Lawrence and Wishart was founded in 1936. During the last seventy years we've weathered many political and economic storms, but we are proud to have emerged as one of the few remaining independent publishing houses in Britain.
We started life through the merger of Martin Lawrence, the Communist Party's press and Wishart Ltd, a family-owned liberal and anti-fascist publisher. The late 1930s were a time of political and cultural turmoil, and the new press was immersed in the political and cultural life of the Popular Front, publishing literature, drama and poetry, as well as political economy, working-class history and the classics of Marxism; New Writing, a twice-yearly L&W anthology, published writers such as W.H.Auden, Ralph Fox, Christopher Isherwood and Cecil Day Lewis.
During the post-war period, we published work from the party's History Group, including early work by Eric Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill, Edward Thompson and John Saville. Other outstanding marxist writers published in this period include J.D.Bernal, George Thompson and Brian Simon. Amongst the many working-class writers both of fiction and reportage that we published during the 1950s and 1960s, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists stands out as a classic.
The 1970s was the decade of Eurocommunism and critical marxism. L&W began its project of translating the work of Antonio Gramsci, whose work remains crucial for an understanding of the relationship between politics and culture. In a more contemporary vein, we published essay collections from the acclaimed communist universities of London, including writing by Ros Brunt, Stuart Hall, Alan Hunt and Anne Sassoon.
From the mid-1980s, L&W began a period of new development. Cultural studies was bringing a new dimension to critical political theory, and we began to publish work that brought the insights of cultural studies to bear on more traditional political concerns with questions of ideology, politics and power. Our writers in this area have included Joseph Bristow, Beatrix Campbell, Lorraine Gamman, Doreen Massey, Christopher Norris, Michael Rustin, Judith Squires, Jeffrey Weeks and Lola Young - to name a few. New political subjects, especially the areas of gender, race and sexuality, widened our understanding of the meanings of politics and culture.
From the 1990s L&W began to establish a reputation as a journals publisher. We now publish Soundings, New Formations, Renewal, Anarchist Studies and Twentieth Century Communism, all of which, in their different ways attempt to engage critically with contemporary political culture. Recently we have begun to publish free-to-view online books on contemporary politics, including Regeneration, on generational politics, and the Soundings collection The Neoliberal Crisis. Best-selling titles in the last few years have included The Politics of New Labour: A Gramscian Analysis and Breaking up Britain: Four Nations after a Union. We have also published books with a number of partners, including Compass, the International Brigade Memorial Trust, the Marx Memorial Library, the Socialist History Society, Unison and Unite the Union.
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