Penguin and the Scrolls: A Relationship in Fragments: Presented to the Penguin 75th Anniversary Conference, University of Bristol, UK.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper

Abstract

In 2005 Judith Anne Brown published a biography of her father, John Marco Allegro, sub-titled The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls. She begins by recounting her early experiences of him, including as one of the best-remembered of his utterances, “Penguins on the phone!” As the book progresses, Brown liberally quotes from Allegro’s copies of letters written to his editor at Penguin, A.S.B. Glover, between 1954 and 1960; their topic—a volume on the recently discovered Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1953 Allegro had become a member of a small international team working in Jerusalem on the largest collection of scrolls material, the Cave 4 fragments. Cannily Allegro realised that his access would allow him to publish a popular volume on the subject years ahead of everyone else. Penguin concurred and their relationship began. For Brown (and her reviewers!), interest focuses on the evidence of Allegro’s fallings out with the scrolls team in Jerusalem. But this paper argues that the Penguin Archive allows us to tell a much broader story about the stresses and strains that exist between writers and publishers producing ground-breaking volumes in subjects that are both developing rapidly and beset by turbulent times.
Translated title of the contributionPenguin and the Scrolls: A Relationship in Fragments
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Conference Organiser: Penguin Archive project, University of Bristol

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