The History of Faber: 1990s

To the literary historian, the obvious landmarks of the 90s are the achievements of long-established writers. This was, after all, the decade in which four Faber authors – Derek Walcott (1992), Seamus Heaney (1995), Wislawa Szymborska (1996) and Günter Grass (1999) – won the Nobel Prize. It was also the decade that gave its glittering…

The History of Faber: 1980s

In 1980, when Charles Monteith retired, Matthew Evans became Chairman and Managing Director. The next year Robert McCrum, who had arrived in 1979 from Chatto, became Editorial Director. Though the company had advertised for a commissioning editor in the hope of revivifying its list, it still had its intimate, singular ways of making appointments. Once…

The History of Faber: 1970s

In 1971 the cover of the Faber & Faber Spring and Summer catalogue proudly displayed an artist’s impression of the company’s brave new building at 3 Queen Square. The old premises at 24 Russell Square were being repossessed by London University (much modified, they are now part of the School of Oriental and African Studies)….

The History of Faber: 1960s

It is extraordinary that, as the 1960s began, three of those original Faber and Gwyer directors – T.S. Eliot, Richard de la Mare and Sir Geoffrey Faber (he had been knighted in 1954) – were still directors of Faber & Faber. Eliot, however, was suffering ill health and becoming less involved in the company. Sir…

The History of Faber: 1950s

By 1950, Faber & Faber had weathered depression, recession and war and had managed to grow. The company now had 109 staff, compared to 13 in 1930. In the first years of the decade its literary commitment seemed as serious as ever. In 1950 it published Eliot’s The Cocktail Party, Auden’s Collected Shorter Poems, and…

The History of Faber: 1940s

The Second World War affected Faber & Faber, and the books it published, in many ways. There were simple problems unknown before, like the search for sufficient paper to maintain its output. Yet there was also an increased appetite for books, as a result of which the company was able to sell out almost every…

The History of Faber: 1930s

The Faber & Faber catalogue for Spring 1930 was clothed in bright yellow and announced both the company’s belle-lettristic inclinations and its commitment to modernist achievement. So it included, on the one hand, Edith Sitwell’s celebratory Alexander Pope and, on the other, Stuart Gilbert’s exposition of Joyce’s Ulysses, a work still banned from entering the…

The History of Faber: 1920s

In the autumn of 1929 a pamphlet in a bold orange cover announced the publications of a new company: ‘Faber and Faber’. The lead item was Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, first published anonymously the previous year. Now it came with its author’s name declared, in an edition handsomely illustrated by William Nicholson…