Could you tell me what "under me" means in the following passage?

"And does Mr. Rackstraw look after that [=occult stuff] too?" asked Colquhoun.
"Well, some of it," the publisher answered. "But of course, in a place like this things aren't exactly divided just--just exactly. Mornington, now, Mornington looks after some books. Under me, of course," he added hastily. "And then he does a good deal of the publicity, the advertisements, you know. And he does the reviews."

(Charles Williams, War in Heaven)

Does it mean "under my supervision"? But it doesn't seem to make much sense to me.

  • The speaker is Mornington's boss - he doesn't necessarily supervise Mornington's work closely, but he probably has to approve the books before they are published. Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 8:18

1 Answer 1


under: "controlled, managed or governed by." [Lexico]

It means the publisher is ultimately responsible for what Mornington does. Control and management can be arm's length rather than close control, and the publisher might simply keep a watching brief to make sure things are done the way the publishing house should do them. The context does indicate that Mornington has considerable responsibility, but the publisher is anxious to indicate that he isn't completely superfluous.

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