Michael Joseph Publishers

Date began: 
01 Jan 1935

The publishing house Michael Joseph Ltd was founded by Michael Joseph on 5 September 1935. It was initially set up as a subsidiary of Victor Gollancz, which invested £4,001 4s. 0d. Gollancz and Norman Collins acted as directors with Joseph as managing director. Both publishing houses could save money by sharing premises, packers and accountants. Michael Joseph founded his house at a volatile economic time when many other publishing houses were folding or suffering serious financial difficulties.

Gollancz and Joseph clashed on the direction of the publishing house. Joseph found it difficult to meet Gollancz’s over-ambitious financial targets. Furthermore they did not agree on the type of material the house should publish. In the end, after Gollancz tried to censor Sir Philip Gibbs's Across the Frontiers for political reasons, he bought out Gollancz in 1938.

Joseph managed to build up an impressive list of authors, such as H. E. Bates, C. S. Forester, Monica Dickens, and Richard Llewellyn. He also published a book by Bertrand Russell and D. F. Karaka’s autobiographical book about his time in England, I Go West (1938). Other authors on Joseph’s list included Paul Gallico, Richard Gordon, Vicki Baum, Joyce Cary, and Vita Sackville-West. His publishing house was bought out by Penguin and is now an imprint on its list.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Michael Collins, Victor Gollancz, Michael Joseph.

Published works: 

Ghose, Sudhin N., And Gazelles Leaping (London: Michael Joseph, 1949)

Karaka, D. F., I Go West (London: Michael Joseph, 1938)

Lin, Yutang (ed.), The Wisdom of India (London: Michael Joseph, 1944)

Muspratt, Eric, Going Native (London: Michael Joseph, 1936)

Relton, Max, A Man in the East: A Journey through French Indo-China (London: Michael Joseph, 1939)

Russell, Bertrand, Which Way to Peace? (London: Michael Joseph, 1936)

Shanani, R. G., Indian Pilgrimage (London: Michael Joseph, 1939)

Younghusband, Francis Edward, A Venture of Faith: Being a Description of the World Congress of Faiths held in London in 1936 (London: Michael Joseph, 1937)

Secondary works: 

Dudley Edwards, Ruth, Victor Gollancz: A Biography (London: Victor Gollancz, 1987)

Joseph, Michael, The Adventure of Publishing (London: Allan Wingate, 1949)

'Obituary: Michael Joseph', The Times (17 March 1958)

Room, Adrian, ‘Joseph, Michael (1897–1958)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/39029]