|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2011)|
|Parent company||Alma Classics|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Headquarters location||Richmond, London|
Calder Publications is a publisher of books. Since 1949, it has published many books on all the arts, particularly musical subjects like opera and painting, the theatre and critical and philosophical theory. Calder's authors have achieved nineteen Nobel Literature Prizes and three for Peace.
John Calder started his publishing house in 1949 when manuscripts were plentiful and many books that were in demand were out of print - in the immediate post-war years paper was scarce and severely rationed.
During the 1950s he built up a list of translated classics, which included the works of Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Goethe and Zola among others. Calder then began to publish American titles. As a result of Senator Joe McCarthy's "witch-hunt" he was able to acquire significant American authors as well as books on issues of civil liberty that mainstream publishers in New York were afraid to keep on their lists. This led to the development of close ties with those smaller American firms who resisted the McCarthyite pressure.
By the late 1950s, Calder was publishing a group of new writers who would change the face of twentieth-century literature. One of these was Samuel Beckett; of whom Calder published all his novels, poetry, criticism, and some of his plays. Others became synonymous with the school of the "nouveau roman" or "new novel". These included Alain Robbe-Grillet, Marguerite Duras, Claude Simon, Nathalie Sarraute and Robert Pinget. Other European novelists, playwrights and poets included Heinrich Böll, Dino Buzzati, Eugène Ionesco, Fernando Arrabal, René de Obaldia, Peter Weiss and Ivo Andric. Calder was soon launching new experimental British writers such as Ann Quin, Alan Burns, Eva Tucker and R.C. Kennedy - who, influenced by their European counterparts, became part of the avant-garde of the early 1960s.
From his experience of authors' tours, John Calder saw that readers much enjoyed hearing authors air their ideas in public - often in heated debate. He persuaded the Edinburgh Festival to stage large literary conferences - the first of their kind - which in 1962 and 1963 were immensely successful. They attracted many of the world's leading writers as well as others whose names were not yet familiar to the public.
Following their visit to Scotland, Calder began to publish the previously banned work of writers Henry Miller and William S. Burroughs. Controversy also surrounded the publication of Alexander Trocchi's Cain's Book, which was a success despite of a minor obscenity trial in Sheffield. Hubert Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn, although well reviewed, had a more serious case brought against it; first in a private prosecution by a Tory MP; then at the Old Bailey. John Mortimer led a successful appeal and the company was vindicated after losing in both lower courts.
Calder's Pursuit gives not only a record of over half a century of publishing and literary activity but also a portrait of a life that entered politics and influenced all areas of the arts.
In 1963 the company changed its name to Calder and Boyars to accommodate a new partner (Marion Boyars, who subsequently founded Marion Boyars Publishing), but went back to its original name when the partnership was dissolved in 1975. In 2007, Calder Publications was acquired by Oneworld Classics, a joint venture between Alma Books and Oneworld Publications. In 2012, Alma Books acquired full ownership of Calder and Oneworld Classics, renaming the later Alma Classics.