Gollancz, Livia (5 of 7) National Life Story Collection: Fawcett Collection
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Journalism and Publishing
Gollancz, Livia 1920-2018 (speaker, female)
Abrams, Rebecca (speaker, female)
Part 5: Role of books in childhood: remembers enjoying E. Nesbit and Arthur Ransome. Father would read Sherlock Holmes after lunch on Saturdays and extracts from the New Testament on Sundays. Mother told stories on the way back from the New London Synagogue (Upper Berkeley Street) about her mother's suffragette adventures. Father only attended synagogue on Yom Kippur, although emotionally very Jewish. From an ultra-orthodox family, but himself intellectually ecumenical. Livia's earliest memories are of dancing to pieces of music on the gramophone: Scherzo of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and first movement of Emperor piano concerto (the horn bits of both). [11:45] Describes her young self as fiercely independent, with a mass of hair like Stofel Peter; forthright; strong personality; argumentative; very frustrated with school because of the rules, and with office work for the same reason: believes her father had trained her to want to work everything out for herself. Considers herself a natural musician. Relationship with father: stormy but got better as they both got older; background info on Victor Gollancz, how he was thrown out of Repton for teaching the boys pacifism. [22:30] The role of Gollancz Ltd in her life: parents out a lot; father very sociable and gregarious; parties at home; remembers mother making dresses and dressing up to go out at nights; Miss Butell, the seamstress, coming to make dresses for the whole family. The Left Book Club: background and her involvement: promotion of left-wing books sold in floppy cloth covers for half a crown each, supplied through booksellers.
Life story interview with the musician and publisher Livia Gollancz (1920-2018)