Review of Angus & Robertson and the British Trade in Australian Books, 1930-1970. The Getting of Bookselling Wisdom, by Jason D. Ensor
With the growing interest in the history of the book, the extensive Angus & Robertson archive, now held at the State Library of NSW, has been increasingly studied over the last few decades. This is hardly surprising, given the leading role played by A&R in Australian publishing for much of last century and the fact that records of many other Australian publishers have not been preserved. Jason Ensor lists eleven unpublished theses in his extensive bibliography, nearly all of them completed in the past twenty years. Of these, the ones by Neil James, Jennifer Allison and Caroline Vera Jones were particularly focused on A&R's history as publishers, with both Allison and Jones covering the earlier years and James a similar period to Ensor. While James dealt briefly with A&R's attempt to set up a London office, the main focus of his research was on the firm's publishing of Australian literature. Ensor, like Allison, is chiefly interested in the business history of the firm, so his book is more a contribution to Australian and international publishing history than to studies of Australian literature. Indeed, anyone with some knowledge of Australian literature may be put off by finding on page one a reference to Henry Lawson's iconic collection of short stories While the Billy Boils (1896) as a book of verse!
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Cite as: Webby, Elizabeth. ‘Review of Angus & Robertson and the British Trade in Australian Books, 1930-1970. The Getting of Bookselling Wisdom, by Jason D. Ensor.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 29, no. 3, 2014, doi: 10.20314/als.9c00d619e7.