box Literature

The history of the Murray publishing house is more than the history of authors and books. It is the history of a remarkable family as well. Each of the seven generations of Murrays brought their own distinct force of character and passions to the publishing house; helping it not only to survive innumerable wars, slumps and upheavals, but to thrive, flourish and maintain a reputation for publishing excellence.


John Murray published a number of periodicals; newspapers, magazines, journals, reviews and annual reports. Some were incredibly successful, the best of their kind; critically acclaimed and profitable. Others were less so, ending in acrimony and failure. The John Murray Archive has a wealth of correspondence and business papers detailing this important part of Murray's publishing.

Who's who in literature

portrait image Jane Austen
portrait image Lord Byron
Romantic poet
portrait image James Hogg
Struggling poet and novelist

portrait image Washington Irving
American novelist
portrait image Leslie A Marchand
Byron scholar
portrait image Herman Melville
South Sea adventurer

portrait image Walter Scott
Poet, novelist and critic

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Topics in the archive

Murray's influential journal the 'Quarterly Review' reviewed literature, but the criticisms could sometimes be harsh. John Wilson Croker gave a savage review of poet John Keats's 'Endymion', which Lord Byron (wrongly) claimed led to his early death. There were kinder reviews, like Sir Walter Scott's praising of Jane Austen's 'Emma'.

Related links on the web:

British Fiction 1800-1829: A Database of Production, Circulation, and Reception