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After entering the London book trade, in 1887 he became co-founder with Elkin Mathews of The Bodley Head which originally was a bookshop dealing in antiquarian books. In 1894, still operating under the name of The Bodley Head, they began to publish books. Mathews left shortly afterwards and began to publish on his own as Elkin Mathews Ltd. and "returned to a great concentration on bookselling".
Lane continued to publish as The Bodley Head and under the name John Lane. He is mainly associated with publishing controversial and audacious texts, especially for a small, sophisticated audience. Examples are the periodical The Yellow Book (1894 - 1897) and Lane's Keynote Series, which included contentious material such as Grant Allen's novel The Woman Who Did (1895), Victoria Crosse's immediate reaction to it, the novel The Woman Who Didn't (1895), and H.G. Wells's novel about his affair with Amber Reeves, The New Machiavelli (1911).
On 13 August 1898, John Lane married Annie Philippine King, the widow of Tyler Batcheller King and the daughter of Julius Eichberg. Annie Lane was author of To Thee, O Country (national hymn) and of the books Brown's Retreat, Kitwyk (published by John Lane in 1903), The Champagne Standard, Talk of the Town and According to Maria.
John Lane died of pneumonia on 2 February 1925 at his London home, 8 Lancaster Gate Terrace, Bayswater, London. He was cremated at Golders Green, and his ashes were interred at St Nectan's Church in the hamlet of Stoke, near Hartland, Devon. In the St Nectan's churchyard, there is a stone seat commemorating various members of the Lane family.
Book series published by John Lane
- The Country Handbooks
- Handbooks of Practical Gardening
- Keynote Series
- Living Masters of Music
- The Music of the Masters
- Archives of The Bodley Head Ltd, reading.ac.uk. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- Elkin Mathews Ltd. mss., ca. 1919-1987, indiana.edu. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- Keynotes (John Lane/The Bodley Head; etc.) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Publisher's advertisement in: Rosa Newmarch, Henry J. Wood, London and New York: John Lane, 1904. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
- Rosa Newmarch, The Life & Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, London: John Lane/The Bodley Head and New York: John Lane Company, 1906. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
- Publisher's advertisement in: Rosa Newmarch, Poetry and progress in Russia, London and New York: John Lane, 1907. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Lane (publisher).|
- Works by John Lane at Project Gutenberg
- Works by John Lane at Faded Page (Canada)
- Works by or about John Lane at Internet Archive
- Works by Mrs. John Lane at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Mrs. John Lane at Internet Archive
- The Song of Sixpence Picture Book in the Library of Congress digital collection
- John Lane at Library of Congress Authorities, with 8 catalogue records
- John Lane Company at Library of Congress Authorities, with 47 catalogue records, and at WorldCat
- Mrs. John Lane at Library of Congress Authorities, with 16 catalogue records, and at WorldCat
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