JOHN LEHMANN, British editor, born (d. 1987); The editor responsible for first publishing in England such authors as George Orwell, Stephen Spender, Christopher Isherwood, Jean-Paul Sartre, C. Day Lewis (Daniel’s father), Boris Pasternak, Louis MacNiece, Bertolt Brecht, Lawrence Durrell, Edith Sitwell, and Theodore Roethke, was by no means the most distinguished member of his family. His sister Beatrix was one of the great English actresses, and his sister Rosamund an outstanding writer, whose first novel, A Dusty Answer, incidentally, is not without its relevance to this almanac.
Their father, Rudolph Lehmann, wrote for Punch for thirty years and regularly included his children’s writings, misspellings and all, in his column. Having grown up surrounded by books, it is hardly a surprise that John Lehmann became one of the most influential editors and publishers of modern literature.
A list of some of the American authors that he introduced to England is instructive: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Carson McCullers, Paul Bowles, the very best post-war Gay writers. Lehmann’s poetry, much of it quite beautiful, is sometimes unabashedly Gay. Some of it appears, with the author’s permission, in Ian Young’s pioneering Gay anthology, The Male Muse.