‘David Astor and the Observer’
Fri, April 20, 2012 • 2:45 PM - 4:30 PM • Tom Lea Rooms, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center 3.206
Jeremy Lewis LONDON
A scion of the famous family—his grandfather had left New York and settled in England—David Astor edited the Observer from 1948 to 1975. As a young man he persuaded Orwell and Koestler to write for the paper; in later years he famously denounced the Eden government over Suez, losing readers and advertisers as a result. He campaigned for decolonization, an end to apartheid, the abolition of capital punishment, and homosexual law reform.
Combining charm and diffidence with steely resolve, David Astor made the Observer synonymous with good writing and liberal opinion. He helped to create the post-war consensus that prevailed until the arrival of Mrs. Thatcher.
Jeremy Lewis has spent much of his working life as a London publisher, but has been a freelance writer and editor since 1989. The author of three volumes of autobiography, he has also published the authorized biography of Cyril Connolly, and the life of Tobias Smollett. He is the Editor of the Literary Review, and is currently writing a book about David Astor and the Observer.