This is a critical edition of the collected letters of John Murray to Lord Byron whose works he published. These letters have never been published before, nor indeed (except in rare instances) has access to them ever been granted. They tell us a great deal about Byron's works and the manner of their publication, and about the aims, literary interest and vicissitudes of his publisher. They reveal the very special (indeed intimate) relationship - unique in the annals of publishing - that existed between the two men, both on a personal level and in their professional and artistic capacities. They show, for instance, to what extent Byron was amenable to Murray's suggestions as to alterations and revisions in his poetry, and how far Murray was prompted to publish works by authors at Byron's recommendation (Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan' and 'Christabel' owe their publication to just such a recommendation). Besides illuminating many other details of historical and literary interest, they throw considerable light on publishing practice at the time, on Murray's relations with fellow publishers (Blackwood and Constable in Edinburgh and Galignani in Paris, for instance), and with numerous other authors (such as Austen, Hogg, Hunt, Washington Irving, Scott, Madame de Stael), not to mention the vast circle of literati, scientists, travellers and politicians who frequented his drawing room.
Exemplary...its detail and proxility excelling even Nabokov's famous commentary on Pushkin ... The loving battle between these equal monsters is vividly detailed. The annotations make a biography of Byron in themselves - and not only of Byron. The editor's minuteness throws up scores of fascinating characters, such as Napoleon's brother Lucien whose epic poem Charlemagne was - of course - published by Murray. Indeed, the notes are more interesting than the text. A treasure trove of fresh insight into Byron and his publisher John Murray. This is a work to which scholars of the Romantic period will refer from the moment it is published, and one whose scholarship will survive for decades. In the literary and cultural sense, a treasure trove. Wholly original and very impressive in its scope... There is no doubt whatsoever that all Byronists would read this volume, admire and learn from the work that has goneinto it, and be modified in their views by what they read here. The loving battle between these equal monsters is vividly detailed. The annotations make a biography of Byron in themselves - and not only of Byron. The editor's minuteness throws up scores of fascinating characters, such as Napoleon's brother Lucien whose epic poem Charlemagne was - of course - published by Murray. Indeed, the notes are more interesting than the text. Nicholas has done his best to piece together what might have occurred. At a stroke, Nicolson's towering act of scholarship has rendered all existing biographies of Byron obsolete.