authors, and also a third Rhythm In October 1912 he was wanted for embezzlement and bigamy, and fled the country He was brought back, tried, and imprisoned for bigamy His publishing company was liquidated

Granville was dining at a London dinner party when a London magistrate who said that he never forgot a face asked him for a private word The magistrate said that they were fellow guests that night, but next morning he would inform the authorities that some years earlier Granville had earlier appeared before him for bigamy, was given bail, and absconded Granville then fled to Algiers with his secretary and a large cheque from the Oxford and Cambridge Review He was extradited for embezzlement, but subsequently charged only with bigamy, and was imprisoned although his wives were willing to give him testimonials as a good husband! The story was heard by Arthur Ransome from Ashley Dukes at the Garrick Club forty years later

Stephen Swift Ltd

Granville published literary and general books and magazines as Stephen Swift Ltd, from offices in St John Street, London; and may have used Stephen Swift as an alias He was described as an “expansive, munificent sort of publisher” and as a “wealthy entrepreneur and would-be poet” with “plenty of capital and a knack for making his authors feel that they were sitting at the centre of the universe”

He published two magazines, the Oxford and Cambridge Review; and the Eye Witness Works published in the Oxford and Cambridge Review included On Social Freedom by John Stuart Mill posthumously, 1907, Milton and his Age by G K Chesterton 1909, The Machine Stops by E M Forster 1909, and Prince Roman by Joseph Conrad 1911

The Eye Witness, later called the New Witness and then G K's Weekly, was a literary and political periodical described as Catholic, radical and broadly tolerant, with a circulation of "over 100,000" It was edited by Hilaire Belloc and Cecil Chesterton Belloc also wrote a series of booklets on British battles, starting with Blenheim, Malplaquet, Waterloo and Tourcoing Other books Granville published included books by and about Henri Bergson, Katherine Mansfields short story In a German Pension and various novels, books of poems and belles lettres

Arthur Ransome had left his previous publisher Martin Secker for Granville, who promised him better returns and a guaranteed and steady income He recalled that Granville “had a magnificent way with him” He transferred his works of the last five years, including Bohemia in London and literary works on Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde The work on Wilde went into eight editions; it had attracted public notoriety because of an unsuccessfiul libel case by Lord Alfred Douglas, who was by now a “vexatious” “semi-professional” and indigent litigant Ransome had translated Une Nuit au Luxembourg by the French Symbolist poet and novelist Remy de Gourmont into English for Granville as A Night in the Luxembourg His works held by Granville represented all his work worth republishing When he heard on 8 October from Cecil Chesterton that Granville had fled and his company had gone into liquidation, Ransome went and sat in Granville’s chaotic office day after day to establish his interest as a leading creditor of the bankrupt firm He sacrificed control of some earlier works, but kept the most valuable, Poe and Wilde, which were subsequently taken over by Methuen; and a collection of essays, Portraits and Speculations which went to Macmillan

References

  1. ^ Chambers p 63
  2. ^ Ransome p 150
  3. ^ Kirkpatrick p 7
  4. ^ Brogan p 77
  5. ^ Chambers p 59, 60
  6. ^ Chambers p 59
  7. ^ Brogan p 77
  8. ^ Ransome p146
  9. ^ Brogan p77, 78
  10. ^ Chambers p 60
  11. ^ Brogan p 80, 86
  12. ^ Ransome p 149-150
  13. ^ Brogan p 83
  14. ^ Chambers p 63
  • The Autobiography of Arthur Ransome by Arthur Ransome pp 145–150 1976, Jonathan Cape, London ISBN 0-224-01245-2
  • The Life of Arthur Ransome by Hugh Brogan pp 77–83 1984, Jonathan Cape, London ISBN 0-224-02010-2
  • The Last Englishman by Roland Chambers pp 59–63 2009, faber and faber, London ISBN 978-0-571-22261-2
  • The Life of Katherine Mansfield by Anthony Alpers p151 1980, Oxford University Press & Viking Press, New York
  • Kirkpatrick, BJ 1989 A Bibliography of Katherine Mansfield: The Soho Biographies Oxford: Clarendon Press 

External links

  • Works published by Stephen Swift, from In a German Pension
  • Title page of Stephen Swift edition of In a German Pension

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Charles Granville


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