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"25.10.2016 12:43:44" lrb.co.uk LRB · Gwen Burnyeat · No! The clock is ticking and the world is watching: presumably the Nobel judges honoured Santos five days after the referendum to endorse the accords and signal to Colombia that it must not let this opportunity slip away. What next for Colombia?
"25.10.2016 08:22:51" lrb.co.uk LRB · Will Self · The Frowniest Spot on Earth I have called 'Aerotropolis' a scientific romance because like some of the futuristic fiction of the late 19th century it predicates social improvement on technological advance. Some – but not all. 'What the authors seem not to have grasped is the oneiric character of progress-without-end itself, and so they remain slumbering on the redeye flight to apocalypse' – Will Self on aerotropoli, from the #LRBarchive.
"24.10.2016 16:52:48" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ben Ehrenreich · Diary The Jungle's inhabitants are a select group: they've made it to Europe, crossed the whole Schengen Zone and want to keep going, to stow themselves away in one of the trains and trucks that take consumer goods through the Eurotunnel to Dover. 'The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, promised that the evictions would be gradual. “It was never a question,” he said, “of evacuating the south zone in a brutal fashion using bulldozers.” The bulldozers arrived the following Monday.'
"24.10.2016 11:41:41" lrb.co.uk R.W. Johnson: Gaitskell and Europe When the issue of Britain joining the EEC was raised following Harold Macmillan's opening of negotiations in July 1961, Hugh Gaitskell had no time for those who saw the issue as one of principle. If Britain went in on the wrong terms, 'history will never forgive us.'
"24.10.2016 09:59:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Sheila Fitzpatrick · Vodka + Caesium Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015, but some people still don't think her books are literature. 'Read it, and feel free to weep' – Sheila Fitzpatrick on the Nobel Laureate in Literature (no, not that one – last year's winner).
"23.10.2016 18:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Malcolm Bull · Great Again: America's Heidegger From 1930 until the end of his life, Heidegger kept a private philosophical journal in a series of black notebooks. He intended it to be published as the very last of his collected works. The truly shocking question posed by the Black Notebooks is not: was Heidegger a Nazi? Or: was Heidegger an anti-Semite? But: would Germany's greatest 20th-century philosopher have endorsed Donald Trump?
"23.10.2016 14:27:31" lrb.co.uk Ian Patterson: Nemo's Almanac Nemo's Almanac is a long-running literary quiz, which may sound like a pointless thing to write about but it's – almost – an important cultural phenomenon. It's also at a critical moment in its history. 'Many of the competitors over the years have been remarkably persevering, like Miss Overton, who competed for 54 years despite never winning a prize, an example to us all' – Ian Patterson on Nemo's Almanac, from the LRB blog.
"23.10.2016 10:12:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Diski · It wasn't him, it was her Any mentally idle, story-hungry novelist or scriptwriter would do well to attend to the entangled and twisted lives of Friedrich and Elisabeth Nietzsche, which present ready-made a nearly perfect narrative. 'The living embodiment of everything the mad philosopher disdained' – Jenny Diski on Nietzsche's sister, from the #LRBarchive.
"22.10.2016 17:00:00" lrb.co.uk Patrick Wormald · Did Harold really get it in the eye? 'You had your 1917 in 1066,' a Russian diplomat was once said to have told his British counterpart. The ruling class of England, and much of the rest of Britain, was re-created by the Norman Conquest. Did Harold really get it in the eye?
"22.10.2016 13:26:37" lrb.co.uk Sadakat Kadri: Codependence Day The 1996 film shows the White House destroyed by aliens. Worldwide havoc ensues. America's president leads the counterattack that eliminates the intruders for ever (sequels notwithstanding). 'In Trump's eyes, Independence Day is not fantasy so much as cinéma vérité' – Sadakat Kadri on Trump and the Brexiteers, from the LRB blog.
"22.10.2016 10:32:23" lrb.co.uk LRB · Susan Pedersen · Destined to Disappear At the moment of its American birth, 'international relations meant race relations.' Races, not states or nations, were considered humanity's foundational political units. International relations was supposed to figure out how to preserve white supremacy.
"21.10.2016 11:46:20" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: How to Rig an Election Wisely, Trump has discounted the possibility that his impending defeat has anything to do with having alienated most US voters by his mendacity, bigotry, sexual predation, misogyny, racism, xenophobia and manifest unfitness for public office. How to Rig an Election
"21.10.2016 08:43:21" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rosemary Hill · Herberts & Herbertinas He got round the rule forbidding pianos in students' rooms by buying an antique dulcitone, an instrument undreamed of by the college authorities, and overspent his generous allowance on 'an impractically huge Breton oak sideboard'. He received his knighthood in characteristic tones: 'I don't think it quite my line … so associated with Welsh aldermen and failing jockeys. I suppose I'll get used to it.' Rosemary Hill on Steven Runciman, from the latest issue, now de-paywalled.
"20.10.2016 17:00:27" Patrick Cockburn answers questions from Facebook Earlier this week we livestreamed Patrick Cockburn's sold-out event at the London Review Bookshop on 'The Age of Jihad'. The response from our Facebook community was so enthusiastic that Patrick agreed to answer a handful of the many questions posted
"20.10.2016 12:01:11" lrb.co.uk LRB · The Groom Stripped Bare by His Suitor For if any member of the Beatles had a hidden affinity with Yoko, in terms of a taste for odd little juxtapositions, contrived production values, associative leaps and natty bricolage, it was surely Paul McCartney. 'In falling in love with Yoko, he fell for a more illustrious, less irritating version of Paul McCartney' – Jeremy Harding on John Lennon, from the#LRBarchive.
"20.10.2016 08:46:14" lrb.co.uk Daniel Trilling: British Hospitality One might question the wider theme of 'Britain's proud history of welcoming refugees'. It might be more accurate to say that Britain has a history of mainly trying to keep refugees out, while occasionally welcoming limited numbers. The way the right-wing press has singled out these boys and published their faces in a hit parade is straight-up racist intimidation, playing on a stereotype of non-white foreigners being freakishly and threateningly overdeveloped.
"19.10.2016 12:11:02" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies Why are we all having so much fun with the killing of the illusion of killing? The fun is unmistakable, in the tale and in the movie as we watch it. 'Good humour comes to seem relentless if it isn't interrupted once in a while' – Michael Wood on Brian De Palma, from the latest issue.
"19.10.2016 09:01:55" lrb.co.uk Adewale Maja-Pearce: Buhari Loses the Plot At a joint press conference with Angela Merkel on the day the interview was aired, Buhari smiled uncomfortably. 'I don't know which party my wife belongs to,' he said, 'but she belongs to my kitchen and my living-room and the other room.' The interview with Aisha Buhari last week was unprecedented. No Nigerian first lady – especially not a Muslim one – had spoken out publicly against her husband before.
"18.10.2016 18:08:09" Patrick Cockburn: The Age of Jihad This was a live stream from the London Review Bookshop's sold-out event featuring Patrick Cockburn on 'The Age of Jihad'. APOLOGIES FOR THE SOUND QUALITY AT THE START, THIS IS FIXED AFTER ABOUT 7 MINUTES.
"18.10.2016 17:07:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Patrick Cockburn · Diary One building contained the entrance to a tunnel and nearby there was a faded message on the wall: 'The martyrs of Syria are so many that they will have to build a new Syria in heaven.' 'The military balance in Syria could turn against him again if one or more of the outside powers opposing him steps up their support for his enemies. But so long as this doesn't happen, Assad has every reason to believe that he is winning the
"18.10.2016 11:18:30" lrb.co.uk Ben Jackson: On the Government's Lists May Brown, a Nigerian woman with leukemia, made the news last week when her sister was denied entry to the UK to provide life-saving stem cells. In the United States, for the moment, it's only a presidential candidate, lagging in the polls, who's musing about the worst kinds of xenophobic and nativist policies. In Britain, it's the home secretary, the prime minister, the government. Who would have
"17.10.2016 11:44:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Patrick Cockburn · End Times for the Caliphate? The war in Syria and Iraq has produced two new de facto states in the last five years and enabled a third quasi-state greatly to expand its territory and power. 'Once the caliphate is gone, however, the central governments in Baghdad and Damascus may grow stronger again. The Kurds wonder if they will then be at risk of losing all the gains they have made in the war against Islamic State.'
Patrick Cockburn wrote
"17.10.2016 08:43:40" lrb.co.uk LRB · Gillian Darley · At the Train Station Over the years, travelling to Birmingham from time to time, I've noticed a handsome classical building, a kind of mirage that comes into view briefly as the train approaches New Street Station. 'The story of Curzon Street Station is an extreme illustration of what can happen to a building when architectural quality plays no part and utility is all' – Gillian Darley on obsolescence, from the new issue.
"16.10.2016 11:40:13" lrb.co.uk LRB · Bernard Porter · Send more blondes Congo is a country that has been impoverished by its riches. No one asked the Congolese whether the Americans could take over their treasure to make the most terrifying and destructive weapon the world had seen, and then feed the American appetite for hegemony. They weren't told of the Congolese component of the
"15.10.2016 14:30:01" lrb.co.uk Kathleen McCaul Moura: Free Khurram Parvez His real crime, according to Ansari, is unrestrained criticism of human rights abuses in Kashmir. 'Parvez has always been highly critical of the government,' Ansari told me. Free Khurram Parvez
"15.10.2016 08:15:33" lrb.co.uk LRB · Inigo Thomas · Turner's 'Rain, Steam and Speed' 'There comes a train down upon you,' Thackeray wrote after seeing the painting. 'The viewer had best make haste … lest it dash out of the picture and be away to Charing Cross through the wall opposite.' You can shut down the iconographical interpretation of art, with its artistic and literary allusions, and concentrate instead on Turner's painterliness, but with 'Rain, Steam and Speed' you might be missing something if you do. What happens if you look at
"14.10.2016 18:09:33" Fragments of Ferrante We're streaming live from 'Fragments of Ferrante', the London Review Bookshop's sold-out event featuring John Lanchester, Catherine Taylor, Dawn Foster and Ferrante's translator Ann Goldstein in discussion about the Ferrante phenomenon. Feel free to ask
"14.10.2016 16:23:48" lrb.co.uk LRB · Joanna Biggs · I was blind, she a falcon Are Elena Ferrante's four Neapolitan novels even books? I began to doubt it when I talked about them with other people – mostly women. We returned to life too quickly as we spoke. 'I got so confused about what was real and what was not while reading Ferrante on a train that I kept on forgetting that I hadn't missed my station' – Joanna Biggs on Elena Ferrante, from the #LRBarchive. We'll be live-streaming tonight's London Review
"14.10.2016 14:43:37" lrb.co.uk Colin Burrow: Bob Dylan's 126th Dream Bob smiled wryly. It always happened, sooner or later. Usually it was when the rain was blowing in your face. You make them feel your love and then, what, they leave you standing by the highway crying. Bob reflected. 'The most outstanding work in an ideal direction'? The words were a meaningless ring. Guess it sounds better in Swedish. Where was he going to keep another damn certificate?
"14.10.2016 11:02:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Lanchester · Short Cuts Most writers of fiction are interested in anonymity. If they aren't tickled by the thought when they sit down to write their first books, they get to that point after the first couple have come out. 'Anonymity, that idea so tempting to so many writers, has become a tool for empowering and magnifying misogyny. Tens of thousands of men using anonymity to berate, abuse and threaten women online? A daily reality. We as a culture are fine with it. A woman
"13.10.2016 15:58:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Runciman · Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat It's depressing to suppose that fortune favours the people who can keep going longest. But it does. That is one of the clear lessons from the first volume of Charles Moore's exhaustive and exhausting authorised biography of Thatcher. 'She was much more proud of being the first prime minister with a science degree than she was to be the first woman prime minister' – Runciman on Thatcher, who was born #otd in 1925.
"13.10.2016 11:44:58" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Jones · Forget the Dylai Lama 'Dylan has always had a way with words,' Ricks writes, and it is on Dylan's words that he focuses. He acknowledges the importance of 'comprehending the way in which the multimedia art of song differs from the page's poetry'. 'Dylan is always several steps ahead of his interpreters: just when they seem to have him surrounded, he reveals a new side' – Thomas Jones on Christopher Ricks on Bob Dylan, from the #LRBarchive.
"13.10.2016 08:33:25" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jean McNicol · Something Rather Scandalous Rupert Brooke died of septicaemia caused by an infected mosquito bite, on his way to fight in Gallipoli in April 1915. It wasn't a romantic or heroic death, but it proved easy enough to turn into legend. He was, Henry James wrote, 'in an extraordinary degree … a creature on whom the gods had smiled their brightest' – Jean McNicol on the loves of Rupert Brooke, from the new issue.
"12.10.2016 18:11:30" lrb.co.uk Amjad Iraqi: Shimon Peres Peres seemed oblivious to the darker implications of summoning Britain's imperial past: that he, a leader of a settler-colonial state, was thanking a former colonial power for inspiring the methods Israel used to deal with the native Palestinians. When Shimon Peres died last month, many Palestinians resented the national and international outpouring of praise he received.
"12.10.2016 14:37:12" lrb.co.uk Eliot Weinberger · Who Won't Be Voting for Trump 'There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell – I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.' Our new issue is now online, featuring Inigo Thomas on J.M.W. Turner, Jean McNicol on Rupert Brooke, Bernard Porter on spies in the Congo and Eliot Weinberger on who won't be voting for Trump.
"12.10.2016 08:39:29" lrb.co.uk LRB · Kathleen Jamie · Diary Working like this meant kneeling with our backs to the sea. You could forget it was there, except when you stood, stiffly, to empty a bucket or barrow. Then you could see the ocean. As we toured the site I was aghast to see the orange earth of a hearth being trowelled away. A neolithic hearth! But I was told not to worry, they were certain there was another older one beneath.
"11.10.2016 16:51:23" lrb.co.uk LRB · Yonatan Mendel · Divide and divide and divide and rule Though Hillel Cohen would never compare the occupier to the occupied, his writing will make Jewish and Palestinian readers equally uncomfortable. Mazal Cohen was a Jewish woman murdered in Safed on 29 August 1929. This was the moment at which the possibility of a unified Arab-Jewish identity, or even a shared Arab-Jewish life, disappeared, perhaps for ever.
"11.10.2016 11:48:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · Bee Wilson · Like Cold Oysters She learned early on that it didn't pay to be too ingratiating, too smiling or polished. The crowd – who were just as hungry themselves in the early 1930s – preferred to see her as vulnerable, in need of protection. 'More than looks, she projected the sound of the streets, even though her huge voice was the very thing that had propelled her away from Pigalle. One journalist compared her powerful timbre to the rasping shout of a greengrocer in the market. Another said
"10.10.2016 16:44:40" lrb.co.uk Moira Donegan: Black Monday The Polish government says there were 24,000 protesters on Warsaw's streets last Monday; the protest organisers say there were 116,000. In the capital, where it was raining, they bumped umbrellas and chanted: 'We want doctors, not missionaries' – Moira Donegan on the Black Monday demonstrations in support of abortion rights in Poland, from the LRB blog.
"10.10.2016 12:11:33" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stephen Greenblatt · That's America One of Reagan's considerable gifts as a politician has been his ability to lift much of the country out of the realm of shame. He has taught Americans that there is nothing to be ashamed of. 'Even his intestinal polyps were given elaborate media treatment, with the publication of the detailed results of the presidential proctoscopy and television coverage of his illness and recuperation from surgery. The American public needs to be reassured
"10.10.2016 08:47:21" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christopher Tayler · The HPtFtU He has also published Unapologetic (2012), an Anglican riposte to the likes of Richard Dawkins that's subtitled 'Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense.' 'An almost parodically English figure whose output includes a cultural history of polar exploration, a memoir of childhood reading, a study of various unsung successes of postwar British science and a non-fiction novel that unpacks the story of Soviet
"09.10.2016 12:33:56" Photos from London Review of Books's post Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, lays claim to some of the finest Futurist architecture on earth: bit.ly/2dctvfY
"08.10.2016 14:54:42" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk London Review Bookshop London's best independent bookshop It's National Bookshop Day! Isn't it about time you visited ours?
"08.10.2016 09:46:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ben Jackson · Just about Anything You Want In January 2011, Aaron Swartz was arrested for downloading 4.8 million academic articles from the digital archive JSTOR, using a laptop hidden in a broom cupboard on the MIT campus. Two years after his arrest, he hung himself. 'Downloading isn't stealing,' Aaron Swartz wrote when he was 17. 'If I shoplift an album from my local record store, no one else can buy it. But when I download a song, no one loses it and another person gets it.'
"07.10.2016 16:15:34" lrb.co.uk Anakana Schofield: Vancouver's Fentanyl Crisis Last April, British Columbia's chief health officer took the unusual step of declaring a public health emergency after 200 people died from (suspected) fentanyl overdose during the first three months of 2016. Public health emergencies are typically declared in response to outbreaks of contagious diseases. British Columbia is the first province to take this kind of action in response to the current public health crisis from drug overdoses.
"07.10.2016 11:20:24" lrb.co.uk LRB · Francis Gooding · Auctions in the Forest Despite having long been revered as a delicacy, matsutake mushrooms refuse to be cultivated. All people can do to encourage its growth is to make the right kinds of disturbance in suitable forest and hope it appears. 'The matsutake is said to have been the first living thing to emerge from the ruins of Hiroshima' – Francis Gooding on mushrooms, from the latest issue.
"07.10.2016 08:59:06" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tony Wood · First Person For opponents of Putin, 'the whole edifice' of the regime rests 'on this one man', and his pathologies are writ large across the system. 'Putinism isn't a corrupt, dictatorial structure imposed on a helpless population; it's embedded in the social, economic and political realities of modern Russia, shaped by them even as it shapes them in turn' – Tony Wood on Putin's kleptocracy, on the
"06.10.2016 17:16:48" lrb.co.uk Peter Pomerantsev: Are you local? Theresa May invoked the 'spirit of citizenship' as the thing that holds Britain together today. The term has an ingrained tension: 'spirit' invokes a mystic national soul; 'citizen' something rational and rules-based. Are you local?
"06.10.2016 11:55:55" lrb.co.uk Dawn Foster: Citizens of the world, look out Theresa May began by heralding 'a new united Britain, rooted in the centre ground', but then lurched to the right, ditching David Cameron's cautious centrism for a more calculated populism and xenophobia. There are names for rampant xenophobia combined with economic populism, but 'centrism' isn't one of them.
"06.10.2016 08:46:09" lrb.co.uk Andrew O'Hagan: Living the Life 'Please don't tell anyone but this is why I have to get out of the agency business. Hugh Grant just got arrested for getting blown. We had to bail him out.'
Andrew O'Hagan on Hollywood agents, from the latest issue, now de-paywalled.
"05.10.2016 16:09:13" lrb.co.uk The Editors: And the winner is This year's #readeverywhere competition was dominated by babies, cats and mountains, so perhaps it was inevitable that the winners would buck all three trends. We have a #winner.
"05.10.2016 11:15:00" #readeverywhere: Lowest to Highest Our week of celebration of another successful summer for our photo competition with The Paris Review continues. Before announcing our winners later today, we wanted to recognise the large number of entrants who decided to #readeverywhere from a great
"05.10.2016 08:35:41" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: Boundary Balls Labour has called the review unfair. It's probably truer to say it exemplifies what Keynes called the principle of equal unfairness. Labour will shed more seats than other parties, but how unfair that is depends on whether it's over-represented now. There's an endemic problem in the Boundary Review: equalising constituencies is justified by fairness – everyone's vote should count the same – but once fairness comes into it, the case for proportionality looks unanswerable.
"04.10.2016 16:30:00" The 'folksy, joyful' dance of Agnes de Mille 'The girl who wants to gallop with the boys' – Agnes de Mille redefined what dance could do in a musical. Read more: lrb.me/dx0
"04.10.2016 12:07:16" lrb.co.uk LRB · Edward Luttwak · Napoleon of Medellín Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (1949-93), the most talented and richest of Colombian drug bosses, lived his contradictions. A gold-framed portrait of the Virgin Mary hung over the bed in which he slept with teenage prostitutes. 'The Pearl Harbor air strike was a brilliant feat but turned out to be a disaster for Japan because it had no strategy for winning the war. It was the same for the tactics that killed Escobar.'
Edward Luttwak on Pablo Escobar, from the #LRBarchive.
"04.10.2016 08:37:06" lrb.co.uk LRB · Lewis Biggs · At Land Art Mongolia The Mongolian works are obvious even to the untrained eye: invariably there is a horse somewhere in the composition. The venue, it turned out, was a former Soviet youth camp by a small lake near a volcano.
"03.10.2016 18:09:55" Against Everything: Mark Greif and Laurie Penny This was a live stream from the London Review Bookshop's sold-out event featuring Mark Greif, one of the founding editors of n+1, in conversation with Laurie Penny about 'Against Everything', Greif's latest book. Please feel free to ask questions in the
"03.10.2016 17:01:07" lrb.co.uk Anonymous: Why ruin the fun? It's embarrassing to work this hard just to put fictive names onto real people, and immoral to make it so boring to read. I don't need to know who Ferrante is because I already know.
"03.10.2016 11:55:55" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Eagleton · Unhoused All literary works are anonymous, but some are more anonymous than others. It is in the nature of a piece of writing that it is able to stand free of its begetter, and can dispense with his or her physical presence. 'Postmodernism is full of personality cults, but they know themselves to be groundless' – Terry Eagleton on literary anonymity, from the #LRBarchive.
"03.10.2016 10:26:11" Timeline Photos The LRB is looking for a User Researcher for a period of intensive development of our digital content and presence – are you the one that we've been waiting for? lrb.co.uk/jobs
"02.10.2016 20:57:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · Eric Foner · Enter Hamilton Precursors to Trump do exist: candidates who struck electoral gold by appealing to exaggerated fears, real grievances and visceral prejudices. The racism, xenophobia and violence of Donald Trump's presidential campaign is widely seen as an aberration, as if reasoned debate had been the default mode of American politics. But racism, violence and scurrilous attacks on opponents were all part of
"02.10.2016 16:55:54" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stefan Collini · On the Lower Slopes It is easy to come away from his books with the thought that the deepest form of inauthenticity is to be a worldly success, but that is precisely what he became. 'One is left feeling that he mostly got what he wanted, and that what he mostly wanted was to have it both ways' – Stefan Collini on Graham Greene, born #otd in 1904.
"01.10.2016 14:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Joanna Biggs · Short Cuts She'd earned the right after two wars, two marriages, a divorce, many love affairs, an addiction to alcohol and a million-selling novel, to talk of passion and men and other writers with a certain weariness. One reason love is terrible is that men are terrible.
"01.10.2016 10:23:57" lrb.co.uk Dawn Foster: In Liverpool The MPs argue that a mandate from the members does not mean someone is electable: this is true. But it isn't clear that the MPs know better than the members what 'electability' looks like. 'A lot of people pointed out that the politicians, journalists and academics who have repeatedly called for Ukip voters to be not attacked, but understood, aren't so generous when it comes to that other recent populist movement, Momentum' – Dawn Foster on
"30.09.2016 16:33:52" lrb.co.uk David Bromwich: Make them dance The moderator asked the question, 'Who out there is supporting whom?' – a stadium roar for Hillary, a few claps for Gary Johnson and a few more (10 to 20) for Jill Stein. When it came to Trump, one person raised her hand. 'The solitary Trump supporter, on her way out, was saluted with a warmth that seemed to mix condolence and pride in “our democracy”.'
David Bromwich watches the presidential debate in Harlem, from the LRB blog.
"30.09.2016 11:19:20" lrb.co.uk LRB · J. Hoberman · Short Cuts In the annals of American intelligence, the mid-1950s were the golden years: the CIA overthrew elected governments in Iran and Guatemala and conducted experiments with ESP and LSD. It was Howard Hunt who broke the story that the CIA funded Animal Farm, John Halas and Joy Batchelor's 1954 version of George Orwell's political allegory.
"30.09.2016 08:53:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jon Day · Hang up your running shoes He was the greatest long-distance runner of the mid-20th century, but when he ran Emil Zátopek looked ridiculous. His face was a mask of pain and his head lolled to the side, as though his neck couldn't hold it up. 'On the track he suffered, and he was loved because he showed it' – Jon Day on Emil Zátopek, from the new issue.
"29.09.2016 16:23:24" Letters of a Dead Man 'Even scales are not lacking, so you can daily ascertain your own weight – a favourite hobby of the English.'
Nicholas Penny reads Hermann von Pückler-Muskau's letters home, 'the most comprehensive and compelling account of what it was like for a
"29.09.2016 12:13:29" lrb.co.uk Charlotte England: Reclaiming Holloway Prison Charities working with women prisoners say that closing Holloway has meant specialist mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence support services at the site have now been lost. Cuts to domestic violence shelters and mental healthcare, along with a dearth of social housing, mean that women who have survived violence often don't get any help until they commit a crime. And the lack of housing for prison leavers encourages some
"29.09.2016 08:02:51" lrb.co.uk LRB · Marina Warner · Those Brogues Esmond splashed out on the celebrated Peal's bespoke brogues for his newly arrived young Italian wife; she was to have the best of English classic design, sturdier by far than a glass slipper. 'The brogues would walk her safely on turf and moorland and through woodland and along river banks where the trout twinked to the surface for water boatmen and flies, and take her striding across winter fields where the pheasants whirred up, a flurry of
"28.09.2016 18:05:30" lrb.co.uk Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Lights, Camera, Justice! Supreme Court oral arguments are filmed and made available online; there are summaries of judgments on YouTube. Their contribution to the entertainment industry is, so far, unremarkable. The Supreme Court is available for private hire: a scene in Bridget Jones's Baby was filmed there.
"28.09.2016 12:28:05" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Mars-Jones · In the Body Bag The unborn narrator of Ian McEwan's new novel has tastes, preferences, opinions, all of which logically depend on something he hasn't had, experience, but logic isn't the sovereign element in any novel. 'More Bollinger than Everyman' – our new issue is now online, featuring Marina Warner on her mother's brogues, Jon Day on Emil Zatopek and Adam Mars-Jones on Ian McEwan's 'Nutshell'.
"28.09.2016 08:45:52" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Shatz · Promenade Dora-Bruder Modiano, a collector of old Paris maps and telephone directories, revealed in a 2007 interview that for decades he has kept an immense stack of notebooks filled with 'precise things, dates, names, places, about people who really existed'. 'The neglected margins of Paris continue to await their Modiano' – Adam Shatz on the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, from the latest issue.
"27.09.2016 16:59:53" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Bernstein: The Art of the Nuclear Deal He seems to have no understanding of the power of these weapons and has not stated clearly when he would order their use if he was ever elected president. 'And by the way,' Donald Trump said to Hillary Clinton in last night's debate, 'another one powerful is the worst deal I think I've ever seen negotiated that you started is the Iran deal.'
"27.09.2016 12:53:28" lrb.co.uk Owen Hatherley · #lowerthanvermin The source of the phrase 'lower than vermin' is a speech made by Aneurin Bevan, then minister of health, at a Labour Party rally on 4 July 1948, on the eve of the launch of the National Health Service that he himself had devised. 'In his notorious speech to the 1957 Labour Party Conference, Bevan asked whether anti-nuclear campaigners wanted to see Britain go “naked into the conference chamber”' – Owen Hatherley on Nye Bevan, from the #LRBarchive.
"27.09.2016 10:30:13" lrb.co.uk LRB · N.A.M. Rodger · Grieve not, but try again Different kinds of warship convey different meanings, in different languages, and the languages are not easy to translate. This applies to all warships, but especially to submarines. 'Warships are built for war, but not only for war' – N.A.M. Rodger on submarines, from the latest issue.
"26.09.2016 18:00:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Frank Kermode · Feast of St Thomas 'The idea that Eliot's poetry was rooted in private aspects of his life has now been accepted,' says Lyndall Gordon in the Foreword to her second volume of biographical rooting among these aspects. 'By 1917 he has come to loathe the snobbish English middle class and informs his Harvard professor that the English lack of respect for education is amazing' – Frank Kermode on T.S. Eliot, who was born #otd in 1888.
"26.09.2016 15:36:35" lrb.co.uk Yiannis Baboulias: Lesvos Burning Drugs have made an appearance in some areas, violence is endemic (there have even been murders inside the camps), children are prostituting themselves to survive, and anger is growing. 'Through a combination of cumbersome bureaucracy, denial and ineffective disbursement of funds to the Greek state and NGOs (whose handling of the situation has been far from exemplary), Europe has left refugees, and the local inhabitants of Lesvos and
"26.09.2016 11:15:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Burrow · On Alice Oswald It would be very easy for Alice Oswald to get stuck. She had great and deserved success with Dart (2002), a poem that sought to be a river. 'She seemed in danger of embanking her imagination into a repeated form, and becoming not just a river poet but a poet who had to rely on the physical and temporal flow of water to give her work a shape and direction' – Colin Burrow on Alice Oswald, from
"25.09.2016 17:11:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · F.R. Leavis · 'Gwendolen Harleth' It is Gwendolen Harleth who represents the great creative George Eliot – Gwendolen, together with the drama in which she is the focal character. In which F.R. Leavis attempts to liberate 'the living part' of Daniel Deronda from 'the deadweight of utterly different matter that George Eliot thought fit to make it carry'. #LRBarchive
"25.09.2016 13:45:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stephen Walsh · All the Necessary Attributes Who was the most important 19th-century composer? Naturally, it depends on what's meant by important. 'Liszt wasn't the only child prodigy being dragged around Europe by an ambitious father. Prodigies were ten a penny in Biedermeier Vienna.'
Stephen Walsh on Franz Liszt, celebrity, from the latest issue.
"25.09.2016 10:21:49" lrb.co.uk Aaron Bastani: Money for nothing? Given the lack of precedents or data, why is the left so seduced by the idea of a guaranteed income for all? 'As robots and algorithms perform more tasks previously undertaken by humans, the argument goes, more and more people will find themselves either unemployed or in highly precarious work' – Aaron Bastani on universal basic income, from the LRB blog.
"24.09.2016 14:42:10" lrb.co.uk Deborah Friedell: Missionaries in a Lift Mormons vote for Republicans – everyone knows that. But they don't like Trump. 'Mormons place a high premium on being nice, and Trump is not nice,' Matt Bowman, the author of The Mormon People, told ThinkProgress. 'This is clearly very important to you,' one of the boys said as we left the station. 'Now will you listen to me talk to you about something that's important to me?'
Deborah Friedell meets six Mormon missionaries in a lift, talks about the election, from
"24.09.2016 11:46:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tom Crewe · We Are Many When pushed for answers by journalists – about his personal prospects, say, or his relationship with his MPs – Jeremy Corbyn has a special knack for finding his way back to what he really wants to talk about. Three young women I spoke to afterwards were unfazed by the prospect of a showdown with MPs after Corbyn's re-election: 'Get them out,' one said. 'They can join the Tories.'
Tom Crewe went among the Corbyn supporters earlier this year.
"23.09.2016 17:11:25" lrb.co.uk LRB · Edward Luttwak · The Wave of the Future It is not necessary to know how to spell Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft to recognise the Fascist predisposition engendered by today's turbocharged capitalism. In 1994, Edward Luttwak wrote about why fascism was the wave of the future. #LRBarchive
"23.09.2016 11:53:53" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Harding: A Promising Future for All The Bratislava roadmap is a set of vague goals for the short to medium term, including 'priority here and now to show unity' and to secure 'a promising future for all'. 'No one wants to go back to Turkey but the longer asylum seekers are blocked in Greece the less they resemble the people they were when they fled' – Jeremy Harding on EU migration policy, from the LRB blog.
"23.09.2016 09:03:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · Matthew Bennett · Ed Tech Biz Ark Schools now runs 34 academies in London, Birmingham, Hastings and Portsmouth. Of the eight members of the board – which oversees the governors of all 34 schools – five are hedge fund managers. 'Ed tech is an expanding market, worth up to $9 billion a year, where Silicon Valley startups – companies with names like Udacity and DreamBox, backed by angel investors and hedge funds – share the field with multinationals like Pearson. A lot of money
"22.09.2016 14:55:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Laqueur · Nothing Becomes Something We live in the golden age of pathography. But before the middle of the 20th century there was very little writing devoted to the experience of living with illness. 'It is not so much about dying, or death, as about life in extremis' – Thomas Laqueur on pathography, from the latest issue.
"22.09.2016 10:37:32" lrb.co.uk Bernard Porter: On 'Ripper Street' My historical centre of gravity, so to speak, is the 1890s, and has involved research into the London Metropolitan Police; so I've been a keen watcher of Ripper Street on BBC2, starring Matthew Macfadyen as Inspector Reid. 'The football. They can't take that away from us.'
But in the long run, that's exactly what 'they' have done.
"21.09.2016 16:16:49" lrb.co.uk Alex Abramovich: Come Together I'd heard there was 'nothing new' in Ron Howard's Beatles movie, and in the grand scheme of things this turned out to be true, though there's new concert footage and excellent bits with the fans. 'It wasn't a big political gesture. It's just instinct that, you know: why shouldn't black and white people be together? It wasn't political to us. It was just like, “Haha. No. We're not doing it.”'
"21.09.2016 12:48:08" Timeline Photos 'Could anything be more unexpected, in the world of art criticism, than the appearance of a book by Rosalind Krauss on Willem de Kooning?' asks Barry Schwabsky in the latest issue: lrb.me/hv0
"21.09.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk Hilary Mantel · In a Right State 'We sit there, slowly doing the quick crossword, noting as so often in institutions the presence of characters who seem habitués, knowing the procedures, familiar with the staff, A&E their scene.'
– Alan Bennett 'In a Right State', Hilary Mantel's story from our 18 February 2016 issue, has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.
"20.09.2016 17:55:24" lrb.co.uk Sadakat Kadri: Up the Commonwealth Its hint of imperial revival would allow him to pander to nostalgia and racism without saying an illiberal word – a trick he has been perfecting for months, anyway. 'For the time being, Boris owes Theresa May his political life, but as negotiations with Brussels grind on and she makes inevitable concessions, the tables are going to turn. All he'd need then to re-emerge as Brexist-in-Chief is a pseudo-manifesto, and
"20.09.2016 12:58:41" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tom Crewe · Short Cuts Longevity is increasingly rare in British politics. We have got used to political careers coming abruptly to a halt and defeated prime ministers leaving Parliament after a short interval. 'In his media appearances leading up to the live shows Balls has been twinkly, smiley, open-necked, making jokes about needing to lose weight and his hips not moving in the right way for the cha-cha-cha. If he continues to dance as badly as he did in his
"19.09.2016 19:42:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies The first thing Estrella remembers being told about her father, in Victor Erice's shadowy masterpiece The South, is that before she was born he predicted her sex and gave her a name. 'Any sort of past can be a prison if we don't know how to escape from it' – Michael Wood on Victor Erice's shadowy masterpiece 'The South', which is being screened at BFI Southbank this week.
"19.09.2016 15:19:48" lrb.co.uk Lorna Finlayson: Left, Right and Centre Opinium and the Social Market Foundation have released a report based on a survey of 2000 people in the wake of the Brexit vote. This is not to pretend that the majority of the British public are closet lefties. Views are as mixed and as malleable as the people who hold them. But just as the recent reports of 'reds under the bed' are greatly exaggerated, so too are the premature
"19.09.2016 12:49:00" Brooklyn Book Festival: Walton Muyumba on Andrew O'Hagan Yesterday, we asked subscribers at Brooklyn Book Festival to talk about the pieces or the writers that spring immediately to mind when they think of the LRB. We'll be posting their responses throughout the day on Instagram
"18.09.2016 10:15:45" The LRB at Brooklyn Book Festival The LRB at Brooklyn Book Festival The LRB returns to Brooklyn Book Festival. Come and visit our stand to talk about the magazine, grab a copy and, if you're quick enough, one of our tote bags too. Last year pretty much everybody said they were the best at the festival. Find us at booth New York friends, come see us at booth #207!
"17.09.2016 14:46:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jackson Lears · Capitalism's Capital Robert Moses was a modernist pharaoh. Over the forty years from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, he became a virtual dictator of public works in all five boroughs of New York and much of its suburban surroundings. 'Moses became a symbol of everything that was wrong with modernist urban planning: its hostility to street life, its indifference to neighbourhood cohesion, its infatuation with cars and the comparatively well-off people who drove them.'
Jackson Lears on
"17.09.2016 09:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Hofmann · Snap among the Witherlings Nothing in writing has the full-on charm of early Stevens, the abundance of colours and scents and sounds, the musical instruments and fruit, and – oh, just the abundance of abundance. 'To think about Stevens's life, or Stevens from the perspective of his life, is to be told that your bird of paradise, your parrot or your quetzal, is actually a pigeon or a Farmer Matthews turkey' – Michael Hofmann on Wallace Stevens, from the latest
"16.09.2016 18:56:50" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alice Spawls · At the Shops The lurex dresses and red velvet tuxedos are pinned and hung and bound with ship's rope. Sounds of a coming storm issue from little speakers and a strange breeze blows within. Everything gold catches the light. Ah, the marketplace! 'Is the serpentine neckline inspired by Piero di Cosimo's painting of Simonetta Vespucci?' Alice Spawls goes window shopping, from the new issue.
"16.09.2016 12:37:58" lrb.co.uk LRB · Liam McIlvanney · The Coldest Place on Earth This ability to vivify imagined worlds is central to Brooklyn's success. So long as we remain with Eilis Lacey in New York, her new world – the throbbing shop floor at Bartocci's, the clammy dances in the parish hall – engrosses and enthrals us. Come find us at booth #207 at Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday. We'll be posting articles about the borough from the #LRBarchive all weekend. First, Liam McIlvanney reviews 'Brooklyn' by Colm Tóibín. Artwork from our 20 March 2003 issue.
"16.09.2016 08:30:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alice Spawls · At the Shops 'J'ai vu une robe charmante, faite de bouchons de liège,' said Apollinaire. He can't have been walking through Mayfair, where the autumn fashions have just been unveiled. 'If there's anything to be cheerful about as the nights creep in, it's the sudden appearance of cashmere and velvet that it's still too hot to wear' – Alice Spawls reviews Mayfair, from the new issue.
"15.09.2016 14:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Irwin · Sweet Porn Given that his grandmother has vanished and his father's farm is at the mercy of cattle the size of dinosaurs, George's reaction seems inadequate to the point of imbecility. It does, of course, leave the way open for a sequel. 'The story improves in the summarising' – more Roald Dahl in the #LRBarchive: Michael Irwin reviews 'George's Marvellous Medicine'.
"15.09.2016 08:22:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jacqueline Rose · From the Inside out The Lesser Bohemians, McBride's second novel, sets itself a challenge: how on earth does anyone ever manage to talk to somebody else? 'What fucks up language is fucking – good, bad or indifferent.' Jacqueline Rose on Eimear McBride, from the new issue.
"14.09.2016 18:16:07" lrb.co.uk Moira Donegan: Mother Teresa She said she wanted the poor who died in her care to 'die like angels – loved and wanted'. But she also accepted money from the truly awful, and was complicit in the propagation of her fame – which helped her cause, but hurt others. 'What's so unnerving about Mother Teresa, and about the whole idea of sainthood, is that her failures are the failures of many kinds of charity. To look at Mother Teresa is to see a bleak and complicating reality: that it is very difficult to pity someone
"14.09.2016 12:50:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Bromwich · What are we allowed to say? Even in societies where faith in progress is part of a common creed, censorship is often taken to be a necessary means to effect improvements that will convey a better life to all. 'Free speech is an aberration – it is best to begin by admitting that.'
Our new issue is now online, featuring David Bromwich on what we're allowed to say, Jacqueline Rose on Eimear McBride, Michael Hofmann on Wallace Stevens and Thomas Laqueur on
"14.09.2016 08:52:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · Owen Bennett-Jones · The Overlooked The version of Islam it teaches is in many ways similar to Wahhabism – both movements are Sunni, puritanical and highly intolerant. 'Almost entirely overlooked in the West, the Deobandis are one of the world's most important Islamic movements' – Owen Bennett-Jones on the Deobandis, from the last issue.
"13.09.2016 18:12:15" The LRB at Brooklyn Book Festival The LRB at Brooklyn Book Festival The LRB returns to Brooklyn Book Festival. Come and visit our booth to talk about the magazine, grab a copy and, if you're quick enough, one of our tote bags too. Last year pretty much everybody said they were the best at the festival. We look forward to The LRB returns to Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday – come say hi!
"13.09.2016 15:13:19" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: Cameron Quits Again His luck ran out with the EU poll, but the luck itself largely consisted in his being spared blowback from his own lack of political judgment, a trait about which he unsurprisingly also showed a lack of judgment. 'The final impression is of a man without qualities, of one who leaves no final impression' – Glen Newey on David Cameron, from the LRB blog.
"13.09.2016 13:26:04" lrb.co.uk M.G. Zimeta: In John Lewis I went back to the store a few days ago. The Fashion Queen mannequins were still there, in the same centrepiece display, in the same feeble poses. All that had changed was the clothes pinned to them. The 'Fashion Queen' mannequin range I'd seen in John Lewis is produced by Bonami in Belgium and has the following dimensions: height 185 cm (6'07"), waist 59 cm (23"), hips 87 cm (34") and bust 87 cm (34"). A Fashion Queen mannequin is taller than the
"13.09.2016 10:06:11" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Diski · Stinker Dahl has a proper relationship with childish desires and best we keep out of it. Except, perhaps, for the recognition that there are other more gracious childish desires which can also be catered for. 'Roald Dahl is a different case from the public achiever who turns out to have feet of clay. Nobody who had read his books or heard his opinions could ever have supposed him to be a comfortably wonderful human being.'
Diski on Dahl, from the #LRBarchive.
"12.09.2016 17:18:28" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Denby · Diary If we are not police or prosecutors, not a member of a community-relations group or a public commission on violence; if we are just citizens, how should we respond to these videos? What is their value, emotionally and morally? 'These videos transform an excruciating personal disaster, a private moment, into a public and political event' – David Denby on the visual records of police violence against black men, from the latest issue.
"12.09.2016 10:52:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Newton · 'I love you, defiant witch!' Williams is a messy, troubling figure; in any account of British literary life in the 1930s and 1940s, he will be a marginal yet somehow pervasive presence. 'His life is an object lesson in the dangers to the self and others of charisma' – Michael Newton on Charles Williams, 'The Third Inkling', from the latest issue.
"11.09.2016 16:30:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tim Barker · Beyond the Ballot Box Its influence is almost always referred to as 'changing the conversation', a locution suggesting a conception of politics as a cocktail party. Commenting on Occupy Wall Street in late 2011, Barney Frank, then a Democratic congressman for Massachusetts, voiced a common complaint: 'I don't understand why people think that simply being in a physical place does much.' Nearly five years later, it
"11.09.2016 12:49:45" lrb.co.uk LRB · 11 September Manhattan that morning was a diagram, a blue bar-chart with columns which were tall or not so tall. A silver cursor passed across the screen and clicked silently on the tallest column, which turned red and black and presently vanished. In 2001, contributors including Edward Said, Jacqueline Rose, Thomas Laqueur, Fredric Jameson, Hal Foster, Terry Eagleton, Amit Chaudhuri, Terry Castle, Mary Beard and Tariq Ali responded to the events of 11 September.
"10.09.2016 10:05:04" 'This is not a Darwinian heresy.' 'This is not a Darwinian heresy' – Steven Rose on the experiments behind epigenetics. Read more: lrb.me/8f0
"09.09.2016 17:35:50" lrb.co.uk Sam Kinchin-Smith: A Battered Monument Towards the end of the film there's a line Cave repeats, several times, in a villanelle-like poem: 'There is more paradise in hell than we've been told.' 'It's a matter of pride, for British fans, that our exotic idol should have become the gentleman next door, leaving his Georgian townhouse every morning in a suit to work a nine-to-five day in his “office”; writing songs – better than ever – that mention
"09.09.2016 11:42:55" lrb.co.uk Norman Dombey: North Korea's H-Bomb Test (from February 2016) Why explode the nuclear weapon now, when economic and political relations between the two Koreas were improving? Why does North Korea continue with its nuclear weapon and missile programmes at the expense of its economy and in the face of UN and US sanctions? Gary Samore says that 'having nuclear weapons is an existential capability' for North Korea. 'It is the only
"08.09.2016 18:03:30" Empire and its legacy in the Middle East This was a live stream from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event featuring Roger Hardy, Jonathan Steel, Hazem Kandil and Robin Lustig on empire and its legacy in the Middle East.
"08.09.2016 15:34:40" lrb.co.uk Peter Pomerantsev: The Zrada Card Abandoned by those who should be responsible for it, under attack from bigger powers and having to improvise its self-defence with anything that comes to hand. The three 'Home Alone' movies all featured in a list of the ten most watched TV programmes in Ukraine in January and it's tempting to speculate that the popularity of the franchise reflects the way the country sees itself.
"08.09.2016 11:48:49" lrb.co.uk LRB · Raoul Vaneigem · A Thousand Erotic Games Hieronymus Bosch had a unique facility for depicting on wood and canvas the combination of corruption and innocence that characterises us. 'Bosch's contribution is to have held up a looking-glass to our anguish as well as to our irrepressible will to live. A looking-glass that we must pass through if we are to make our way beyond the realities it reflects.'
Raoul Vaneigem writes about
"07.09.2016 17:14:34" Timeline Photos 'Wrong Norma' by Anne Carson, from the latest issue. Read the other 36 poems by Carson in the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/pf0
"07.09.2016 12:04:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jeremy Harding · At the Centre Pompidou Two nagging problems about a Beat retrospective. Who did you forget to include? And when do you reckon it grinds to a halt, or something supersedes it? 'Beat had a knack of finding wild ways to be on the road without actually committing a traffic violation' – Jeremy Harding reviews 'Beat Generation' at the Centre Pompidou, from the latest issue.
"07.09.2016 08:43:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christopher Tayler · Belgravia Cockney Le Carré – that is, David Cornwell, an ex-spy – once said that he entered the secret world 'in the spirit of John Buchan and left it in the spirit of Kafka'; allowing for quite a lot of exaggeration at both ends, it's a reasonable comment. 'If you sit up late enough watching DVDs of the BBC adaptation starring Alec Guinness, or Martin Ritt's version of "The Spy who Came in from the Cold" with Richard Burton, it's possible to persuade yourself that le Carré might even be the greatest English
"06.09.2016 17:01:32" lrb.co.uk Uri Avnery: Israel's Impending Civil War Israel keeps up the conflict, because it needs it for its very existence. Only the sense of unity created by the conflict can prevent a civil war. A lot of Israelis have begun to talk of 'two Jewish societies' in Israel; some even talk about 'two Jewish peoples'. What holds them together? The conflict. The occupation. The perpetual state of war.
"06.09.2016 11:39:41" lrb.co.uk Naomi Klein · Let Them Drown We rarely make the connection between the guns that take black lives on the streets of US cities and in police custody and the much larger forces that annihilate so many black lives on arid land and in precarious boats around the world. 'A culture that places so little value on black and brown lives that it is willing to let human beings disappear beneath the waves, or set themselves on fire in detention centres, will also be willing to let the countries where black and brown people live
"06.09.2016 08:41:00" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: The Spirit of Charlemagne The EU's close historical avatar, the Holy Roman Empire, aspired to an imperium that, if not wholly Roman, remained as firmly of this world as papal power itself. 'It was not so much that currency union failed because there was no political union: it was engineered to fail, in order that there be political union' – Glen Newey on the EU and the spirit of Charlemagne, from the LRB blog.
"05.09.2016 17:02:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jonathan Meades · Short Cuts The recondite wheezes, dystopian prophecies, soft-brained schemes and social essays Douglas Murphy scrutinises in Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture (Verso, £20) mostly led nowhere and spawned no progeny. Concorde was seen in the sky over West London for the first time in late June 1969. Less than a month later Neil Armstrong stepped from Apollo 11 onto the moon. The future had arrived. It was tangible, it was thrilling, it was now. We came to believe that
"05.09.2016 11:14:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · Amit Chaudhuri · Why Calcutta? Hitchens's contention is that Mother Teresa's ambitions aren't material at all, in the ordinary sense of that term; her aim is to establish a cult of austerity and suffering. 'The Missionary Position' – Amit Chaudhuri on Christopher Hitchens on Mother Teresa, from the #LRBarchive.
"05.09.2016 09:59:06" Audm The best longform stories, read aloud.
Download for iOS: https://goo.gl/a7m7mB
"04.09.2016 14:39:24" lrb.co.uk LRB · E.S. Turner · Gilded Drainpipes There was no point in being filthily rich unless one could put a distance between oneself and the poor. Even inferior tradesmen had to be kept at bay. The Great Fire of London led to an outflow of the dingier homeless from the City westward. After the Great Fire of London, what happened next to the London rich? #LRBarchive
"04.09.2016 09:26:30" lrb.co.uk David Runciman · Untouchable? The new Conservative government appears impregnable, for the simple reason that the main party of opposition looks incapable of replacing it, yet no one else seems capable of replacing Labour as the main party of opposition. 'We are in the paradoxical situation of seeing a weak and embattled government behaving as though it were untouchable' – David Runciman on Theresa May, from the new issue.
"03.09.2016 13:47:40" lrb.co.uk Adam Shatz: At Lincoln Center The Third Stream, a synthesis of classical music and jazz, was first dreamed up by the French horn player and composer Gunther Schuller, in a 1957 lecture at Brandeis University. The walls that once divided the worlds of classical music and jazz, of art music and popular music, crumbled long ago.
"03.09.2016 10:04:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Emily Witt · Deity with Fairy Wings Early on in Emma Cline's novel The Girls, the sound of intruders wakens a middle-aged woman sleeping alone in a borrowed house. The woman is Evie Boyd, who survived a summer hanging around a Manson-like cult in 1969. 'The author of The Girls, Emma Cline, is the same generation as Lena Dunham, the creator of Girls, and reading The Girls, as when I have watched Girls, I felt pained by the theory of girlhood they propose' – Emily Witt on girlhood, from the new issue.
"02.09.2016 12:37:59" lrb.co.uk Kathleen McCaul Moura: After the Olympics An estimated 77,000 people lost their homes because of the Olympics, the largest forced displacement of Rio's urban population in decades. Athletes are now arriving in Rio for the start of the Paralympic Games next week. The predictions of unfinished stadiums, Zika outbreaks and rampaging crime at the Olympics last month proved largely unfounded. Brazil won more medals than ever before, with
"02.09.2016 08:54:22" lrb.co.uk LRB · Steven Rose · How to Get Another Thorax Epigenetics seeks to explain how, starting from an identical set of genes, the contingencies of development can lead to different outcomes. 'Sometimes, science fiction proves a better judge of future possibility than established science fact' – Steven Rose on epigenetics, from the new issue.
"01.09.2016 12:13:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · T.J. Clark · Frank Auerbach's London I remember the first time I saw, or looked repeatedly at, a painting by Frank Auerbach was in the art historian Michael Podro's living room – it must have been in 1968. 'Slowly, and not as a result of an act of judgment (or not one I was aware of), the painting took hold of me. I still didn't dare, or didn't bother, to ask who had done it. It took hold of me, and I began to see not just that it wasn't an inconsequential
"01.09.2016 08:39:49" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Eagleton · Jack in the Belfry The line between eccentricity and insanity in the English aristocracy has always been hard to draw, and perhaps never more so than in the case of John Charles Wallop, third Earl of Portsmouth. 'The Earl of Portsmouth liked his manservant to rap the pig-tail of his wig against his neck like a knocker, shouting: “Is anybody at home?” It was a pertinent inquiry.'
Terry Eagleton on the mad king of Hampshire, from the new issue. Artwork from our 3
"31.08.2016 17:35:48" Timeline Photos If you want to enter our #readeverywhere competition or take advantage of our joint subscription deal with The Paris Review, time is running out. Our deadline is midnight tonight: lrb.me/tpr16
"31.08.2016 16:30:41" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Bernstein: Trump in Aspen Ivana, a much better skier, easily caught up with him. She skied backwards in front of him while she explained her point of view. Donald Trump does not own any property in Aspen, but he has left a trail. In 1989, around Christmas, he showed up with his wife Ivana, closely followed by his mistress Marla Maples. The three met up in a mountain restaurant named Bonnie's. You get there
"31.08.2016 12:27:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Nagel · By Any Means or None Terrorists, it seems, are at least as attached to their means as to their professed ends, and to those for whom killing is an end in itself, there is not much to say by way of rational counterargument. 'When I am hit with news of yet another terrorist attack, I often wonder what these people hope to achieve' – our new issue is now online, featuring Thomas Nagel on whether terrorism works, Terry Eagleton on the mad king of Hampshire, Emily Witt on Emma
"30.08.2016 17:40:31" Timeline Photos If pioneering electronic musician and sound artist Matthew Herbert was able to find the time to enter our #readeverwhere competition while DJing at Summer Sonic Japan, why haven't you yet? Tomorrow's your last chance! lrb.me/fq0
"30.08.2016 12:10:52" lrb.co.uk Geoff Roberts: German Lessons First they had to learn the Latin alphabet, and many struggled with writing from left to right. Now most of them can understand a letter from the local authority. I started teaching a German language course in a small town near Frankfurt in February, taking over a class of 12 adult students who had been meeting for three hours a day, four times a week, for two years. Four came to Germany from Afghanistan, three
"30.08.2016 09:59:29" ssl.drgnetwork.com Two Great Reviews, One Low Price Tomorrow is your last chance to subscribe to the LRB and The Paris Review for one low price, anywhere in the world.
"29.08.2016 16:44:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Emily Witt · Diary: Burning Man There were too many LEDs now, too many caravans, too many generators, tech executives, and too much electronic dance music. There were TED talks. There were technolibertarians. You couldn't see the stars. 'I wanted to go to Burning Man because I saw the huge festival in the Nevada desert as the epicentre of the three things that most interested me in 2013: sexual experimentation, psychedelic drugs and futurism.'
Emily Witt's Diary from the Black Rock
"29.08.2016 10:40:41" Timeline Photos The LRB has a vacancy for an editorial intern starting in the autumn. Duties are various and not glamorous. They include fetching and carrying, answering the phone, opening the post and fact-checking. The fact-checking is particularly important. The job
"28.08.2016 15:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Simpson · Because He's Worth It Another of the novel's legacies was said to be a fashion for suicide among the young, who took Werther as a model for action against a corrupt and unfeeling world. 'There were Werther-themed prints, figurines, jewellery, perfume, fans, crockery and men's clothing' – David Simpson on Goethe's most famous novel, on its author's birthday, from the #LRBarchive.
"28.08.2016 10:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alan Bennett · Where was I in 1987? 2 September. Evidence of madness: a woman entering Marks and Spencer's and saying brightly: 'Good morning!' 'Tony Harrison was conceived in Blackpool in August 1935. Harrison comes from Leeds, as I do, and August Bank Holiday at the seaside was when I was conceived. So, too, was my brother: three years older than me, he has the same May birthday. With us it was
"27.08.2016 16:57:48" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Runciman · What if he'd made it earlier? Lyndon Johnson always believed he would be president. As a boy in Texas, growing up in poor and sometimes desperate circumstances, he told anyone who would listen that he was headed for the White House. 'His destiny was to be a deeply disappointed man, until Lee Harvey Oswald intervened to redeem him' – David Runciman on the dark side of LBJ, born on this day in 1908, from the #LRBarchive.
"27.08.2016 13:52:36" Timeline Photos Perhaps Instagramming LRB reader @christoshad was reading Iain Sinclair's 2015 Diary from 'the London Bridge intervention known as the Shard', when he entered our #readeverywhere competition with the @parisreview, which closes at the end of August (not
"27.08.2016 10:10:53" lrb.co.uk August Kleinzahler: The Van Gelder Sound The Van Gelder sound is synonymous with high-end jazz recording. When you're listening to jazz in, I would argue, its greatest and most significant incarnation, a folk-based, body-based chamber music recorded during the 1950s – Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane et al – it was probably recorded by Rudy Van
"26.08.2016 12:25:45" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Simpson · The Kid Who Talked Too Much and Became President How does one respond to the endless lists, mentions and grateful one-liners? 'Good politics in the cause of bad policies' – David Simpson on Bill Clinton's Welfare Reform Act, signed into law #otd 20 years ago.
"26.08.2016 10:20:38" lrb.co.uk James Morris: By the Black Sea In winter, the Black Sea earns its name. The waters churn and it's easy to imagine how the Evangelia ran aground in October 1968, leaving its rusting carcass to become a tourist attraction off the Romanian coastline. 'A vivacious young girl flirting with Western ideas' – James Morris on the Communist-era Black Sea resorts of Romania, from the LRB blog.
"25.08.2016 18:11:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Meek · In fonder times, the tsar scalded and stabbed to death a prince 'Even as a boy, he liked to throw animals from high places in the family fortifications and watch them break on the ground' – James Meek on Ivan the Terrible, on this his birthday, from the #LRBarchive.
"25.08.2016 15:53:26" Timeline Photos And other recent letters to the Editor: lrb.me/pg0
"25.08.2016 10:28:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ferdinand Mount · Lachrymatics: British Weeping To weep or not to weep: that has always been a question, repeatedly posing itself, and never answered to everyone's satisfaction. 'The trend is now firmly set. If the producer knows her stuff, tears will flow every time a contestant reaches a The Great British Bake Off semi-final with her jam sponge or a celebrity discovers that his great-great-grandfather was brought up in the
"25.08.2016 00:16:18" lrb.co.uk Musab Younis: Racism, Pure and Simple Four armed police officers approached a Muslim woman on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice yesterday and demanded she remove some of her clothes. According to some news reports she was wearing a 'burkini', but she was in fact dressed in leggings, a tunic 'Where are the white feminists, in France and beyond, who are normally so militant about bodily autonomy?'
"23.08.2016 15:00:52" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Diski · Stinking Rich: Richard Branson I find myself nostalgic for the time, long ago, when one thing the very rich and very famous could be relied on to do was shut up. Paul Getty, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Grace of Monaco wrapped their money around themselves in the form of There was a time when we knew that people who made a great deal of money were not likely to have other people's best interests as their prime motive. In spite of decades of universal education we seem to have gone soft in the head. #LRBarchive
"22.08.2016 19:59:22" lrb.co.uk Alex Abramovich: Dixie Fried Jim Dickinson – whose 1972 record Dixie Fried is about to be rereleased – grew up in Tennessee but I met him, fifteen years ago, in North Mississippi, in the double-wide trailer he lived in at his Zebra Ranch recording studio. He'd played with just about Jim Dickinson was the embodiment of Memphis music, which is still very much alive, if you care to go looking for it.
"22.08.2016 09:46:48" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen · Psychotropicana We all know how it happens. One day, without warning, you feel oddly removed from things and people, as if an invisible wall of glass were separating you from them. They go about their business but, for a reason that escapes you, none of it any longer The distress of depressives is in every way real; but this reality is not hard-wired in their genes or neurotransmitters. In that sense, it is not a fate; change the medication and the therapy, and we would have a new illness. #LRBarchive
"21.08.2016 21:28:56" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Turner · Thanks for being called Dick Chris Kraus, a 39-year-old experimental film maker, and Sylvère Lotringer, a 56-year-old college professor from New York, have dinner with Dick ____, a friendly acquaintance of Sylvère's, at a sushi bar in Pasadena. Dick is an English cultural critic One nice thing about the 21st century so far is watching feminine abjection get funnier and funnier, in 'Girls' and 'Bridesmaids' and so on: a world in which you can make comic gold from sex with a stringy sous-chef in a metal pipe has the makings of
"20.08.2016 16:32:42" lrb.co.uk Audio & Video Podcasts · LRB Listen to free LRB podcasts: John Lanchester, Andrew O'Hagan, Mary-Kay Wilmers, Sarah Howe, Gavin Francis, Colm Tóibín, Naomi Klein, James Meek, Julian Barnes, James Wood, Mark Ford, Jacqueline Rose ...
"20.08.2016 08:15:47" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies One of the remarkable things about Alain Resnais's film Muriel (1963), now released on Blu-Ray and DVD in a new print by Criterion, is that it doesn't grow on you. It's just as strange on a second or third viewing as on the first, and part of the reason 'It's all pretty, that's why it feels so desolate.' Michael Wood rewatches 'Muriel':
"19.08.2016 13:24:22" lrb.co.uk LRB blog The Blog of the London Review of Books On the LRB blog: Doris Lessing's library, involuntary euthanasia, doping, Deliveroo, Pope's Grotto, Erdoğan's Voices, The Stern Review, 'City of God'
"19.08.2016 10:06:55" lrb.co.uk LRB · Paul Taylor · The Concept of 'Cat Face': Machine Learning Over the course of a week in March, Lee Sedol, the world's best player of Go, played a series of five games against a computer program. The series, which the program AlphaGo won 4-1, took place in Seoul, while tens of millions watched live on internet The conventional way of writing, say, a chess program has been to identify and encode the principles underpinning sound play. That isn't the way DeepMind's software works. DQN doesn't know how to repel an invasion. It doesn't know that the electronic
"19.08.2016 06:14:31" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk Events London's best independent bookshop Coming to speak at the London Review Bookshop: Ali Smith, Mark Greif, Laurie Penny, Joanna Kavenna, Benjamin Markovits, Anakana Schofield, Theo Tait, Roger Hardy, Jonathan Steele, Robin Lustig. Anthony Gottlieb, Julian Baggini, Ece Temelkuran, Kaya Genç,
"18.08.2016 10:58:27" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Lanchester · Short Cuts: Caster Semenya Sports administration is one of those jobs which have built into them the fact that they attract attention only when things go wrong. A school sports day takes quite a bit of organising; anything bigger, and the complications grow exponentially. Events At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, every single female athlete except Princess Anne was subjected to a sex test which involved nothing more complicated than a grope. If the test was too demeaning for Princess Anne, it should have been too demeaning, full
"18.08.2016 09:55:41" lrb.co.uk Percy Zvomuya: Doris Lessing and Zimbabwe A few months ago Harare City Library unveiled the Doris Lessing Special Collection, 3500 of the writer's books donated to the library after her death. Lessing lived in Southern Rhodesia between 1925 (when she was six) and 1949. Harare City Library is in A few months ago Harare City Library unveiled the Doris Lessing Special Collection, 3500 of the writer's books donated to the library after her death. Like most infrastructure inherited from minority rule, the library had been left to rot.
"17.08.2016 17:02:18" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mark Ford · Sorrows of a Polygamist o much in the life and work of Ted Hughes was weird and transgressive that even now, 18 years after his death, it is hard to feel confident that his actions and beliefs and literary achievement can be judiciously and authoritatively assessed. 'Ted Hughes measuring up a putt … it's like trying to imagine Heathcliff playing tiddlywinks' – Mark Ford on Jonathan Bate's biography of Hughes, born #otd in 1930, from earlier this year.
"17.08.2016 10:05:28" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michel Lechat · Diary To tell the truth, I was not keen to have such a visitor. In spite of Yonda's relative remoteness, it was on its way to becoming if not a tourist attraction, at least a showpiece. 'It would be nice to say that Graham Greene just appeared one day in Yonda, the leprosy settlement in the Equateur Province of the then Belgian Congo where I was the doctor, stepping off the gangway of the bishop's riverboat as Querry does in A Burnt-Out
"16.08.2016 16:27:22" lrb.co.uk Amia Srinivasan: The Distinction between an Argument and Its Likely Effects Uematsu didn't cite Peter Singer, but their reasoning isn't totally dissimilar. No one seriously thinks that Peter Singer endorses what Satoshi Uematsu did, at the very least because Singer rejects involuntary euthanasia for disabled people who are capable of consent. The question is whether Singer's utilitarian treatment of
"16.08.2016 11:30:56" lrb.co.uk LRB · Yoram Gorlizki · Stalin's Gang We were 'milk-drinkers' by comparison, Vyacheslav Molotov, for many years Stalin's deputy, said of Stalin's inner circle. 'Not one man after Lenin … did even a tenth of what Stalin did.' 'If the man was all-powerful, why did he convene a “ruling group” that could, conceivably, have ganged up on him?' – Yoram Gorlizki on Stalin's inner circle, from the latest issue.
"15.08.2016 17:37:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · Neal Ascherson · Diary Adaptation is not surrender, but overcoming, as the survival of the Inuits through continuous climate changes has shown. And it's important not to identify the 'fate of the earth' with the crisis facing our particular species. 'From that ridge at Ilulissat, you are looking directly into one of the engine-rooms of the world' – Neal Ascherson in Greenland, one of 100 Diaries we've plotted on an interactive map for summer holiday browsing: http://www.lrb.co.uk/archive/100-diaries
"15.08.2016 11:38:00" lrb.co.uk One Hundred Diaries · LRB Around the world in the LRB Archive, from an Eskimo village in Alaska to a lighthouse on Tasmania. To celebrate the global breadth of the LRB Diary page, at a time of year when many readers are seeing new parts of the world for the first time, we've plotted 100 Diaries on an interactive map, for de-paywalled summer holiday browsing. Featured
"15.08.2016 08:50:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Patterson · At the Fitzwilliam The Fitzwilliam Museum is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year with a series of exhibitions and activities designed to illustrate different aspects of the collection, which since its foundation in 1816 has been wonderfully various. 'The foundation of the museum in 1816 coincided with the “year of no summer”. The eruption of Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies brought predictions of the end of the world, widespread famine, crop disruption and civil unrest to Europe, dramatic
"14.08.2016 17:07:29" Timeline Photos By capturing her interaction with an IRL koala bear in a photograph that she's then shared via digital channels, LRB reader Christine Hanson's #readeverywhere entry recalls Sherry Turkle's exploration of the Tamagotchi phenomenon in a Diary piece from
"14.08.2016 13:10:43" lrb.co.uk LRB · Katherine Rundell · Ferrets can be gods It's a world, like that of Oscar Wilde or P.G. Wodehouse, of silk curtains and silver tea sets, though Saki's is populated not only with tyrannical aunts and obtuse majors, but also with tigers and woodland gods. 'To read a Saki story is to hire an assassin. There have been many attempts in the last hundred years to re-create that specific Saki feeling; the pleasures of laying waste to convention combined with the quickening promise of something wilder in its
"14.08.2016 09:06:40" lrb.co.uk Jon Day: The Deliveroo Strike Wearing smart uniforms and carrying enormous insulated rucksacks, most of the Deliveroo riders I've seen don't look much like the typical London bike messenger. Many of them appear to be everyday cyclists. This week Deliveroo announced what it is calling a 'trial' change to its riders' contracts, which would see them paid £3.75 per job, with no hourly rate. The riders I spoke to thought it was unlikely they'd ever average more than two jobs per hour. With
"13.08.2016 16:53:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Galen Strawson · Is R2-D2 a person? What does it take for a person in 2015 to be the same person as she was in 1995 and will be in 2035? This is the question of personal identity, a question about persistence through time, or 'diachronic' identity. On R2-D2, and other droids.
"13.08.2016 13:30:00" lrb.co.uk But will we want to stay? On the day of the EU referendum, a British Remain campaigner told me: 'I'm very glad you're here.' I know she meant well, but her words felt exclusionary as well as inclusive – I may be welcome, but I'm still foreign. 'The UK would be lucky to be a home to well-educated EU citizens like me, but if I feel unwelcome here, uncertain about my future and think that I may be able to get a more rewarding job elsewhere, it is the UK's loss not mine if I move.'
"13.08.2016 09:58:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Burrow · I am a severed head The word 'parodiability' is not in the OED, but it is a significant literary attribute. Iris Murdoch certainly had it. 'Sometimes her novels read as though a French farce were being redescribed by Sartre. Sometimes Hugo (as it were) pitches up for no apparent reason other than to tell the protagonist he needs to sort out his karma, and everyone suddenly falls in love. At
"12.08.2016 17:19:41" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk Alchemy: Kavenna, Markovits, Schofield and Tait | Events The competing claims of fiction and reality have provided, of late, one of the most heated and productive literary debates. Four LRB contributors for the price of one at the London Review Bookshop on 31 August: Joanna Kavenna, Benjamin Markovits, Anakana Schofield and Theo Tait on truth, lies and fiction.
"12.08.2016 11:52:23" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Craig · Fox and Crow These great uprisings of nature, beyond the cities and the villages, cleft by roads, quarried and mined, burned over to nourish grouse for the guns, fenced off by missile-tracking stations, pounded by military shells. 'What do moors sound like? Like a universe of bees, whose unison is only a few notes higher than the singing of our own bloodstream, which we half-hear, half-sense during the small hours between sleeps. What do they smell like? Like honey, steeping the
"12.08.2016 08:30:05" lrb.co.uk LRB · Brian Dillon · At the Foundling Museum The best things in Found are the least keen to ape the melancholy of the museum's collection of tokens, or to invoke too easily the spectres of lost children and absent parents. 'A laconic reminder that one collector's treasure is another's trash, that a deadpan readymade may trump self-conscious curiosities' – Brian Dillon on 'Found' at The Foundling Museum, from the latest issue.
"11.08.2016 17:22:54" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nicholas Penny · The Hooks of her Gipsy Dresses She 'suddenly saw that Picasso's life was not just the life of one of the most gifted artists who ever lived ... it was in a very real sense, the 20th century's own autobiography.' 'Her naive or dishonest use of sources is as deplorable as her sententiousness is tedious and her pretentions to omniscience are impertinent' – Nicholas Penny on Arianna Huffington's book about Picasso, from the #LRBarchive.
"11.08.2016 11:53:26" lrb.co.uk LRB · Diarmaid MacCulloch · The World Took Sides What effect did the memory of the unique papal origins of his Order have on Luther, as he faced the shock of the pope in his own time first ordering him to silence, and then declaring him excommunicate by papal bull in 1520? Was Martin Luther a monk or a friar?
"11.08.2016 08:36:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Penelope Fitzgerald · Human Boys The True Confessions never quite find their direction. Gone, of course, are the days when Mole dreamed of being an intellectual road-sweeper who would amaze the litter-louts by quoting Kafka. 'The Diary and the Growing Pains are catalogued by the publishers under Teens and Humour, but their genre is really that of the ironic-innocent child's confession' – Penelope Fitzgerald on Adrian Mole, from the #LRBarchive.
"10.08.2016 17:22:01" lrb.co.uk Kathleen McCaul Moura: City of God The interim president of Brazil, Michel Temer, didn't win the bid to host the Olympic games in Rio or organise the event. But he could regard the opening ceremony as a personal triumph. 'Despite the corrupt, decrepit white men that have stolen the government there is this flower, Rafaela, a woman, black and gay, from the famous City of God favela,' Mariano Marovatto said. 'The City of God is no longer Fernando Meirelles's business – it's
"10.08.2016 11:35:22" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies The characters wear fur-coats, silk scarves; they seem constantly on some sort of bourgeois parade – well, their hair gets ruffled when they are really upset – but almost nothing in their lives corresponds to this orderly image One of the remarkable things about Alain Resnais's film 'Muriel' (1963), now released on Blu-Ray and DVD in a new print by The Criterion Collection, is that it doesn't grow on you.
"10.08.2016 09:24:58" lrb.co.uk LRB · Neal Ascherson · Victory in Defeat All that can be said is that when the unimaginable climate of revolution returns, as in some shape it will, young men and women will read and understand Trotsky as we no longer can. 'He was a whirlwind organiser who could bring any chaos to order, a terrific orator who could swell the hearts of thousands, a literary intellectual whose writings on culture, history, political philosophy and military tactics are still fresh and
"09.08.2016 17:15:10" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Runciman · Creative Accounting Instead of expecting the state-subsidised arts to compete in some idealised marketplace, it is better to ask how the state can use its monopolies to help to create markets for the arts that actually make sense. 'The Royal Academy of Music was plunged into financial crisis almost from the moment of its inception in 1719 by the extravagant demands of Europe's best opera singers. These crises were not lessened by the exorbitant amounts people were prepared to pay
"09.08.2016 11:49:27" lrb.co.uk David Bromwich: These Sudden Mobs I've been thinking about some lines of a poem by Wallace Stevens called 'Sad Strains of a Gay Waltz'. 'Mobs are an alarm. They are telling you something has gone wrong in the system; something was wrong before you saw the proof. Your inventions and interconnections, your techniques and reassurances – none of them were the success you always supposed. They
"09.08.2016 08:31:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jon Day · Short Cuts There was something unnerving about them, with their serpentine bodies, their deep-set eyes and the ruinous slime they'd ooze over your tackle as you unhooked them. The day after Brexit, in need of distraction, I joined nine other volunteers at a pub on the bank of the River Lea in East London to count eels.
"08.08.2016 17:18:52" lrb.co.uk Sex, pigeons and vengeful massage therapists The Dutch cyclist Adri van der Poel tested positive for a banned substance in 1983. He blamed the racing pigeons his father-in-law had put in a pie. 'The most outlandish excuse of all may have been the one made by the American cyclist Tyler Hamilton. In 2005, accused of receiving a forbidden blood transfusion, Hamilton said that the foreign blood in his system came from a “vanishing twin” who had died
"08.08.2016 13:36:57" Timeline Photos To Vilnius, where LRB reader Eglė Kačkutė has gone above and beyond in her pursuit of the #readeverywhere crown, positioning herself in the slobbery centre of the alleged Trump-Putin axis/bromance. Christian Lorentzen wrote about this locus of paranoia at
"08.08.2016 11:05:47" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Meek · Trains in Space 'To enter the railways as a passenger is to hope for a fast, comfortable journey, helped by staff who aren't oppressed or haughty, leaving and arriving when promised, and not feeling ripped off, either through your ticket or your tax bill' – James Meek on
"07.08.2016 17:35:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Hugh Pennington · Biting Habits To understand Zika's past, present and future, compare it with yellow fever, one of the great plagues of the past. It was fear of yellow fever that drove politicians and charities to action. How strong is the evidence that the mothers of babies with microcephaly have been infected with the Zika virus? Do all the microcephaly cases have similar brain abnormalities? When during gestation did they develop? Can the Zika virus be isolated from
"07.08.2016 13:15:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Susan Sontag · Dancer and the Dance The dancer's performance smile is not so much a smile as simply a categorical denial of what he or she is actually experiencing – for there is some discomfort, and often pain, in every major stint of performing. 'It is often said that dance is the creation of illusion: for example, the illusion of a weightless body. (This might be thought of as the furthest extension of a phantasm of a body without fatigue.) But it would be more accurate to call it the staging of
"07.08.2016 09:45:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mary-Kay Wilmers · Subjective Correlative I saw him one evening standing at the top of the stairs holding hands with Valerie. How could someone so old and so grand allow himself to be seen in public holding hands with his wife? 'Once, early on, I pointed out a discrepancy between two printings of one of his early poems – I can't remember which. I was quite proud of myself. He said it didn't matter.'
Mary-Kay Wilmers on working for T.S. Eliot, from the new issue.
"06.08.2016 17:05:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Anne Diebel · Magical Orange Grove Robert Lowell in Love examines Lowell's three marriages and nine of his affairs. Jeffrey Meyers criticises Lowell's selfishness and cruelty towards these women, but maintains that they suffered for a noble cause – poetry! When Robert Lowell was mad he fell in love. Auden noted the warning signals: 'a) he announces that he is the only living poet b) a romantic and usually platonic attraction to a young girl and c) he gives a huge party.'
"06.08.2016 14:44:00" Timeline Photos Wild Flowers by Charles Simic, from 2010. Read the other 76 poems by Simic in the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/2a0
"06.08.2016 08:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Russell Davies · Coe and Ovett & Co As Coe is fond of remarking, records are only borrowed. There are whole populations, as yet unreleased onto the happy freedom of the all-weather surface, just waiting to shunt him and his rival into the Hall of Fame. 'The definitive loser in all this is the traditional idea of The Race – rare, shambolic, surprising, and utterly exhausting.'
Russell Davies on Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett, from the #LRBarchive.
"05.08.2016 15:04:51" lrb.co.uk LRB · Benjamin Markovits · Success The British are winning again, and they've had to come to terms with this fact. Tim Adams in the Observer called it a 'national conversion from doubt to faith'. It's striking how many of Britain's recent sporting successes have been managed or directed or narrated by people with a background in business or an interest in business think' – Benjamin Markovits on what it takes to win at sport, from the #LRBarchive.
"05.08.2016 12:14:04" lrb.co.uk Perry Anderson · Crisis in Brazil The BRIC countries are in trouble. Nowhere have economic and political crises fused so explosively as in Brazil, whose streets have in the past year seen more protesters than the rest of the world combined. 'How had it come to this?' Perry Anderson on Brazil, from earlier this year.
"05.08.2016 09:27:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tom Crewe · We Are Many 'The story of this new campaign is of a Labour leadership joining hands with its supporters in order to crush its own parliamentary party' – Tom Crewe goes among the Corbyn supporters, from the new issue.
"04.08.2016 16:54:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Diski · Don't Die All that glisters isn't gold. But then it never was. It isn't that those shiny bits on the Gucci bag were once really made of precious metal but are now made of plastic gilt in order to get them out to the masses. 'A very fine website called Handbags of Horror matches designer bags with horror movie creatures' – Jenny Diski on the luxury industry, on the 195th anniversary of Louis Vuitton's birth.
"04.08.2016 11:37:03" lrb.co.uk Ayşe Zarakol: Turkey through the Looking Glass The immediate losers will be the remaining opposition groups: Kurds, leftists, feminists, liberals. None of these groups has ever commanded the broad sympathies of the Turkish public. 'Talking to Turks and non-Turks about the coup increasingly resembles travelling between parallel universe' – Ayşe Zarakol on Turkey through the looking glass, from the LRB blog.
"04.08.2016 08:45:33" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mark Ford · I gotta use words Eliot's mind was a vast, labyrinthine echo chamber, and perhaps more than any other canonical poet of the English language he was conscious of the previous uses by other writers of the words he deployed in his poems. 'What exactly is the difference between an interesting allusion or echo and a mere verbal coincidence?' – Mark Ford on T.S. Eliot, over-annotated, from the new issue.
"03.08.2016 16:50:00" lrb.co.uk Colm Tóibín · Among the Flutterers The power of the Church in Ireland has been fatally undermined. A number of reports into the abuse of children by members of the Catholic clergy have found that such abuse was widespread, at times endemic. 'There are very good reasons why homosexuals have been traditionally attracted to the priesthood. I know these reasons because I, as someone “confused about my sexuality”, had to confront and entertain the idea that I should join the priesthood. In 1971,
"03.08.2016 14:46:27" lrb.co.uk Brenna Bhandar: The Stern Review It is a rare moment when critics of exercises such as the Research Excellence Framework feel vindicated by a government-commissioned review. The REF has functioned to the disadvantage of women, Black and Minority Ethnic academics, and academics with disabilities; that it devalues interdisciplinary research; and that its narrow conception of 'impact' has been geared towards policy changes and
"03.08.2016 11:57:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Eliot Weinberger · 'It was everything' Donald Trump vowed that the 'convention in Cleveland will be amazing!' It will probably be the only campaign promise he ever fulfils, but indeed, as watched on television, it was amazing, unlike any other. 'Now it was the summer of Trump. It was the autumn of Trump. It was the Christmas of Trump. It was everything.'
Our new issue is now online, featuring Eliot Weinberger on Donald Trump's Republican Convention.
"02.08.2016 16:32:46" Stevie Smith's drawings Stevie Smith's drawings don't simply illustrate the poems, says Matthew Bevis: they suggest ways of thinking or saying that the poems themselves don't quite say. Read more: lrb.me/a60
"02.08.2016 11:25:42" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · Shakespeare's Vows 'There is a touch of Shylock in this,' John Kerrigan says of a moment in King Lear. There are touches of Shylock in many places outside The Merchant of Venice, and indeed outside Shakespeare altogether, but this one is of unusual interest. If in answer to your kind question about how I feel I say I'm all right, thanks, your response will depend on how well you know me, my tone of voice, your degree of attention and distraction, various surrounding conditions and histories and much else.
"02.08.2016 08:44:07" lrb.co.uk The Editors: Public Service Announcement A public service announcement from the organisers of this year's #readeverywhere photo contest.
"01.08.2016 17:46:44" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jeremy Harding · Call me Ahab The noises of the sperm whale are unlike the lyric hootings and musings of the humpback, whose 'songs' won him a place in the LP charts in the 1970s. 'If we had as much of Hamlet and Macbeth as Mr Melville gives us of Ahab, we should be tired even of their sublime company' – Jeremy Harding on Moby-Dick and Herman Melville, who was born #otd in 1819, from the #LRBarchive.
"01.08.2016 12:30:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · C.H. Sisson · Worthies No one really supposes that the industrialist, trade-union leader or academic who becomes a Life Peer is suddenly vested with feudal prestige, nor that a knight is authorised by his title to play the squire. 'The system is not wholly serious: thank God it is only one of the many ways in which people can be comforted by a little feeling of superiority. Think how terrible an infallible system would be, and how we should have to respect those decorated by
"01.08.2016 10:07:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Sheehan · Prussian Chic The Frederick who emerges from Tim Blanning's account is heroic and petty, tolerant and prejudiced, concerned about the welfare of his subjects but prepared to spill their blood and squander their wealth in the pursuit of glory. 'Flamboyantly dressed, physically delicate, fluent in French but awkward in German, drawn to unmanly pursuits like listening to music and reading books, he was everything his father despised' – James Sheehan on Frederick the Great, from the latest issue.
"31.07.2016 14:00:00" Stevie Smith: The poem is watching you 'Simplicity is something you arrive at, not something you settle for.' Matthew Bevis on Stevie Smith's poetry. Read more: http://bit.ly/2aAaDpq
"31.07.2016 10:37:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Katherine Arcement · Diary I became an addict when I was 14. But it wasn't drugs, or booze. I didn't drop out of school or run away from home; in fact I stayed in. When you are addicted to fan fiction, you don't need to leave the house to escape. 'I am not sure what I am looking for' – Katherine Arcement on Harry Potter fan fiction, from the #LRBarchive.
"30.07.2016 16:39:10" lrb.co.uk Sophie Cousins: In Durban The 21st International Aids Conference was in Durban last week. The last time it was held here, 16 years ago, Aids denialism in South Africa was rife, and people were dying on the front lawns of hospitals, unable to access treatment. Born in the late 1980s, I first learned about Aids when Princess Diana made headlines in 1991 by shaking hands with an Aids patient without wearing gloves. Where we are now would have been unthinkable then.
"30.07.2016 11:31:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mary Beard · The Public Voice of Women I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its first recorded example of a man telling a woman to 'shut up'; telling her that her voice was not to be heard in public. 'That's an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it' – Mary Beard on the public voice of women, from the #LRBarchive.
"29.07.2016 15:49:16" lrb.co.uk Kathleen McCaul Moura: On the 'Baghdad Bulletin' The first front cover featured smiling Iraqi children playing in a fountain; one of the last carried a grainy image of a deserted street, silhouettes of a US army patrol. 'What had seemed a dangerous but exciting job quickly became dark, violent, uncontrollable' – Kathleen McCaul Moura on working for Iraq's first postwar English language newspaper, from the LRB blog.
"29.07.2016 11:43:57" lrb.co.uk How We Happened to Sell Off Our Electricity Does it matter that the power Britain relies on to make the country glow and hum no longer belongs to Britain? After all, the lights still shine. The phones still charge. 'There's only one country that's stupid enough to sell off its electricity industry, and that's Britain' – James Meek on How We Happened to Sell Off Our Electricity, from the #LRBarchive.
"29.07.2016 08:51:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Mars-Jones · Chop and Burn The 'barkskins' of Annie Proulx's huge and hugely unsatisfying novel should by rights be trees – things that have bark for skin – but she attaches the word to people who are involved with trees in whatever capacity, destructive or protective. 'Loggers, ecologists, sawyers, sculptors, hotshots, planters, students, scientists, leaf eaters, photographers, practitioners of shinrin-yoku, land-sat interpreters, climatologists, wood butchers, picnickers, foresters, ring counters and the rest of us' –
"28.07.2016 18:12:54" Timeline Photos We present Joan Carruthers's #readeverywhere entry alongside a passage from David Bromwich's 2001 LRB essay about #Groucho Marx: lrb.me/360
'American television in the 1950s, most of all in the sitcoms and the prize-shows, offered itself as a
"28.07.2016 15:57:21" The Making of the LRB Follow an issue of the London Review of Books as it travels from our editorial floor to your front door.
"28.07.2016 11:26:42" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rosemary Hill · Bang, Bang, Smash, Smash Circumstances prolonged her childhood to the point where she could bring an adult's perception to bear on its experiences. It was this, perhaps, that enabled her to articulate the child's view of life so well. 'What an investment that rabbit has been' – Rosemary Hill on Beatrix Potter, 150 years young today.
"28.07.2016 10:05:17" lrb.co.uk Letters · LRB 28 July 2016 Also: Brexit, trans, relativity, Dante and the Historic Houses Association. 'Craig Wright tells Andrew O'Hagan that in Japanese satoshi means “ash”. In fact the Japanese word for “ash” is hai. “Satoshi” is a name given to a boy, signifying cleverness and quick wittedness.'
And other recent letters to the Editor.
"27.07.2016 19:49:57" lrb.co.uk Christian Lorentzen: In Philadelphia Bill Clinton was right, speaking on Tuesday night, that the choice was between something 'real' and something 'made up'. The trouble is that voters may prefer Trump's fictions to the real Hillary Clinton. At its most rabid, the Republican National Convention resembled a witch burning. The Democrats in Philadelphia, when they take aim at Donald Trump, do so in the form of a sanctimonious anti-bullying public service announcement.
"27.07.2016 17:31:28" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: England, Secede! One way round the legal problems posed by Brexit might be to mould it on the EU's current relationship with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. 'The urge to imperium begins at home' – Glen Newey on the case for England to secede from the UK to make Brexit work, from the LRB blog.
"27.07.2016 15:54:10" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Meek · Diary 'I am due to have lunch with Entisar, an Iraqi woman living in Kuwait I met when I was here a few weeks ago. She thinks I look like Tony Blair, which I do not, but she thinks it anyway. I drive to her flat, navigating by map and mobile. When I come in,
"27.07.2016 12:34:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alex Abramovich · Bustin' up the Chiffarobe The Sellout is Paul Beatty's best work, and the best novel I've read in ages, because its satire cuts so close to the moment that, after a while, it begins to look like straight reportage. 'The pure products of America go crazy, William Carlos Williams wrote, but he was only half right: America's crazy, and so sometimes its pure products go sane.'
Alex Abramovich reviewed 'The Sellout' by Paul Beatty, longlisted for the The Man Booker
"27.07.2016 08:35:15" lrb.co.uk John Horgan: Border Crossings The member of the constabulary charged with identifying doubtful characters on immigration reacted to this explanation in a way that combined imperviousness to irony with a thinly concealed suspicion of all things Irish. 'Seamus Heaney was once travelling from Belfast to Birmingham by air to give a poetry reading, and found himself required by an official to provide information, inter alia, about the purpose of his visit. One of Heaney's many attributes was a finely honed
"26.07.2016 17:06:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Sutherland · Was Ma Hump to blame? This biography aims to vindicate Huxley as a humane thinker and artist rather than the crypto-fascist, eugenicist, public-school snob, or (in later life) the 'fully fledged, fuzzy-brained California mystic' whom John Carey indicted. 'Huxley's last novel, Island (1962), is, as Frank Kermode has said, “one of the worst novels ever written”. Few have bothered to disagree.'
John Sutherland on Aldous Huxley, born #otd in 1894. Lots of birthdays today.
"26.07.2016 11:36:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Kerr · Madnesses It has taken the entire century to bring Freud to the judgment of history. Whatever shall we do about Jung? 'As the pieces of Jung's personality ruptured and split, he was able to observe his own dissolution with exquisite exactitude, and the observation itself became a kind of therapy. Jung survived his madness, built on it, and in the end prospered. He was
"26.07.2016 09:07:47" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · Quite a Night! Because he was obsessive without being crazy, many people have thought Kubrick was a genius, but the word is chiefly a gesture of admiring incomprehension. 'I can't say he's reasonable' – Michael Wood on Stanley Kubrick, born #otd in 1928.
"25.07.2016 17:34:40" lrb.co.uk Charles Turner: Erdoğan's Voices Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was once a semi-professional footballer. He can talk down to strangers and shout across at teammates. 'A cry of relief as order is restored, and exultation at the theocracy to come' – Charles Turner on Erdoğan's Voices, from the LRB blog.
"25.07.2016 11:35:25" lrb.co.uk Gillian Darley: The Destruction of Memory The fate of World Heritage Sites 'is not about just bricks and stones' but 'the way we see human civilisation developing'.
"25.07.2016 08:32:29" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Phillips · My Shirt-Front Starched 'Translating Proust's novel back into his life, and then the life back into the novel, has been an abiding temptation both for those who know it well and for those who don't' – Adam Phillips on Proust's megalomania, from the latest issue.
"24.07.2016 20:22:49" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · Lost in the rain Bolivar was born in Caracas, to wealthy aristocratic parents. He studied in Spain, fervently read Rousseau, witnessed Napoleon's coronation as Emperor. He liberated half Latin America from the Spanish and entered legend by the time he was 40. 'His name modulated into that of a country, but he dreamed of uniting an entire continent. At one point he was president not only of Bolivia but also of what are now Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. He has been the subject of much stilted painting,
"24.07.2016 16:17:42" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tom Vanderbilt · Summer Simmer 'Measured in terms of deaths and physical damage, there has been no more powerful natural force over the last few decades in the US than heatwaves. But despite its massive economic and human consequences, heat is under-represented in the catalogue of
"24.07.2016 12:25:54" Timeline Photos Facebook user, LRB reader and #readeverywhere entrant Michael Seifert has transposed, rather brilliantly, the question posed by our 'What have we done?' Brexit cover onto the site of part of the existing Mexico–United States barrier in Brownsville, Texas.
"24.07.2016 09:59:50" lrb.co.uk Emma Baines: If EU workers left the NHS… 'The NHS cannot survive without the tens of thousands of dedicated health staff from across the EU currently working here.' 'It now seems the NHS is as unlikely to benefit from restrictions on EU immigration to Britain as it is to receive an extra £350 million a week' – Emma Baines on the NHS, post-Brexit.
"23.07.2016 17:34:27" lrb.co.uk Amia Srinivasan: Trouble at Yale One of the original dining hall windows depicted Calhoun with a shackled black slave kneeling at his feet; after a student campaign in the 1990s the slave was replaced with plain glass, though the rest of the windows were left untouched. 'It's 2016, I shouldn't have to come to work and see things like that. I just said, “That thing's coming down today. I'm tired of it.”' Amia Srinivasan on Yale, labour relations and racist stained-glass windows, from the LRB blog.
"23.07.2016 13:00:01" Timeline Photos 'In A Sailor Taking Leave of His Girlfriend (1840), two figures hold parting hands while the distance between their bodies suggests the distance shortly to come about; but the high sun which casts their shadows onto the orangey wall behind transforms the
"23.07.2016 09:13:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christopher Tayler · Alain de Botton 'In Barbados some crèmes caramel provoke a serious row with his girlfriend, whom de Botton accuses of stealing the shapelier portion. This arouses “mutual terrors of incompatibility and infidelity” which even spoil his enjoyment of the beach: “there was
"22.07.2016 17:12:14" lrb.co.uk Christian Lorentzen: Cleveland, Day Four I told Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review I was heading to the Q after I'd read Trump's speech. 'I've read it,' he said. 'It's like the plot of Batman.' 'America is a disastrous hellhole teeming with criminal non-citizens who steal jobs when they aren't killing innocent young girls, but on 20 January 2017 it will transmogrify into a tranquil, terror and alien-free manufacturing dynamo, with assault rifles
"22.07.2016 13:07:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · Short Cuts People now talk about big drama serials the way they used to talk about classic novels. 'Oh, I missed that' is no longer an option. 'I can bring news of an unquestionable link between Joyce's great, many-peopled novel Ulysses and the recent ten-part TV series on the fall of O.J. Simpson.'
"22.07.2016 08:59:16" lrb.co.uk LRB · Kazuo Ishiguro · Uchi The British and the Japanese may not be particularly alike, but the two races are exceedingly comparable. The British must actually believe this, for why else would they be displaying such a curious desperation to deny it? 'There is a tendency to assume that anything non-European about Japanese culture must be uniquely Japanese' – Kazuo Ishiguro on the British and the Japanese, from the #LRBarchive.
"21.07.2016 17:09:31" lrb.co.uk Christian Lorentzen: Cleveland, Day Three It's strange to be in a bar where the coolest guy is Newt Gingrich. As for Pence, his eyebrows are much darker than the grey hair on his head, and the eyebrows clench when he talks about 'the Clinton machine', assume a somewhat looser formation when he asserts that he and Trump will defeat that machine, and splay halfway
"21.07.2016 14:39:21" lrb.co.uk Omar Robert Hamilton: Sisi's New Prisons The Egyptian state can afford its policy of mass incarceration in part because it doesn't feed its inmates. Every person in prison needs a supply line on the outside. No one knows how many political prisoners there are in Egypt. The human rights advocate Gamal Eid estimates there are 60,000. Arrests are not stopping and overcrowding is lethal. Last year 137 people died in prison.
"21.07.2016 11:38:29" Timeline Photos 'Sheep,' wrote W.R. Mead in the LRB in 1984, 'can only command increasing attention – and respect.' We enjoyed Instagram user and @parisreview reader @adamgnade's illustration of this undeniable fact in @pioneerspress's #readeverywhere entry, which we
"21.07.2016 08:26:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · Carolyn Steedman · On Respectability 'If you attend school on a council estate, having come from a council estate, you get a council-estate education … survive five years in a school on a council estate and you get a medal from the Nietzsche Society.' 'That's what being-middle-class-in-the-world is about. Darkness is managed or hidden.' Carolyn Steedman on Lynsey Hanley on the experience of class, from the new issue.
"20.07.2016 19:30:01" lrb.co.uk Christian Lorentzen: Cleveland, Day Two Paul Ryan put a happy spin on his months of criticising Trump: 'Have we had our arguments this year? You know what I call those? Signs of life!' 'The message was muddled by a tendency to devolve into all-purpose Clinton-bashing. There were three types of it on display: Clinton as pampered plutocrat who lives by other rules than the ones that apply to real Americans; Clinton as geopolitical
"20.07.2016 17:25:21" What is a weekend? 'What is a weekend?' Rosemary Hill on why the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey's question is a reasonable one. Read more: lrb.me/w20
"20.07.2016 12:14:33" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Lanchester · Brexit Blues If I had to pick one sentence I've heard more than any other in the last six years of conversation about economics, it would be 'Why aren't people more angry?' The Brexit vote showed that plenty of them are. 'If I had to pick a single fact which has played no role in political discourse but which sums up the current position of the UK, it would be that most people in the UK receive more from the state, in direct cash transfers and in benefits such as health
"20.07.2016 08:39:10" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Phillips · Stag at Bay 'Tourists could hire boats and telescopes to get a glimpse of him in his villa' – Adam Phillips on Byron, Shelley, Switzerland and the summer of 1816, from the #LRBarchive.
"19.07.2016 17:20:01" Timeline Photos Begin the process of getting over Brexit with a limited edition print of the cover from our 14 July issue, which contained responses to the referendum. Readers around the world have drawn comfort from Anne Rothenstein's depiction of – denial? Depression?
"19.07.2016 15:38:16" lrb.co.uk Christian Lorentzen: At the Republican National Convention The crowd entered a blissful state of rage. The evening's true psychotic was Rudolph Giuliani, who in a flurry of not un-Mussolini-like gesticulations managed to restrain himself from touting his presence in Manhattan on 9/11 and reverted to a hallmark of an earlier phase of his career: a healthy
"19.07.2016 11:33:48" Timeline Photos 'Susan Hiller's Dedicated to the Unknown Artists (1972-76) collects a total of 305 old-time postcards, many gloriously hand-tinted, all showing outsized waves breaking wildly against sea walls all over Britain – schematic maps show us where. It's a
"19.07.2016 10:07:23" Timeline Photos 'The Heatwave' by John Burnside. Read the other 67 poems by Burnside in the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/9j0
"18.07.2016 19:18:46" lrb.co.uk Fredrick Harris: America's Red Summer Many Americans, who believe that 'all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights' and see those rights unequally distributed, continue to weep despite recognitions of progress. On 8 July, I took my nine-year-old son on a planned trip to the National Civil Rights Museum. We saw flashes of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech and listened to the familiar lines of 'let freedom ring' and the unfamiliar ones that were more
"18.07.2016 12:24:55" lrb.co.uk Peter Geoghegan: Eleventh Night The Orange Order, often out of touch and politically maladroit, is no longer the force it was. Membership has declined. But the Twelfth retains a distinct symbolic power. 'Success is still measured by the absence of violence as opposed to creating positive outcomes. Our benchmark is pretty low.'
"18.07.2016 08:26:27" lrb.co.uk LRB · Gavin Francis · Diary A detective inspector once told me that the key thing to remember at a crime scene was to keep your hands in your pockets; the temptation to reach out and touch a murder victim, or a potential murder weapon, could be overwhelming. 'I only wear a mask when there are maggots' – Gavin Francis, at the morgue, from the latest issue.
"17.07.2016 16:47:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Eagleton · The Estate Agent It is one of the minor symptoms of the mental decline of the United States that Stanley Fish is thought to be on the Left. By some of his compatriots, anyway, and no doubt by himself. 'A brash, noisy entrepreneur of the intellect who pushes his ideas in the conceptual marketplace with all the fervour with which others peddle second-hand Hoovers' – Terry Eagleton on Stanley Fish, 'the Donald Trump of American academia', from the
"17.07.2016 13:43:51" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Banville · What do clocks have to do with it? From the outset Einstein was at a disadvantage, since the debate was conducted in French, a language of which he had only a shaky grasp. For all his renown, he needed to emerge as the victor of that day's clash of the titans. 'Then began the period when the relevance of philosophy declined in the face of the rising influence of science' – John Banville on the day Henri Bergson and Albert Einstein met in Paris, and engaged in a debate on the nature of time, from the latest
"17.07.2016 09:35:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nick Richardson · Short Cuts Emoji don't mean things in the same way as words mean things. The shit emoji for example, , doesn't mean shit in the same way that merde means shit: its meaning depends on what's being said in the text, and to whom. Today is World Emoji Day, apparently.
"16.07.2016 17:02:32" lrb.co.uk LRB · Perry Anderson · After Kemal Turkey is unusual in being a poor and ill-educated society that has yet remained a democracy as generally understood, if with violent intermissions. 'Emancipation rarely just arrives from abroad' – Perry Anderson on Turkey, from the #LRBarchive.
"16.07.2016 13:05:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · Philippe Sands · A Grand and Disastrous Deceit The inquiry has chosen to hold back on what caused the multitude of errors: was it negligence, or recklessness, or something else? In so doing it has created a space for Blair and others who stood with him to protest that they acted in good faith. 'The product of calculated manipulation enabled by silences and lies, a grand and disastrous deceit' – Philippe Sands reviews the Report of the Iraq Inquiry by John Chilcot, from the next issue.
"16.07.2016 10:13:21" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Harding: Third Wave Jihadism The jihadism that we're now confronted with, he argued, is a third wave phenomenon, superseding the mujahidin in Afghanistan and al-Qaida. Bombing the remains of Arab states does not drive terrorism beyond France's borders; on the contrary. Why it doesn't make politicians unelectable is a mystery: even Marine Le Pen has spoken half-heartedly in favour of France's air strikes in Syria. But
"15.07.2016 18:34:19" Live from our editorial floor We're streaming live from the editorial floor of the LRB, where the dummy of our new issue has been laid out before it goes to press tonight. This is an exclusive preview: most of these pieces won't be published on our website until next week. Feel free
"15.07.2016 14:28:41" lrb.co.uk Fredrick Harris: America's Red Summer 'I've seen how inadequate words can be,' Obama told those grieving in Dallas, 'in bringing about lasting change' in addressing racism in the United States. 'A form of hate that hate produced' – Fredrick Harris on Memphis, Baton Rouge, St Paul, Dallas.
"15.07.2016 11:25:28" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rosemary Hill · Do put down that revolver 'People who formerly lived in very large houses are now getting out of them,' Country Life noted in 1919. 'Who goes in is another matter.' 'The Earl of Powis stuck bravely by his decaying home, Lymore Hall in Montgomery until, at a church fête in 1921, “without any audible premonitory symptoms”, the earl and twenty of his guests suddenly fell through the floor of the great hall into the
"15.07.2016 08:45:00" The Making of the LRB Watch the making of an issue of the London Review of Books, from our office to your door. We'll be live-streaming a preview of the next issue from our editorial floor later today.
"14.07.2016 17:38:53" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nick Richardson · Breaking In The burglar's gaze turns exits into entrances, windows into doors, drainpipes into ladders. Burglars see the bits of buildings the architect attempts to conceal. Floors, walls and ceilings aren't what they seem. 'In 1976, over the Bastille Day weekend, a gang of burglars tunnelled into the vault of the Société Générale in Nice and stole nearly $8 million in cash and valuables. Once the gang had completed the job they were able to follow their tunnel to a
"14.07.2016 14:35:09" Timeline Photos LRB reader and Twitter user @CharlesHalton obviously read Ian Penman's review of Patti Smith's 'M Train' before entering this year's #readeverywhere competition. His witty photograph traces a through-line between fashion and culture and everyday
"14.07.2016 11:00:24" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: What is the point of the foreign secretary? So Boris Johnson is the foreign secretary. Heir to the mantle of such as Castlereagh, Palmerston and Halifax. Christ. It hasn't taken long for the new PM to stiletto expectations. 'Till the next cluster-blooper makes office untenable even by him, he'll be eking out a twilight existence in business class, fuelled by complimentary peanuts' – Glen Newey on our new foreign secretary, from the LRB blog.
"14.07.2016 08:37:48" lrb.co.uk Hugh Pennington: When a War Goes Wrong When a war goes wrong, a longstanding British political habit is to establish an official inquiry. They take many forms. The Second Boer War engendered nearly as many fat volumes as Chilcot. 'Militarily, some things never seem to change' – Hugh Pennington on the Boer War and the Iraq War, from the LRB blog.
"13.07.2016 17:43:29" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jeremy Harding · Short Cuts I spent the morning of 24 June listening to the referendum results on the BBC, slept briefly, opened the laptop and began looking into the possibility of Irish citizenship in a strangely upbeat frame of mind. 'So many applicants from Britain have put in for passports that Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is overwhelmed and pleading not to be engulfed by a … what's the word we're after: swarm, flood, tsunami, plague?' – Jeremy Harding on
"13.07.2016 13:58:18" Timeline Photos What links Kelis, Alice Cooper, Lemmy – and our new prime minister? lrb.me/v20
"13.07.2016 12:29:24" lrb.co.uk LRB · Eliot Weinberger · They could have picked... With the Republican convention only days away, many Republicans, worried about their own re-election, have decided to stay away. Speakers, outside of Trump's family, Dr Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, have been hard to find. 'Last January, the unpronounceable Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, surveying his party's throng of presidential aspirants, tweeted: “It's clear we've got the most well-qualified and diverse field of candidates from any party
"13.07.2016 08:48:53" lrb.co.uk Lorna Finlayson: Keep Corbyn! There are a lot of people who at some point supported Jeremy Corbyn, but are now saying 'with a heavy heart' – always with a heavy heart – that he has to go. I would like to ask them to think one more time about this. Most read on the LRB blog: Keep Corbyn!
"12.07.2016 17:23:40" lrb.co.uk Bee Wilson · Winklepickers, Tinned Salmon, Hair Cream Lists make us feel better. They take the uncertainty and messiness of life and spray it with a sense of purpose. Jonathan Meades is a writer who understands the power of lists. Why were people called Salmon, Pike, Gudgeon, Whiting, Chubb, Grayling, Roach, Haddock, Spratt, Bass? But not Tench, Minnow, Eel, Lamprey, Perch, Carp, Huss, Plaice.
Why were people called Hogg, Fox, Wolf, Bull, Lion, Lamb, Stoat? But not Horse, Donkey,
"12.07.2016 15:31:13" lrb.co.uk Sadakat Kadri: Wishful Thinking Progress will demand impressive leadership, especially because many Leavers thought they were voting to sweep aside technicalities, and it's far from certain that Theresa May has what it takes. 'Turning away from the EU may very easily become the UK's most deeply regretted decision since the Iraq War, and if it does, every expectation disappointed and every promise broken by May's government is going to have political reverberations.'
"12.07.2016 12:23:31" lrb.co.uk Helen McCarthy: Maternalism Talking about the way motherhood shapes political sensibilities used to be simpler. Late 19th and early 20th-century feminism is saturated with maternalist statements. 'We need a way of talking about the political importance of gendered caring roles that doesn't naturalise sexual divisions or create hierarchies of feminine virtue' – Helen McCarthy on Andrea Leadsom, Theresa May and the politics of motherhood, from the
"12.07.2016 08:45:36" lrb.co.uk LRB · Angela Carter · Wolfing it Surely, of all the creatures we eat, we are most brutal to snails. Helix operta is dug out of the earth where he has been peacefully enjoying his summer sleep, cracked like an egg and eaten raw, presumably alive. 'Dandelions, comfrey, wood sorrel, field sorrel, wild fennel, fat hen, tassel hyacinth, purslane, field poppy' – Angela Carter on cookbooks, from the #LRBarchive.
"11.07.2016 14:34:37" lrb.co.uk Dawn Foster: Not a Feminist Victory Theresa May looks set to be Britain's second female prime minister, now that Andrea Leadsom has quit the Tory leadership race. It would be wrong to hail this as a victory for feminism. 'As with Britain's first female prime minister, her elevation represents a victory for some women, but they're the women who need the least help' – Dawn Foster on Theresa May.
"11.07.2016 11:34:11" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: Folk Memories My lasting memory, however, will be of England's game against Iceland, and the growing look of bafflement and terror that stole across the faces of the England team. I suspect for many people the enduring memory will be of Cristiano Ronaldo, stretchered off in tears and then weeping again at the end for joy. Rarely can a player have done so little on the pitch and so much on the sidelines.
"11.07.2016 08:34:36" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies Tarkovsky loves to concentrate on scraps and remains, objects that are broken, forgotten, thrown away. These materials are not meaningfully juxtaposed, turned into film language. They are just litter, but there is a lost world in them. 'A little later, Eugenia almost steals the film with the spectacular tantrum she has because Gorchakov won't pay her any amorous attention. He can't do that, because he is too busy making sure that she and the audience know that gloomy Russians really can
"10.07.2016 16:01:44" lrb.co.uk LRB · Edward Said · John McEnroe plus Anyone 'A sport of skilful, well-mannered ladies and gentlemen has metamorphosed into a brutal confrontation between unpleasant, physically overdeveloped and remorselessly single-minded hitters, which is controlled by agents, TV networks, tournament bosses,
"10.07.2016 13:23:20" lrb.co.uk LRB · Blake Morrison · He will need a raincoat Hisham Matar's father, Jaballa, a prominent opponent of the Gaddafi regime, was kidnapped in Cairo in March 1990 and taken to the Abu Salim prison in Libya. Matar has spent many years trying to find out what happened after that. 'All fathers are unknowable to their sons but some are more mysterious than others' – Blake Morrison on 'The Return' by Hisham Matar, from the latest issue.
"10.07.2016 09:26:13" lrb.co.uk Jacob Burns: In the Air Cadets In early 2003, as the Iraq war loomed, I was 14 and a member of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets. I wanted to be a helicopter pilot. 'As the anti-war march approached, the school let it be known that while it could not be seen to be endorsing truancy, no one would be punished for absence on the day of the protest. I was one of two pupils who turned up to class.'
"09.07.2016 18:40:58" Timeline Photos Francis Spufford, in his 'Memoir of Childhood and Reading', distinguishes 'between people, like himself, who have been committed readers of fiction since early childhood, and people (including “friends in the word business – very literary people, people
"09.07.2016 15:52:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Meaney · So it must be for ever 'It is a sign of true political power when a great people can determine, of its own will, the vocabulary, the terminology and the words, the very way of speaking, even the way of thinking, of other peoples,' Carl Schmitt wrote in 1932. 'When American foreign policy pundits speak of the “post-American world”, what they really mean is “the Now and Forever American World”. The presidential candidates who tend to win are those who most seamlessly embody the contradictory calls for more
"09.07.2016 13:06:29" lrb.co.uk Moira Donegan: Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt After the law's first provisions went into effect in October 2013, 22 of the state's 41 abortion clinics shut down. 'A blow to the post-factual political strategy of eroding rights by claiming to protect them' – Moira Donegan on the US Supreme Court's decision to strike down House Bill 2, Texas's anti-abortion law, from the LRB blog.
"09.07.2016 10:32:53" lrb.co.uk LRB Archive · Susan McKay · Diary McConville was dragged out of the family's flat by an IRA gang. A few weeks later, a young man brought back her purse. In it was 52p and the three rings she had been wearing. In the only photograph of Jean McConville, taken in 1965, she stands beside a row of her children. She's pregnant, her arms folded, hands hidden, wearing an apron. Her head is tilted, dark wavy hair pulled back and eyes scrunched up against the light.
"08.07.2016 17:03:18" lrb.co.uk Kathleen McCaul Moura: 'We are favela!' A dead man lies on the floor with arms outstretched, his legs crossed. Beneath him are the words: 'seja marginal, seja herói' ('be an outlaw, be a hero'). Dilma may have made mistakes, but under her leadership Brazil was a place where a girl from the favela could get a decent education and a good job, or become a poet and join a grassroots literary movement. The new administration wants to tell a different
"08.07.2016 11:41:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tim Parks · Guelfs v. Ghibellines Excluded from his home culture in his lifetime, Dante is absolutely at the centre of it seven hundred years on. 'Giacomo Leopardi remarked that the factional fragmentation of Italian society was such that no Italian past or present was ever entirely honoured or dishonoured “since there can be no honour without a shared sense of society”. Dante is the exception that
"08.07.2016 08:31:48" lrb.co.uk Inigo Thomas: Blair's Infatuations On the same day that Blair got his medal and spoke on Capitol Hill, David Kelly, the British weapons inspector, killed himself in a wood near his house in Oxfordshire. 'You know, Lord North, Dad, he was the British prime minister who lost us America. So just think, however many mistakes you'll make, you'll never make one that bad.'
"07.07.2016 18:07:28" George Monbiot and John Lanchester: how did we get into this m... We're streaming live from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event featuring George Monbiot in conversation with John Lanchester about 'How Did We Get Into This Mess?', Monbiot's latest book. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments and we'll
"07.07.2016 16:18:36" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk The Best Book Events in the City Future visitors to the bookshop include Joshua Clover and Nina Power, Sarah Moss and Max Porter, Lauren Elkin and Brian Dillon, Adam Crothers and Rebecca Watts, and Joanna Kavenna, Benjamin Markovits, Anakana Schofield with Theo Tait. We'll be streaming live on this page, at 7pm tonight, from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event featuring George Monbiot in conversation with John Lanchester about 'How Did We Get Into This mess?', Monbiot's latest book.
Future visitors to the
"07.07.2016 12:48:27" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · A City of Prose The London bombings are an ontological disaster for anyone who commutes in a big city: the blasts have taken the steadiness out of people's expectations and replaced it with a more or less hysterical dependence on the size of their luck. 'Sitting upstairs on the Number 30 a few days after 7 July, I found myself thinking: in this seat, would it be a leg I'd lose, or an arm? Would I die instantly? Or would I be one of those walking around afterwards in a daze?'
Andrew O'Hagan, in Tavistock
"07.07.2016 10:32:14" Timeline Photos To #Margate, then, and a #readeverywhere entry by @reneemcohn, which LRB subscribers will recognise as a reference to Iain Sinclair's 2003 essay about the Kent coastline, which casts 'Thanet as Prospero's island – exile with demons and furies, hell
"07.07.2016 08:23:00" lrb.co.uk María del Pilar Blanco: Foreign in a Domestic Sense When was the last time the British were colonised? At which point in the history of colonialism were the British the enslaved rather than the slavers? 'Freedom' and 'independence' are not words that should be tossed around flippantly. Anyone in the UK who feels like using them in relation to Brexit – a decision to abandon an equal place in an organisation that has spelled out freedoms and rights which
"06.07.2016 18:08:47" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: Yes, it was Blair's fault He surely cannot be entrusted with any significant public office again, but should be left to potter about, fairly harmlessly, with his silly 'faith' foundation. Yes, it was Blair's fault.
"06.07.2016 14:49:06" lrb.co.uk LRB · Eliot Weinberger · What I Heard about Iraq I heard that Saddam Hussein, in solitary confinement, was spending his time writing poetry, reading the Koran, eating cookies and muffins, and taking care of some bushes and shrubs. I heard that the US military had purchased 1,500,000,000 bullets for use in the coming year. That is 58 bullets for every Iraqi adult and child.
"06.07.2016 12:06:27" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online, featuring responses to the referendum, Tim Parks on Dante, and Blake Morrison on fathers and sons: lrb.me/fm0
"06.07.2016 08:47:48" lrb.co.uk LRB · Edward Said · Iraq Full of contradictions, flat-out lies and groundless affirmations, the torrent of reporting and commentary on the 'coalition' war against Iraq has obscured the negligence of the military and policy experts who planned it and now justify it. 'This is the most reckless war in modern times. It is all about imperial arrogance unschooled in worldliness, unfettered either by competence or experience, undeterred by history or human complexity, unrepentant in its violence and the cruelty of its
"05.07.2016 16:55:08" Seydou Keïta: The Theatre of Aspiration 'Between the sitter and the portrait-maker there is a kind of theatre of aspiration, about what people could become, what they will become, as colonialism comes to an end.'
Jeremy Harding on the Malian photographer Seydou Keïta. Read more about Keïta:
"05.07.2016 12:21:49" lrb.co.uk LRB · Robert Crawford · He was the man Had Pound died shortly after editing The Waste Land, it would have been so much more straightforward to acknowledge his gifts. I think someone less wedded to the notion of Ezra Pound as hero may feel that at this point making any gesture that could be mistaken for a fascist salute was just about the stupidest thing Pound could have done.
"05.07.2016 08:29:58" lrb.co.uk LRB · Gilberto Perez · It's a playground How can it be, people sometimes ask when I recommend an Iranian movie to them, that a country under an oppressive Islamic regime is producing such good cinema? 'I'm not sure that my interpretation of his film is exactly what he had in mind, but I am certain that he intended to give me room for it' – Gilberto Perez on Abbas Kiarostami, from the #LRBarchive.
"04.07.2016 17:44:30" Timeline Photos 'I don't now find any of his photographs, even his so-called sex pictures, to be “jerk-off grist”. Nor is my reaction to his photographs anything like my reaction the first time I saw gay pornography. The photographs are far too self-consciously arty –
"04.07.2016 14:28:48" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Kidd · Sing Tantarara As individuals and families, Americans worship their own gods, or, more commonly, God in their own way: but collectively, as citizens, they learn the creed, and participate in the rituals of a sacralised American Way of Life. 'By a miraculous providence, Adams and Jefferson both died on the same significant date, the Fourth of July 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The conservative Adams expired, comforted by the thought that “Thomas Jefferson
"04.07.2016 10:59:09" lrb.co.uk Sadakat Kadri: Friending Sarah Vine My best hope of getting a handle on this whole shoddy business is through the person who knows Michael best. And once Sarah and I have sorted it out on Facebook, I promise to stop sniping, and share. A significant social opportunity has just opened up – because last week, Sarah (I feel I can now call her that) reached out on Facebook.
"03.07.2016 15:00:00" lrb.co.uk Letters · LRB 30 June 2016 I hate to be pedantic about sausages... Ian Jack writes: 'At around 7 or 8 p.m. every Saturday night …' That teeth-grating superfluity – 'p.m.' and 'night' – is now part and parcel of the flapdoodle of the unworthy heirs of the Observer et al. To discover that it is apparently acceptable to
"03.07.2016 12:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Julian Bell · Eyeballs v. Optics An unexpurgated documentation of his thought processes is a less generous offer than Hockney seems to imagine. 'What Hockney ignores is that we have a need, part of the time, to be alienated by images. We have a nagging urge to reach out and touch, through pictures, something that has nothing to do with our own expectations or creative participation.'
"03.07.2016 10:13:27" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: Best Goal Ever? It came in three parts: Bale's long pass controlled by Ramsey with a Bergkamp-like cushioned touch; Ramsey's cross which Robson-Kanu takes and turns past three Belgians; the direct, unfussy finish. Then pandemonium. 'It looks like Belgium's destiny is to provide the bemused backdrop as others take control' – David Runciman on Hal Robson-Kanu's second for Wales against Belgium.
"02.07.2016 17:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · What have we done? So who is to blame? Please don't say the voters: 17,410,712 is an awful lot of people to be wrong on a question of this magnitude. 'What have we done?' Responses to the referendum from LRB contributors including David Runciman, Jonathan Coe, Dawn Foster, Pankaj Mishra, Jan-Werner Müller, Susan Pedersen and Wolfgang Streeck.
"02.07.2016 14:24:22" lrb.co.uk Alex Abramovich: Mystery Train Scotty Moore played guitar in Elvis Presley's original and only band, the Blue Moon Boys, and on his early recordings. 'He played to frame the frontman' – Alex Abramovich remembers Scotty Moore, from the LRB blog.
"02.07.2016 09:15:09" lrb.co.uk LRB · Richard Lloyd Parry · Bratpackers: Alex Garland It is not about travel (although its characters are travellers), nor about drugs and violence (although the story contains plenty of both). It is a book about images of all these things. 'A sophisticated adolescent book in which it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the protagonist's callowness and blind spots from those of his creator' – Richard Lloyd Parry on 'The Beach' by Alex Garland, 20 years young this summer.
"01.07.2016 16:56:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Castle · Disquiet on the Western Front A year ago this past autumn – a year before the old life so shockingly blew away – I made a long-contemplated trip to France and Belgium to see the cemeteries of the First World War. 'As Paul Fussell long ago pointed out, the passage over No Man's Land was indeed a Christ-like transit, a hideous stroll into the Valley of Death. Like the assault on the Somme, the Passion begins – kinaesthetically and archetypally – in heroic
"01.07.2016 13:47:16" Timeline Photos #readeverywhere, our annual photo competition in association with The Paris Review, is back, and this year it's bigger and better than ever. Post a photo or a video of someone (or something!) reading the LRB or The Paris Review with the hashtag
"01.07.2016 11:06:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Burrow · Homage to Geoffrey Hill His gravity is offset by the crucial fact about Hill: his imagination is driven by antinomies. He is attracted not by the weight of gravity but by moments when the heavy and the light coincide, physically, and metaphysically, and tonally. 'The glory of poetry is that it is solemn,/Racked with anarchic laughter' – Colin Burrow on Geoffrey Hill, from the #LRBarchive.
"01.07.2016 09:03:55" lrb.co.uk Inigo Thomas: In Hammersmith We may yet become Luxembourg, just bigger and more roundly smug and conservative, soaked in Sky Sports, buttered with instant internet shopping, tanked on cheap supermarket gin, and baked in a hot narcissistic oven at 220°. The least that could be done in the shabby, disorganised era we seem to have entered overnight is to give passports or permanent visas to the three million Europeans currently living in Britain, if they still want to live here, that is. It could be called
"30.06.2016 16:27:11" Timeline Photos 'Seydou Keïta's work is remarkable for its lack of intrusiveness. Subjects may be on their mettle, in complicated ways, but they aren't up for examination, or sitting for an ethnographic inventory. The customers led the way. They were paying for a record,
"30.06.2016 11:55:36" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: Does Michael Gove exist? Gove seems to be growing younger. Maybe next he'll fall prey to acne, or become obsessed with Cradle of Filth and start wearing indigo lipstick. Does Michael Gove exist? #LRBarchive
"30.06.2016 08:39:00" lrb.co.uk Peter Pomerantsev: Taking Control The blind man is still playing his tin whistle during rush hour at Green Park station and all the streets look the same, but the inner mental map I have of the world, the one that places me in a network of structures and institutions, has gone. The moguls had used fear of immigration to get a Leave vote, but would now campaign for staying in the single market with no real barriers to immigration but released from EU obligations to protect workers. A libertarian plot! It all made sense. Hadn't
"29.06.2016 16:53:37" lrb.co.uk Lorna Finlayson: Keep Corbyn! The EU has nothing much to do with immigration, but that didn't matter. The referendum result had little to do with Corbyn, but that doesn't matter either. The PLP have seen their chance to move against him. 'Always with a heavy heart' – Lorna Finlayson on the case for keeping Corbyn.
"29.06.2016 12:05:00" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: Exit Cameron The little Englanders who dominate the parliamentary and constituency Tory parties will take over the remains of what Dickens, quoting Charles Dibdin, called 'our tight little, right little island'. Glen Newey predicted David Cameron's resignation on the LRB blog five months ago to the day.
"29.06.2016 09:54:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Owen Hatherley · One Click at a Time Both Paul Mason, and Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, advocate things that seemed to have disappeared from thinking on the left sometime in the late 1960s. 'In the end postcapitalism, like postmodernism, is the name of an absence, not a positive programme. Like the anticapitalism of the early 2000s, it tells you what it's not: in this case, the old left, folk politics, social democracy or Stalinism, with
"28.06.2016 20:32:01" lrb.co.uk Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Law v. Politics The legal problems arising from the EU referendum need to be distinguished from the political ones. One thing is clear: the referendum itself had no more legal effect – either within the United Kingdom or on the UK's legal relations with the European No one knows who has the legal power to invoke Article 50.
"28.06.2016 17:01:27" lrb.co.uk Neda Neynska: Put-upon at the Ritz To supplement my freelance writing income, I started working as a waitress in the staff restaurant of the News Building in London Bridge a few months after it was renamed by Rupert Murdoch (it used to be known as the Baby Shard) and inaugurated by Boris My first shift at the Ritz involved eight hours of polishing champagne flutes and silverware with hot steam under a strand of blue light. I wasn't allowed to lean against a cupboard, let alone eat. 'People pay a lot of money to be here,' a manager once
"28.06.2016 14:33:25" Andrew O'Hagan: why the Satoshi 'proof' failed 'Craig Wright always dreaded the moment when people would ask him directly, on camera, "are you Satoshi Nakamoto?"'
Andrew O'Hagan on why the Satoshi 'proof' failed:
"28.06.2016 09:40:39" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: Slow Motion Disintegration It took about as long for Roy Hodgson's whole world to fall apart as it did for David Cameron's. The evening began full of false promise and hubristic talk of the tougher challenges ahead. The early Rooney penalty seemed to confirm that there was nothing It took about as long for Roy Hodgson's whole world to fall apart as it did for David Cameron's. The underdogs, with their blond figurehead and tribal support, have pulled off a major shock. But do they really have a plan for dealing with the French and
"27.06.2016 16:45:11" lrb.co.uk Sadakat Kadri: Bullxit Boris Johnson uses today's Telegraph to trail what will doubtless become a leadership bid, and his agenda for post-referendum Britain contains some remarkable claims. Not in the form of proposals, but by its lack of them. If Johnson has his way, Brexit is If Johnson has his way, Brexit is going to involve inactivity on an industrial scale.
"27.06.2016 15:36:46" lrb.co.uk Inigo Thomas: Not Unrolling but Unravelling In the address she delivered to the College of Europe in Bruges in September 1988, Margaret Thatcher introduced her notion of the European super-state and why Britain should see it as a threat. 'We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the The prospects of the end of Britain have never looked more likely: calling it the United Kingdom now seems just about the least true thing you can say of a country divided as it is by between north and south, between city and country, by class and by age.
"27.06.2016 11:04:21" lrb.co.uk Bernard Porter: Historic Failure There hasn't been much rejoicing on the winning side of the EU referendum. How many of them must have spent the weekend thinking: 'Fuck, what have we done?' As the pound plummets, Cameron falls on his sword, a clown is set to take over, Corbyn (the only None of the leading Brexiters had the least idea what they wanted to succeed Britain-in-Europe, apart from some woolly abstractions – 'control', 'freedom', 'greatness', 'the good old days' – and some totally inappropriate models: Canada, Norway,
"27.06.2016 09:47:57" lrb.co.uk LRB · Iain Sinclair · Diary To the rat-a-tat-tat of a drum, they march on London. Climate protesters? Milk-price complainers taking inspiration from their cousins across the Channel? Some historical re-enactment rump? It must be charity. Look at the cameras. There aren't enough of If, during the recent Bank Holiday weekend, you were taking the air in the Lea Valley, rambling somewhere near the line of zero longitude, you might have noticed a strung-out procession of eccentric pilgrims following a shamanic drummer in the general
"26.06.2016 16:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mattathias Schwartz · American Intelligence Behind the government's hunger for data was a sense of inadequacy. Despite ample warning signs, and even direct contact with some of the hijackers, the intelligence community had failed to anticipate the 9/11 attacks. The US government keeps lists of people whom it deems to be worth watching. The best known is the No Fly List, which contains tens of thousands of names. The more obscure Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment has more than a million names, a figure
"26.06.2016 09:19:24" lrb.co.uk LRB · Will Frears · A Quiet Night In An entirely normal train journey, a free bus to the site and suddenly you are confronted with the sight of Tent City. The most amazing thing about this is that so many people actually own tents and must use them the rest of the time. 'The least expected thing I saw was a woman going jogging' – Will Frears on Glastonbury
"25.06.2016 13:13:13" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: Why did he do it? Why did he do it? Why take such a needlessly cavalier risk with the country's future and his own? Maybe he thought his luck would hold. Well, it didn't. It's hard to see a path back to the European summit from here. Yes, facing Iceland rather than It isn't just hindsight that says Cameron should have worked out where the biggest risks lay and guarded against them, rather than trying to ride his luck. If England lose to France, it won't just be hindsight that says Hodgson should have done the same.
"25.06.2016 10:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stefan Collini · Christopher Hitchens, Englishman One turns with interest to see how Hitchens, an acknowledged master of the literary bazooka attack, will acquit himself in the trickier arts of discriminating appreciation. Orwell figures here as an early (perhaps 'premature') member of 'the united front against bullshit'; or, in other words, as one of Hitchens's predecessors in the 'no bullshit' bullshit.
Collini on Hitchens on Orwell, on the latter's 113th birthday, from
"25.06.2016 08:17:43" lrb.co.uk Lynsey Hanley: Divided Britain The only thing we can say for certain in the immediate aftermath of the referendum is that David Cameron will be remembered as one of the worst prime ministers we've ever had: at once ignorant of his own people and reckless with their lives. And yet I The referendum result suggests that working-class people would prefer to unite with very posh people to give middle-class people a kicking than to submit to the middle-class idea that what is good for them is good for everyone.
"24.06.2016 16:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Kulikowski · The Glorious Free Market Despite the ongoing parlous state of Western economies, Poiesis is not the only new book to extol the glories of the ancient free market, but its voguishness does not diminish its historical acuity. You have to admire an academic monograph that wears its neoliberalism so proudly as to approve the abolition of academic study lacking in immediate 'relevance'.
"24.06.2016 13:17:07" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: What will happen now? In January I outlined a nine-stage process by which David Cameron's premiership could end within the year. The referendum's timing excepted, that has turned out much as predicted. Cameron's translation from PM to dogmeat is complete. The referendum If Scotland or Northern Ireland or both do peel off, the immediate prospects are fairly grim for people in what – the term is obsolete – used to be called Labour's 'heartlands' in Rump UK. The kingdom of England and Wales would become, still more than it
"24.06.2016 06:13:23" lrb.co.uk LRB · Francis FitzGibbon · If We Leave If Britain votes to leave the EU it will take several years to disentangle what's to be kept and what discarded from our EU-saturated legislation. The law of the European Union has left few areas of life in the UK wholly untouched even though the EU can Exit negotiations, the remaking of agreements with the EU and other countries, and re-enacting or scrapping EU regulations will divert our shrunken civil service from its main duties for years.
"23.06.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ferdinand Mount · Nigels against the World What makes it so tempting to regard 'Brexosis' as a mental disorder is its persistent streak of paranoia. 'There remains the last and to me the worst suspicion: that they would be quite happy to put their supposedly beloved country through a period of prolonged turmoil and stagnation simply for the exhilaration of being on their own at last' – Ferdinand Mount
"22.06.2016 21:49:05" lrb.co.uk Sadakat Kadri: Back to Europe Three weeks after the Berlin Wall opened up on 9 November 1989, I made my way from London to Prague, anxious to catch a revolutionary wave that seemed about to ebb. Within days, I had decided to stay. I was 25. A publishing company, tentatively imagining Brexiteer politicians have not only appealed to nostalgia for a time when old maids drank warm beer as they cycled across misty cricket grounds, but also conjured a dynamic global future: a UK plc, which, freed from the shackles of Brussels, will
"22.06.2016 16:15:00" James Meek on the UK's fishing industry 'The myth is that had Britain followed Iceland's example, declared its own two hundred mile fishing zone, stayed out of Europe and kept foreigners out of its waters, the harbours of Grimsby and Fleetwood would be as packed with trawlers as in the good old
"22.06.2016 15:10:18" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online: http://www.lrb.co.uk/
"22.06.2016 09:08:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alice Spawls · List your enemies Hot Milk takes its epigraph from Cixous: 'It's up to you to break the old circuits.' For Sofia, that means addressing her father, who isn't there, and her mother, who is too much there. There's lots here for a Freudian (or Lacanian), and we are given one, in the shape of Dr Gómez, the shamanic consultant Rose has remortgaged her house to see. His first instructions are to drop all her medication and write a list of her enemies. He tells
"21.06.2016 16:45:18" lrb.co.uk August Kleinzahler: 'Briggflatts' at Fifty I read it over and over again for weeks. It changed everything for me. Tom Pickard turned up with a fistful of his own poems and, when Basil Bunting opened the door, said: 'I heard you were the greatest living poet.' Bunting's mother-in-law was visiting from Iran and had brought with her a 'load' of caviar. 'As Basil was the
"21.06.2016 12:33:40" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Hofmann · Hoo-Hooing in the Birch Unusually, and attractively too, his poems don't eclipse or exhaust their subjects, but leave something of them peeping out: you get poem and subject, metaphor and literal fact, concert hall and train-ferry. 'He gives you the days that are all night, and the nights that are all day; the interleaving of land and water, and city and country; the half-life of religion; the grim pasts and only slightly less grim presents; the unending monochrome winter and the
"21.06.2016 10:01:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · The Lives of Ronald Pinn The practice of using dead children's identities began in the Metropolitan Police Force in the 1960s. Until very recently, it was thought, in-house, to be a legitimate part of an undercover officer's tradecraft. 'I had no idea as I left East Dulwich that evening how far beyond the police's bad behaviour the story would go; that it would be about the ghostliness of the internet and the way we live with it. But I remember putting on my car headlamps and watching
"20.06.2016 20:04:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rosemary Hill · Short Cuts Like most people I saw dawn rise over other people's shoulders. Then the Morris Dancers arrived. 'There were several people in oak leaves and a man in robes drinking mead out of a horn, who explained in pained tones that he was not a druid but a Saxon' – Rosemary Hill goes to Stonehenge for the Solstice.
"20.06.2016 12:19:12" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: White on White Croatia's fans are notoriously racist but there were no ethnic minorities around for them to target; they beat each other up instead. Euro 2016 has been characterised by its white-on-white violence.
"20.06.2016 08:47:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nicholas Penny · In Pursuit of an Heiress The letters the prince wrote to his former wife were later published and are here translated. The tone is oddly like that of someone who is eager to reassure an older sister of his orthodox sexual orientation. At the suggestion of his wife, his close collaborator in such enterprises, Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau divorced her, and set off to Britain in the hope of finding an heiress to marry. The opportunity to inspect the planting and draining and new
"19.06.2016 15:41:05" lrb.co.uk Francis FitzGibbon · If We Leave It can't sensibly be done. 'It isn't hard to see the entire process stretching out for years, accompanied by litigation at every step' – Francis FitzGibbon on if we leave, from the latest issue.
"19.06.2016 13:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · Ghosting On 5 January 2011, at 8.30 p.m., I was messing about at home when the phone buzzed on the sofa. It was a text from Jamie Byng, the publisher of Canongate. 'Are you about?' it said. 'I have a somewhat left-field idea.' Today marks the start of Julian Assange's fifth year in London's Ecuadorian embassy.
"19.06.2016 09:31:05" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Mars-Jones · Dad's Apology Dad knew the martial arts of argument supremely well, and could turn almost any throw against an opponent. 'Alcohol amplified something Dad also felt in full sobriety: a sense of disappointment with the way his sons were developing' – Adam Mars-Jones on his father, from the #LRBarchive.
"18.06.2016 17:18:30" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · The Satoshi Affair There are things, there are always things, that others assume are at the centre of the universe but don't make a scratch on your own sense of the everyday world. This story was like that for me, enclosing me in an enigma I couldn't have named. 'Craig Wright seemed to get more and more frustrated. He both wanted fame and repudiated it, craving the recognition he felt was his due while claiming his only wish was to get back to his desk. “I have people love my secret identity and hate me,” he
"18.06.2016 08:00:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · The Satoshi Affair Ten men raided a house in Gordon, a north shore suburb of Sydney, at 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 December 2015. Some of the federal agents wore shirts that said 'Computer Forensics'; one carried a search warrant. Andrew O'Hagan on the many lives of Satoshi Nakamoto.
"17.06.2016 11:42:52" lrb.co.uk Dawn Foster: The Politics of Hate Tolerating the far right in a misguided attempt to shore up votes normalises hatred. Nigel Farage said on the BBC last month that 'if people feel that voting doesn't change anything, then violence is the next step.' 'This may be the logical end point of a rhetoric that whips up hatred: a murder on the street in the name of nationalism.'
Dawn Foster on the politics of hate, from the LRB blog.
"17.06.2016 09:22:54" lrb.co.uk Ursula Lindsey: The Bookseller of Algiers They were playing the soundtrack of the The Godfather in the lobby of the Aurassi hotel, a huge modernist statement built in the 1970s on a hill above the centre of Algiers. 'The army, religion and sex remain troublesome topics.'
"16.06.2016 19:35:49" lrb.co.uk How Molly Bloom Got Her Apostrophes Some of this activity, no doubt, is merely an occasion for high spirits, some of it the result of excessive piety. Yet the fact is that no other work of modern fiction elicits such deep affection from its readers. On the morning of 16 June, in city after city throughout the world, small groups of people will gather to engage in curious rituals. In New York, some fifty people will each pay $25 to breakfast on mutton kidneys and slightly burnt toast. Optional courses
"16.06.2016 16:55:46" Timeline Photos There's a simmering discontent latent in much of the art of the Hudson River School painters, a wary sense that their world was about to change, and probably not for the better: lrb.me/cp0
"16.06.2016 12:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Eagleton · Irishness is for other people Ireland is renowned for two industries: Guinness and Joyce. A good deal of the country's labour over the years has been devoted to the task of generating fantasies and rendering the population legless. 'It is as if Britain were to dedicate a feast day to Falstaff or to the Artful Dodger' – Terry Eagleton on #Bloomsday, from the #LRBarchive.
"16.06.2016 10:25:16" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: If I were a Eurosceptic … It's as though the French don't care so much about the rules; what they care about is the glamour of personal combat. 'The focus seems to be on the aesthetic appeal of seeing players collide in slow motion. There is a particular fascination with the clash of incompatible body parts: feet with heads, elbows with anything soft and fleshy.'
David Runciman on Euro 2016 TV
"15.06.2016 18:11:17" Timeline Photos The Loaning by Seamus Heaney. Read the other 25 poems (and five essays) by Heaney in the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/e10
"15.06.2016 12:10:37" lrb.co.uk Letters · LRB 16 June 2016 'Naomi Klein says: 'the climate crisis … might just be the catalyst we need to knit together a great many powerful movements.' For everyone's sake, I hope she's wrong. A catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without being permanently
"15.06.2016 08:50:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Dinah Birch · Proper Ghosts The Monk is not the sober product of experience. It is the work of a boy – raw, fevered, irresponsible. 'It's possible that Matthew Lewis would have done better to exercise more restraint in his exploration of monastic debauchery' – Dinah Birch on 'The Monk' and the Gothic, from the latest issue.
"14.06.2016 20:00:00" lrb.co.uk Elizabeth Fox-Genovese · Anti-Slavery Begins at Home It is now argued that anti-slavery won over Northern sentiment largely because of the wave of humanitarianism unleashed by the writings of women, who came to feel the oppression of the slave almost as if it were their own. 'Uncle Tom's Cabin did more than all the tracts combined to bring anti-slavery into the kitchens, parlours and hearts of the North' – happy birthday Harriet Beecher Stowe, from the #LRBarchive.
"14.06.2016 16:49:03" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: On the Lobby-Go-Round The finance sector is but one head of the European lobbying hydra, with about 2500 organisations and 15,000 individuals active in Brussels. Lobbying is always easier if you can sit on both sides of the table.
"14.06.2016 11:05:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Lahr · Backlash Blues 'Easy' wasn't a word that was ever associated with Nina Simone. In her life and in her lyrics, she always found drama. She could be playful, cruel, arrogant, rapacious, furious, joyous, bereft. In the mid-1960s Vernon Jordan, the head of the Urban League, asked Nina Simone how come she wasn't 'more active in civil rights'. 'Motherfucker, I am civil rights,' she replied.
"13.06.2016 16:12:31" lrb.co.uk Huw Lemmey: Gay Pride after Orlando If Pride is to rediscover its politics, a starting point would be the assertion that life for LGBT people in a heterosexual society remains a maelstrom of violence, with the most marginalised at the sharp end. There's a faultline between the way much of the media and many straight people are interpreting the Orlando attack, in the context of Islamist terrorism and the attacks in Paris and Brussels, and the way many LGBT people understand it, on a spectrum of
"13.06.2016 11:28:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jacqueline Rose · Bantu in the Bathroom 'Four bullets indicate that there is still no middle ground. Whoever Pistorius thought was behind that door, firing at such close range meant that when he finished there would be a body on that bathroom floor.' 'Depending on how you look at it, the killing of Reeva Steenkamp was either a sex crime or a race crime' – Jacqueline Rose on Oscar Pistorius, from last year.
"13.06.2016 08:42:51" lrb.co.uk LRB · Daniel Hind · The BBC The BBC's Royal Charter is up for renewal. On 12 May the government published a White Paper, A BBC for the Future: A Broadcaster of Distinction, setting out its proposals. A draft of the new charter will be published and debated in Parliament. 'An institution that is at once the dominant media institution in the country and a complete mystery to its audience is inherently unstable' – Daniel Hind on John Whittingdale's White Paper.
"12.06.2016 17:31:42" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: Tottenham Tired England played against Russia like a team that could win this tournament, but also like a team that almost certainly won't. It's the usual story: you worry about them getting tired. Relying on the current Tottenham side to carry England to glory is like hoping you can get through the whole day without taking your phone charger with you. Maybe you can, but not if you plan to spend much time using it.
"12.06.2016 13:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · D.G. Wright · Hooligans The remarkably consistent 'respectable fears' of the last two hundred years concerning crime and disorder, often attributed to unwelcome foreign and alien influences, bore little relationship to the actual facts of criminality. A history of violence.
"12.06.2016 10:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Peter Pomerantsev · Diary At night I wrote long, bong-powered school essays about the deeply important connections between Shakespeare, Ikkyū, the Wu-Tang Clan and the Beatniks. 'Educated side by side, the children of the European School played up to caricatures of their homelands. We in the English section, the boys anyway, posed as eccentrics: we quoted Monty Python and made a point of eating Marmite. It's said of Boris Johnson
"11.06.2016 17:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · Hating Football I can tell you the exact moment when I decided to hate football for life. It was 11 June 1978 at 6.08 p.m. Andrew O'Hagan hates football.
"11.06.2016 13:15:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jeremy Harding · A Rage for Abstraction French intellectual tradition is often happier than its rival Anglo-Saxon versions to put the world – and the fact – in parenthesis for as long as the conversation is worth having. 'It's noticeable that nature writing hasn't caught on in France as it has in the UK: in France writing is still first and foremost a performance of culture. A writer venturing into the wild with a smartphone and a notepad has got to be joking; only
"11.06.2016 09:59:14" lrb.co.uk Alice Spawls: Thankful Villages 'Recording Britain' projects are usually occasioned by the threat of loss, but Darren Hayman seems more interested in what's survived; what's living and thriving and doesn't need to be patronised or romanticised. 53 villages in England and Wales have no First World War memorial because all their men returned. In his King's England guidebooks of the 1930s, Arthur Mee calls them the Thankful Villages.
"10.06.2016 16:45:19" lrb.co.uk LRB · Robert Irwin · Ramadan Nights Back in the 1960s, when I was studying to become a Sufi saint in North Africa, my Sheikh told me to read the Koran again and again, stopping only for prayers, meals and sleep. 'All through this welcome task I have been reliving those Ramadan nights of long ago, when I would sit on the veranda of my Gezira house and listen entranced to the old white-bearded Sheykh who chanted the Koran for the delectation of my pious
"10.06.2016 12:01:02" lrb.co.uk Isabel Hull · Genocide v. Crimes Against Humanity How did two lawyers from Galicia end up exercising such an influence on the shape of international law? Why did they approach the greatest crime of the century in exactly opposite ways? Niklas Frank carried in his wallet the 1946 photograph of his recently hanged father, just to reassure himself that he was dead. 'I am opposed to the death penalty,' Niklas told Philippe Sands, 'except for my father.'
"10.06.2016 09:15:56" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: Can an outsider win Euro 2016? Would an England win count as an upset? Next time. 'Having more minnows present doesn't increase the chance of an outsider winning. It reduces it, because there is more time for the fairytale to come undone.'
David Runciman on the Euros, from the LRB blog.
"09.06.2016 17:19:57" lrb.co.uk Peter Pomerantsev: Harmful Eccentrics Brexiteers like to frame Europe's relationship to the UK as one of empire to colonial subject, as if the campaign to leave the EU were equivalent to some sort of glorious war of decolonisation. 'The tone is the real battleground. The leave campaign defines Englishness as eccentricity. Johnson, Gove and Farage all come across as characters out of Ealing comedy, if not Monty Python. Brexit – even that terrible portmanteau word is part of it – is
"09.06.2016 11:59:32" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies 'Magic' is perhaps the key word here, or whatever word we find for infallible, enduring good luck. Our guys and gals can't lose, and this is surely what the fantasy is about. 'Between them, they can fly, mechanically calibrate distances, drop bombs, kickbox like maniacs, and shoot fire from their fingers, but they have a hard time winning the day, and they do burn a chunk of the hospital and kill some people by mistake' –
"09.06.2016 09:43:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Wendy Doniger · Can you spot the source? I hesitate to divulge the surprise of the ending, but the number of people under, say, 12 who read the LRB and have not read the Harry Potter books cannot be large. 'For most American children, upper-form boys treating the lower forms as slaves will seem even weirder than people flying around on broomsticks.'
Wendy Doniger on Harry Potter, from the #LRBarchive.
"08.06.2016 19:15:00" lrb.co.uk Moira Donegan: #EstupraNuncaMais Here is what the victim remembers: she arrived at her boyfriend's house in a Rio favela at about 1 a.m. She was alone with him there. Then, she woke up in a different house, in pain. Tens of thousands of women marched in protest through the streets of cities across Brazil, holding signs and chanting: 'Machismo Kills.'
"08.06.2016 15:53:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Meek · How to Grow a Weetabix We perceive the countryside as if farmed fields were the default state, as if the two were synonymous. But why should this be true, when so much else has changed? '“Which way are you going to vote?” He'd already told me that post-Brexit the fight to control the countryside would intensify.
“It'd be bad for farming, but there are some things more important than farming.”
“What things?” He wouldn't
"08.06.2016 11:59:51" lrb.co.uk London Review of Books · 16 June 2016 Also: the BBC, Captain America, Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, Nina Simone, Deborah Levy, Tomas Tranströmer, The Monk, The Ancient Free Market, American Intelligence, If We Leave, and Sovereignty. Our new issue is now online, featuring James Meek on farms and farming, Isabel Hull on the origins of genocide, Jeremy Harding on how the French think, and Peter Pomerantsev on European schools.
"08.06.2016 08:55:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tony Wood · Silver Bullets 'We have no crime fiction here because there is no faith in justice.' 'What is exceptional, what is unwonted, is not for a Latin American to be a victim, but that he might cease to be one' – Tony Wood on Mexican crime fiction.
"07.06.2016 16:00:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Patrick Cockburn · Somalia Syndrome Islamists became the chief opposition to the regime in almost all these conflicts simply because they fight harder for their cause and have more people who are prepared to die for it. 'The resource curse alone can't explain the mass extinction of independent nation-states in the Middle East and North Africa, or why extreme Islam became the only ideology capable of mobilising opposition' – Patrick Cockburn on Somalia Syndrome, from the
"07.06.2016 11:35:33" lrb.co.uk Thomas Jones: A Study in Depravity Williams doesn't say anything that hasn't already been said, but I doubt anyone's said so much of it in such a concentrated form before. On 15 April the LRB blog published a post about Heathcote Williams's latest pamphlet, titled Boris Johnson: The Beast of Brexit – A Study in Depravity. Williams has privately circulated his unsigned pamphlets for forty years, but public interest in his
"07.06.2016 07:38:34" lrb.co.uk Michael Carlson: Bells after Fifteen Rounds 'This kid fights great, he's got speed and endurance/If you sign to fight him, increase your insurance.' 'At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, before the basketball match between the US Dream Team II and Angola, Ali, who had lit the Olympic torch to open the games, arrived courtside. The Angolans broke off their warm-ups to crowd around, followed by the Dream
"06.06.2016 17:32:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · Sheila Fitzpatrick · Obscene Child 'It seemed to me that I had heard a voice of God – and that it issued from a creature whose own voice I had also heard – and it was the voice of an obscene child!' 'How to portray Mozart: do it in fiction, and put the inadmissible sense of sublimity in the mouth of a character. Then nobody need be embarrassed, and if the character insists on destroying the genius he recognises, no matter: it's a fiction, after
"06.06.2016 11:54:09" lrb.co.uk Hugh Pennington: Zika Aedes aegypti also transmits dengue, which is on the rampage in Brazil. It can cause muscle and joint pain (an old name for it was 'break bone fever'). If I were the manager of an Olympic team, dengue would worry me far more than Zika. Don't cancel the Olympics.
"06.06.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Hacking · Whose body is it? Americans are confused by the very thought of transplanted animal parts, and fear that they will become animal themselves. 'Expert opinion is quite strongly in favour of hybrids over cyborgs' – Ian Hacking on transplant organs, from the #LRBarchive.
"05.06.2016 15:43:20" lrb.co.uk LRB · Karl Whitney · Diary Thousands of coal fires burn above and below ground in countries around the world. They can be found in Australia, Borneo, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia and the US, on every continent except Antarctica. The main road into town sunk eight feet in height and people started passing out in their houses from the carbon monoxide building up in their basements. The petrol tanks at the filling station started to heat up and, in 1981, a hole in the ground opened
"05.06.2016 10:01:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jeremy Harding · Paris Drowning The 1910 flood was a media jamboree, like a modern-day disaster in Africa with fewer human consequences. 'Most of the animals in the zoo were wrestled or coaxed to safety, including the crocodiles, which tried to head for the river. A giraffe, refusing to condescend to all the fuss, stood calmly in the rising water and later died of pneumonia.'
"04.06.2016 16:00:01" lrb.co.uk Tom Overton: Broadcasting Felix In 1928, a foot-high papier-mâché Felix the Cat was the first image to be broadcast on TV, spinning round on a turntable in the NBC studios in New York to test the new technology. 'You can go in!' one said. 'Oh my god!' said the other.
"04.06.2016 13:00:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Robert Potts · Smirk Host Panegyric A Prynne poem requires several slow readings to grasp its dispersed echoes and connections. On each reading a different pattern might appear: clusters of words from a particular semantic field, or words with similar sounds or letters. 'It is the fate of some artists,' John Ashbery once remarked, 'and perhaps the best ones, to pass from unacceptability to acceptance without an intervening period of appreciation.'
Robert Potts on J.H. Prynne, from the latest issue.
"04.06.2016 08:56:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Upton · Ready to Rumble Ali drove a pink bus with 'The World's Most Colourful Fighter' painted on its side, while turning from the wheel to lecture his travelling companions. In almost every way, he flew in the face of what was to be expected from a black man. 'Watch footage from the fights – Ali's wide eyes, the impact of his punch – and just for a second, between the flashes of ringside cameras and the wreaths of cigar smoke, it's impossible not to see this heroic prodigy as the embodiment of hope and
"03.06.2016 17:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Richard Eyre · The Court The Royal Court is the perfect size for a playhouse; it seats about four hundred people (two hundred fewer than in Granville-Barker's day), it has perfect acoustics (if one can ignore the occasional rumble of the Circle Line). 'There was a time when it was frowned on to attend productions at the RSC if you worked at the Court, professional suicide not to be seen leaving before the interval, and actual suicide to profess enjoyment of an RSC production.'
Richard Eyre on The
"03.06.2016 15:08:42" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Carpenter · Promises, Promises Wat Tyler was knocked from his horse by the mayor of London, William Walworth, and then run through the body by one of the king's knights. The king now defused the situation by riding among them and saying he would be their leader. 'The next government to attempt a poll tax was Thatcher's' – David Carpenter on the Peasants' Revolt, from the latest issue.
"03.06.2016 11:25:38" Will Self visits Kafka's grave 'Miserable coins, tokens, pathetic shrine mentality. We have lost the old faith!'
Will Self visits the grave of Franz Kafka, who died #otd in 1924. Watch Will Self's Kafka Journey: A Prague Walking Tour, our 2012 documentary, in full: lrb.me/pd0
"02.06.2016 17:07:05" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Barrell · Beyond the Cringe 18th-century British art is a braid of 'intertwining narratives', a series of transactions between opposite, sometimes conflicting qualities, characteristics and influences, associated with the cultures of different social classes. 'Patrons and artists were wary of appearing too polite when to be so may have made them seem too French' – John Barrell on David Solkin on art in Britain 1660–1815.
"02.06.2016 11:43:29" lrb.co.uk Chris Couch: What has the DfE got against philosophy? It isn't good that young people who really want to study philosophy should be required to study religion instead. 'England and Wales have a strange system for teaching philosophy. The subject is almost entirely absent from the 11-16 curriculum and, when it is taught, it is through the lens of religion.'
"02.06.2016 08:45:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Neal Ascherson · Hopping in His Matchbox Hitler did in fact have a private life, although a pretty boring one, and did have friends, most of them married couples where the wife would mother Adolf, feed him cream cakes and be rewarded with displays of 'Austrian charm'. 'Hitler didn't have a Jewish grandfather, he didn't spend his childhood in poverty, his father didn't beat him more than most European fathers of the day belted their sons, he wasn't bipolar, he didn't have only one ball or syphilis, he wasn't
"01.06.2016 17:51:43" lrb.co.uk John Perry: Welcome to the Hellmouth Masaya was formed about 6000 years before the Spanish arrived, the product of a huge explosion by an earlier supervolcano, which created a caldera measuring ten kilometres by five. In 1529, after the Spanish conquest, Francisco de Bobadilla climbed the volcano in what is now Nicaragua, looked down into its fiery crater, decided it must be the entrance to hell and had a cross put up to keep it firmly shut. Soon afterwards, a more
"01.06.2016 16:56:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Neal Ascherson · Hopping in His Matchbox Hitler did in fact have a private life, although a pretty boring one, and did have friends, most of them married couples where the wife would mother Adolf, feed him cream cakes and be rewarded with displays of 'Austrian charm'. 'Hitler didn't have a Jewish grandfather, he didn't spend his childhood in poverty, his father didn't beat him more than most European fathers of the day belted their sons, he wasn't bipolar, he didn't have only one ball or syphilis, he wasn't
"01.06.2016 11:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Paul Foot · The Card-Players If Chris Mullin does know the bombers, then the six men who have now been in prison for nearly twelve years are not the bombers and the most terrible crimes have been committed against them, in the names of all of us. 'Anyone who questions the verdict against an Irish bomber is assumed to be a bomber himself. As a result of this extraordinary logic, the authorities have been able to get away with mistakes, inconsistencies and far worse.'
Paul Foot wrote about the
"01.06.2016 10:04:48" Naomi Klein on trees as weapons of occupation 'Trees are among the most glaring symbols of Israel's system of official discrimination: the one that must be dismantled if peaceful coexistence is to become possible.'
Naomi Klein delivered the annual Edward Said London Lecture, on the violence of
"31.05.2016 16:45:43" lrb.co.uk LRB · R.W. Johnson writes about a national disgrace Paul Foot has a shocking story to tell, the story of Colin Wallace and Kincora Boys' Home. It is, quite literally, a story of gunpowder, treason and plot. 'Nothing less than a British Watergate' – R.W. Johnson wrote about the Kincora Boys' Home, the framing of Colin Wallace and 'the very British hushing-over of this affair' in 1989. #LRBarchive
"31.05.2016 12:34:10" lrb.co.uk LRB · Gavin Francis · British Cohort Studies Without cohort studies, the extent of our social problems – and potential ways of solving them – will remain opaque. As a general practitioner my work is informed daily by the medical conclusions of these studies. 'Rich and bright, rich and dim, poor and bright, poor and dim' – Gavin Francis on poverty, placentas and private schooling.
"31.05.2016 08:38:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Davidson · Too Young What is interesting about Bosie is that he was such a thoroughly bad character. It only adds to the fascination that this bundle of malice, treachery, deceit, hypocrisy and vanity was wrapped up in such attractive features. 'He alleged that Churchill had been paid by a well-known Jew to publish a false report on the Battle of Jutland so that financiers could make a killing on the New York Stock Exchange and that, moreover, Lord Kitchener's ship, the Hampshire, had been blown
"30.05.2016 16:30:00" Naomi Klein on water stress and conflict 'Now, with climate change, intensifying drought is having all sorts of impacts along the aridity line. The connection between water stress and conflict is a recurring pattern, from Libya to Gaza, and some of the bloodiest battlefields in Afghanistan and
"30.05.2016 12:00:00" lrb.co.uk Matt Myers: In Madrid Seventeen members of the Andalusian Workers Union (SAT) have been on hunger strike, camped out in central Madrid, since 16 May. 'It has weakened us, and people are shaky,' Juan Pastrana Serrano told me. A movement of rural farm workers founded in 2007, the Andalusian Workers Union (SAT) is famous for occupying fallow land, left uncultivated by large landowners, and returning it to the collective use of jornaleros (day labourers). They have also organised
"30.05.2016 09:30:01" Timeline Photos 'A reminder that, with rare exceptions, photographers find what they come looking for.'
Liz Jobey reviews 'Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers' at the Barbican Centre: http://bit.ly/1sm1PKe
"29.05.2016 17:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Deborah Friedell · Short Cuts Southern states no longer require their citizens to pay poll taxes or, if they're black, to pass impossible 'literacy' tests (sample question: name all 67 county judges in Alabama) – but there are other ways to keep certain people from voting. 'More than three million people live in Maricopa – it includes Phoenix – but it had only sixty open polling stations, one for every 21,000 registered voters, and not nearly enough voting machines. But that's hardly a record. In 2004, students in Gambier,
"29.05.2016 13:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · E.P. Thompson · Wordsworth's Crisis 'I am of that odious class of men called democrats,' Wordsworth wrote to his friend William Mathews in 1794. Much the same can be said of Coleridge, on the evidence of his letters and publications of the mid-1790s. 'A poet's internal crises may take place in private regions which biographers cannot reach' – E.P. Thompson on Wordsworth and Coleridge, from the #LRBarchive.
"29.05.2016 10:00:01" lrb.co.uk 'If I ever see you in the street, I hope you get shot' Has the internet made people more hateful? Perhaps. Or it may simply have made it easier for people to express their hate. 'I ended up moderating comments at the Guardian for two years: without a doubt, the worst job of my life' – Dawn Foster on online abuse, from the LRB blog.
"28.05.2016 13:07:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Jack · The Best Stuff The Observer was patrician, humane, cosmopolitan and inspiring, and behind it lay the struggle of a very rich man to do good. 'That's a lovely piece,' somebody might say of a report in the Observer. 'Yes,' someone else might drily add, 'his usual thing – think of a metaphor and then double it.'
Ian Jack on David Astor, from the latest issue.
"28.05.2016 10:00:00" lrb.co.uk David Runciman: Mourinho Returns Success for Mourinho is success for Mourinho, not for the clubs that he manages. If he works his usual magic, United will end up in worse shape than he found them, whatever highs he gives them along the way. José Mourinho sauntered into Old Trafford looking his best: leaner, hungrier and dressed to kill. It was as though he had been grooming himself for a date with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which in a way he has.
"27.05.2016 16:30:00" lrb.co.uk Letters · LRB 2 June 2016 Under the Shadow of Rhodes, Trans, What have the railways ever done for us?, Milovan Djilas, In Suffolk, Read everything but this. 'Wow. The LRB, 5 May. What a scorcher! I'm thinking of writing to the Guinness Book of Records. Every page was readable. Except the letters page, of course.'
And other recent letters to the editor.
"27.05.2016 11:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · T.J. Clark · Picasso and the Fall of Europe Picasso's Icarus is 'sinister', Penrose says – a 'tattered apparition,' 'the shadow of a man head downwards'. But Icarus is also shapeless, weightless, insubstantial, silly, not really present in his black container – not really part of the scene. 'It was only in the real-size, forty-piece Fall of Icarus that Picasso escaped from Cubism – from the studio, from “viewpoint”, from proximity and tactility, from the whole spatial and figurative world of Guernica – and showed us the world after
"27.05.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk Michael Carlson: Homage to Madeleine LeBeau LeBeau and her husband, Marcel Dalio, had fled Paris ahead of the Nazi invasion. Like Victor and Ilsa, they obtained letters of transit from Spain to Lisbon. It's one of the most memorable close-ups in film: Madeleine LeBeau, as Yvonne, tears streaming down her face, shouts 'Vive La France!' after joining the patrons of Rick's Café Americain in the 'Marseillaise' to drown out the Nazis' singing of 'Die Wacht
"26.05.2016 21:22:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Burrow · Grit in the Oyster-Shell Pepys was a philanderer who could feed a wench lobster before having his way with her under a chair in a tavern (twice, on a good day), and a moralist who wrote solemnly to rebuke his chief patron, the Earl of Sandwich, for an affair. When Samuel Pepys died on 26 May 1703, aged 70, the autopsy confirmed that he had lived hard: his lungs were full of black spots, his kidneys full of stones and his gut was discoloured and septic.
"26.05.2016 17:09:44" Naomi Klein on the violence of othering 'Fossil fuels require sacrifice zones. They always have, and they still do. And you don't have a system built on sacrificial places and sacrificial people unless intellectual theories exist that justify their sacrifice.'
Naomi Klein delivered the annual
"26.05.2016 12:07:22" lrb.co.uk Hugh Pennington: Rise of the Superbugs Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the cause of gonorrhoea, typifies the AMR problem. Over the last 70 years, strains developed resistance first to sulphonamides, then penicillin, then tetracycline, then ciprofloxacin, then cefixime. In 2014 the prime minister commissioned Jim O'Neill to conduct a review and make recommendations to 'defeat the rising threat of superbugs'. O'Neill's final report, published on 19 May, predicted that superbugs could kill 10 million people a year by 2050,
"26.05.2016 09:37:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jan-Werner Müller · Europe's Sullen Child Ten years ago, London might have had a different vision for Europe and been taken seriously, even rallied other member states. Now Britain is seen not just as inward-looking, but as selfish and sullen. 'Dealing with the UK was like trying to manage a narcissistic child' – Jan-Werner Müller on Breurope, from the new issue.
"25.05.2016 18:04:07" Maggie Nelson and Olivia Laing on The Argonauts Last night we streamed live from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event featuring Maggie Nelson in conversation with Olivia Laing about The Argonauts, Nelson's acclaimed memoir. You can watch the first ten minutes or so from fifteen minutes in,
"25.05.2016 17:10:16" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk Events Future visitors to the bookshop include Prac Crit, Tom McCarthy, Marcus de Sautoy, Geoff Dyer, George Monbiot and John Lanchester. We'll be streaming live on this page, at 7pm tonight, from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event featuring Maggie Nelson in conversation with Olivia Laing about The Argonauts, Nelson's acclaimed memoir.
Future visitors to the bookshop include Prac
"25.05.2016 11:59:42" lrb.co.uk Contents · LRB 2 June 2016 Our new issue is now online, featuring Naomi Klein on the violence of othering in a warming world, Jan-Werner Müller on Breurope, T.J. Clark on Picasso's Fall of Icarus, and Ian Jack on David Astor.
"25.05.2016 08:49:24" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Blackbourn · Princes, Counts and Racists Cultural greatness in decline and the juxtaposition of Goethe with Hitler – these are the two narrative axes along which Michael Kater tells the story of Weimar. 'In 1772 Christoph Martin Wieland was hired as tutor to the crown prince, the classic occupation of the late 18th-century man of letters. Goethe arrived three years later, fresh from the Europe-wide success of The Sorrows of Young Werther. He recommended
"24.05.2016 16:44:31" lrb.co.uk Rajeev Balasubramanyam: No thank you, Jeeves Wilful blindness to racism runs deep in British society, and remains a major obstacle to the anti-racist cause. By ignoring racism, we re-enact it. Rereading Thank You, Jeeves (1934) a few days ago, I was shocked to discover P.G. Wodehouse's repeated use of the N-word.
"24.05.2016 11:46:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Meaney · Little Old Grandfather Conversations with Stalin is one of the few accounts by an outsider of Moscow under Stalin. Few foreigners were able to penetrate the Kremlin, much less publish anything about it. 'Stalin preferred war films or, if he was in need of uplift, happy collective farm movies and Hollywood favourites like Boys Town and It Happened One Night. At the slightest hint of nudity or impropriety on screen, Stalin – an erratic puritan – had the
"24.05.2016 08:37:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Runciman · He shoots! He scores! It is true that Mourinho is more or less unique in being able to offer both the glamour and the number-crunching. 'Oh the fantasies these people have about the difference they can make' – David Runciman on José Mourinho, from the #LRBarchive.
"23.05.2016 20:35:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Bee Wilson · Cloche Hats and Perms Right to the bloody end, and despite their reputation as the most terrifying murderers in the South-West, they retained a pathetic desire to please their respective mothers, both of them fiercely religious matriarchs. 'They're young. They're in love. They rob banks' – Bee Wilson on Bonnie and Clyde, from the #LRBarchive.
"23.05.2016 17:16:29" lrb.co.uk Dawn Foster: Labour's Identity Crisis Treating working-class people like Gillian Duffy and fictional cab drivers as quaint but racist oracles isn't the way to win votes. A better place to start would be with more working-class MPs. 'The trope of the taxi driver who “tells it like it is” is beyond cliché, but it persists because for many people in the political world, sitting in the back of a taxi is the only time they're forced to speak to a working-class person for more than a
"23.05.2016 11:33:55" lrb.co.uk LRB · Malcolm Vale · Complete Internal Collapse If any theme links the books discussed here, it is the victory of the 'common man' – as represented by English and Welsh archers – on the battlefield of Agincourt, over the chivalric aristocracy of France. Louis of Orléans is described as 'vicious: dissolute, and unstable, addicted to gambling and womanising, surrounding himself with wild friends and throwing debauched parties'. The count of St-Pol is 'a braggart … [with] no clear idea of what he was trying
"23.05.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk Ryan Gilbey · Putting the Manifesto before the Movie On Carla's Song, he gave the actor Robert Carlyle a run-down of his character. 'Your name's George and you drive a bus. Maybe it would be a good idea if you learned to drive a bus.' 'If Ken Loach could make a film without a camera, he would' – Ryan Gilbey on the now two-time Palme d'Or winner, from the #LRBarchive.
"22.05.2016 16:57:20" lrb.co.uk Christian Lorentzen: Trump's Final Foxwashing Tuesday saw Trump's final Foxwashing, the end of the feud between the candidate and Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly. 'You are so powerful,' said Megyn Kelly, asking whether Trump's style wasn't a bit too bullying, setting a bad example for the nation's children. Had he ever been emotionally wounded? 'When I'm wounded,' Trump replied, 'I go after people hard and I try to
"22.05.2016 11:39:16" lrb.co.uk LRB · Raphael Cormack · Short Cuts Only a few weeks ago the battered copy of Africa Must Unite seemed to be an exciting and lucky find. Now it seems to be weighing me down. 'To Mohammed Ali
Raphael Cormack finds, left behind in Cairo, the copy of 'Africa Must Unite' the then president of Ghana gave Muhammad Ali when Ali visited Africa in 1964.
"21.05.2016 14:20:58" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Shatz · Deleuze and Guattari 'Say stupid shit. Barf out the fucking-around-o-maniacal schizo flow.' 'Like many professional subversives, Deleuze and Guattari worked well in institutions' – Adam Shatz on radical theory's odd couple, from the #LRBarchive.
"21.05.2016 11:15:50" lrb.co.uk LRB · August Kleinzahler · Under the Flight Path He was reading a volume called Beckett Remembering, Remembering Beckett, a gathering of reminiscences. 'And to think,' Christopher said, 'that I've been stuck in a shithole like this for all these years when I could have been in Paris!' 'In 1977 or so I had decided to bite the bullet and send a few poems to Middleton. In essence, I was asking them if I was any good. He wrote back promptly and with enthusiasm. I couldn't have been happier if I'd just won the lottery, and on the same day
"20.05.2016 16:48:48" Timeline Photos 'For the most part the zenith of Russian portraiture is, through its focus on the architects of national culture, solidly male. It wasn't until the early 1920s, enthusing about Vladimir Tatlin's visionary but unfulfilled project for a Monument to the
"20.05.2016 12:04:20" Seymour Hersh: Iran 'My own take on it is that the Iranians got away with the deal of the century, they gave up something they didn't have' – Seymour Hersh on the Iran Nuclear Deal, from a conversation with the LRB's editor-at-large Christian Lorentzen. Watch it in full:
"19.05.2016 17:59:22" lrb.co.uk Letters · LRB 19 May 2016 Trans, Unfair to Merkel, What is money?, Crisis in Brazil, Resistance Myths, In Suffolk, Putin in Syria, Iraqi Healthcare, Fashion is indestructible, The Heaneid, Our Daily Dread, and 'Pornotopia'. Since I wrote 'Crisis in Brazil', the Lower House of the Brazilian Congress, more than half of whose members face criminal investigation of one kind or another, has voted to impeach President Rousseff. At the behest of the speaker, Eduardo Cunha, deputy
"19.05.2016 11:38:26" lrb.co.uk LRB · Bee Wilson · Like Cold Oysters Her musical persona was highly, and brilliantly, constructed, however artless it was intended to seem. In private, she was amusing and loved practical jokes, but her act was devoid of irony. 'More than looks, Piaf projected the sound of the streets, even though her huge voice was the very thing that had propelled her away from Pigalle. One journalist compared her powerful timbre to the rasping shout of a greengrocer in the market. Another
"19.05.2016 08:39:31" lrb.co.uk Anna Aslanyan: The Intertitle Vanishes One of the earliest movies on which Alfred Hitchcock is known to have worked is the 1922 British silent Three Live Ghosts. The original is gone, together with Hitchcock's intertitles, but last year a copy was found in Moscow. The Soviet censor found the film too complacent: 'The World War is a negligible episode in the eternal and indestructible bourgeois prosperity of the English.'
"18.05.2016 17:30:00" Seymour Hersh on making sense of Washington 'The way to get a feel in Washington is actually read before you write, and I mean that on a mega scale.'
Watch the full conversation between the LRB's editor-at-large Christian Lorentzen and Seymour Hersh: lrb.me/4r0
"18.05.2016 15:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Lavinia Greenlaw · Indoor Raincoat Curtis was diagnosed with epilepsy two years before he died but seems to have experienced seizures or absences from an early age. His lyrics read like the single continuous expression of someone struggling to be present, and prone to shock. 'DEAR ANNIK, I LOVE YOU. I FEEL VERY TIRED AT THE MOMENT.' Lavinia Greenlaw on Ian Curtis, from the #LRBarchive
"18.05.2016 12:18:46" lrb.co.uk Thomas Jones: A Study in Depravity Williams assembles a blistering charge sheet against his target: climate change denial, dishonesty, hypocrisy, incompetence, racism, violence, 'a ruthless and often cruel ambition together with an elitism and a ferocious temper when challenged'. On 15 April the LRB blog's editor, Thomas Jones, published a post about Heathcote Williams's latest pamphlet, titled Boris Johnson: The Beast of Brexit – A Study in Depravity. Williams has privately circulated his unsigned pamphlets for forty years, but
"18.05.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk Wail Qasim: 'Keeping London Safe' Last Thursday, Sadiq Khan announced that from April next year there will be 400 more firearms officers in London. 'Nothing is more important than keeping London safe,' the mayor said in his first major announcement. Sadiq Khan's office claims that more armed police in London would better 'protect the capital from gun crime and terrorism'. But it was in the name of protecting London from gun crime and terrorism that Jermaine Baker, Mark Duggan and Jean Charles de
"17.05.2016 18:37:15" We're streaming live from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event celebrating the legacy of the historian and sociologist Benedict Anderson. Tariq Ali is in conversation with Laleh Khalili and T.J. Clark.
"17.05.2016 18:34:55" We're streaming live from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event celebrating the legacy of the historian and sociologist Benedict Anderson. Tariq Ali is in conversation with Laleh Khalili and T.J. Clark.
"17.05.2016 18:05:12" We're streaming live from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event celebrating the legacy of the historian and sociologist Benedict Anderson. Tariq Ali is in conversation with Laleh Khalili and T.J. Clark.
"17.05.2016 16:35:21" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk Upcoming Events at the London Review Bookshop London's best independent bookshop We'll be streaming live on this page from the London Review Bookshop's sold out event celebrating the legacy of the historian and sociologist Benedict Anderson, who died last year, from 7pm tonight. Tariq Ali will be in conversation with Laleh Khalili and
"17.05.2016 11:30:13" lrb.co.uk LRB · Charles Nicholl · Unsluggardised When the Romantic painter Benjamin Robert Haydon heard news of the discovery he wrote excitedly to his friend Keats: 'If this is not Shakespeare who is it? … As sure as you breathe & that he was the first of beings the Seal belonged to him!' 'On 16 March 1810 a Mrs Martin, a labourer's wife, was working a field near Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon when she turned up an old gold signet ring bearing on its bezel the initials W.S.'
Charles Nicholl on 'The Shakespeare Circle', from
"17.05.2016 08:42:30" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Phillips · Judas' Gift This Judas was bringing a new sound, a new vision. Being called Judas incited Dylan, released him into being the person he had become. He played the loud music even louder. He took on the role, and it freed him, for the moment. At a now famous concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, Dylan was playing his new electric and electrifying music when a disaffected folkie in the audience shouted 'Judas'. Dylan responded by instructing his band to 'play fucking loud' what turned out
"16.05.2016 16:40:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ferdinand Mount · Nigels against the World The Leavers don't seem to have much clue about what is to happen afterwards. Curious, considering so many of them have spent their adult lives agitating for this moment. What makes it so tempting to regard 'Brexosis' as a mental disorder is its persistent streak of paranoia. Brexotics have always regarded the EU as a deep-laid plot to undermine and eventually to extinguish the nation-state in general and Britain in
"16.05.2016 11:28:28" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jasper Becker · The Chinese Cultural Revolution For thirty years MacFarquhar has been wrestling with the most fascinating puzzle of all: what was the Cultural Revolution and how did it come about? In the spring of 1966, China seemed a stable, disciplined and united nation. 'If Mao could call the shots, why shoot the pianists?' – Jasper Becker reviews Roderick MacFarquhar's 'Origins of the Cultural Revolution' trilogy, from the #LRBarchive.
"16.05.2016 08:41:09" lrb.co.uk Frances Stonor Saunders · Where on Earth are you? All migrants know that the reply to the question 'Who on earth are you?' is another question: 'Where on earth are you?' And so they want what we've got, a verified self that will transport them to our side of history. 'A boat carrying more than five hundred Eritreans and Somalis sank off Lampedusa in October 2013. Whether they had lost their identity papers, or destroyed them, when facing death the people on board wanted to be known. As the boat listed and took on
"15.05.2016 17:52:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · George Melly · Robbing banks All talented Surrealist painters (the poets were not at risk) faced the danger of drowning in money. To win was to fail. Ernst, Miro and Magritte himself were all eventually dispossessed. 'It was almost midnight when, because it was pouring with rain, René telephoned for a taxi. The driver proved to be a surly fellow and growled that Lulu the dog was not to be allowed on the seat. Having first helped Georgette into the cab, Magritte
"15.05.2016 09:48:26" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies The film's choosing not to relate the first years except as the object of a difficult, denied nostalgia does seem to be part of a myth of success: only the broken years count, along with the final redemption. 'Why can't we see early success as anything other than a burden?' – Michael Wood on Miles Ahead.
"14.05.2016 15:31:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Daniel Smith · On the Spectrum To flourish, psychiatric diagnoses need both to conform to reality and to be useful. Asperger's quickly showed itself to be useful. The concept 'filled a need'. 'As psychiatric concepts go, it has proved uncommonly susceptible to interpretation, appropriation and expansion' – Daniel Smith on autism.
"14.05.2016 10:28:59" lrb.co.uk Molly Smith: Lucky You It's worth asking why the hashtag lent itself so easily to being co-opted by the corporation that should feel most sharply rebuked by it. 'It's hard not to see the #fawcettflatsFriday hashtag as a symptom of the Lean In model of feminism.'
"13.05.2016 16:51:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · Anna Neistat · Diary About five hundred people managed nevertheless to get away and cross the border into Kyrgyzstan. A few days later, I arrived at their refugee camp with several colleagues from Human Rights Watch and started asking people what had happened. On 13 May 2005 thousands of local people, including many women and children, began to gather in the city of Andijan in eastern Uzbekistan, demanding an end to corruption and injustice; there were rumours that the president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov,
"13.05.2016 09:15:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mary-Kay Wilmers · Diary Karl Miller, the LRB's first editor, met Jenny in the early 1990s, and sensing a contributor, suggested that I get in touch with her – 'you'll get on with her, she's a bit like you.' 'Jenny and I had a good time. We played cards – a game called Spite and Malice – and fell out: she thought I was a bad loser; I thought she was a bad winner. We went to Valencia to watch a firework display (the ground shook) that the Guardian had asked
"12.05.2016 18:03:22" We're streaming live from the London Review Bookshop's sold out David Bowie event, featuring Simon Critchley in conversation with Thomas Jones of the LRB.
"12.05.2016 16:28:16" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk Upcoming Events at the London Review Bookshop Benedict Anderson's legacy, Hamlet Fold on Fold, Sally Potter's 'Yes', Maggie Nelson with Olivia Laing, Darian Leader and Tom McCarthy, and Marcus du Sautoy in conversation with Jim Al-Khalili. We'll be streaming live on this page from the London Review Bookshop's sold out David Bowie event, from 7pm tonight. Simon Critchley will be discussing his book about Bowie with the editor of the LRB blog, Thomas Jones.
Future visitors to the bookshop
"12.05.2016 12:00:09" lrb.co.uk Bernard Porter: Goodbye to Boleyn The walk from the station to the ground passes between small terrace houses, many of them turned into chippies and pie and eel cafes, which make walking along it an olfactory as well as a visual and aural delight. I shall miss it terribly. 'And so the capitalist juggernaut rolls on, the Boleyn Ground its latest victim. It may be worth the move to Stratford if it prevents scenes in the streets like Tuesday night's. But the warmth and comradeship and humour and smell of frying onions may not
"12.05.2016 08:38:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · Sheng Yun · Memoir of an Only Child We are the chubby (pampered) babies surrounded by parents and grandparents in posters and cartoons. Being spoiled was the least of it. The attention a couple pay to their only hope can be overwhelming. Often they were very strict. I was born in 1980, the year China implemented the one-child policy: I don't have siblings, and neither do my peers. Whenever a Westerner learns that I'm an only child, the facial expression is a give-away: 'You must have been terribly spoiled' or 'You
"11.05.2016 16:29:32" lrb.co.uk LRB · Hilary Mantel · 'Kinsella in His Hole' The year we killed our teacher we were ten, going on eleven. Mitch went first, the terrier, a snappy article with a topknot tied with a tartan ribbon. 'The year we killed our teacher we were ten, going on eleven. Mitch went first, the terrier, a snappy article with a topknot tied with a tartan ribbon. The morning we saw him we hooted. He didn't like us laughing and he flew to the end of his lead, and
"11.05.2016 12:37:26" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online, featuring Sheng Yun on the one-child policy, Daniel Smith on autism, Ferdinand Mount on Brexit and a new story by Hilary Mantel: http://lrb.me/ur0
"11.05.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Daniel Trilling · Stuck in Sicily Although the situation in Greece has come to dominate people's attention, Italy remains a major point of entry for irregular migrants. Last year, according to UNHCR, more than 150,000 people arrived in Italy. On a sound file sent to me via WhatsApp, a teenage girl sobs, and an older woman says: 'Don't worry, the white people will help you.'
"10.05.2016 19:00:27" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jacqueline Rose · Who do you think you are? Today, trans people – men, women, neither, both – are taking the public stage more than ever before. In the words of a Time magazine cover story in June last year, trans is 'America's next civil rights frontier'. 'Transsexual people are brilliant at telling their stories. That has been a central part of their increasingly successful struggle for acceptance. But it is one of the ironies of their situation that attention sought and gained is not always in their best
"10.05.2016 16:35:42" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Drake · A Few Pitiful Traitors Two political forces dominated post-Liberation France: Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French, and the French Communist Party (PCF), at that point the biggest and most popular party in the country. David Drake on the two competitive narratives of the French Resistance.
"10.05.2016 08:45:00" lrb.co.uk Ben Jackson: Canada Burning It's true that more sober people couldn't help but see the 'black irony' of the fire, as Drew Brown put it for Vice; Fort McMurray is a symbol of the dirtiest side of the fossil fuel economy. Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, Canada, was notorious for one thing: oil sands. That fact is impossible to get away from – the more so now that it's notorious for something else: burning to the ground.
"09.05.2016 16:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Donald MacKenzie · Why isn't banking cheaper? Viewed through the lens of Philippon's analysis, it's possible to see the virtues of the smaller, simpler, safer, cheaper financial system of the 1950s and 1960s, and indeed all four of those attributes ought to be goals of financial policy. Sometimes, the most important – and perturbing – insights make their way into the world without fanfare. As yet, few have picked up on an analysis by the New York University economist Thomas Philippon of the history of the unit cost of financial
"09.05.2016 11:30:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Inigo Thomas · Lola did the driving 'I have given you the facts,' Pevsner said of Buildings of England. 'You must go and look at them and make up your own mind.' 'The way some of its admirers talk about Suffolk, you wonder whether it ever emerged from the Dark Ages' – Inigo Thomas on Pevsner on Suffolk.
"08.05.2016 13:15:01" Charles Hope: Giorgione, Mancini and Titian 'I'm not aware of any other case in the history of Western painting, in which an artist is supposed to have borrowed, for no obvious reason, two such insignificant details from another painter.'
Watch our film about the Royal Academy's Giorgione
"08.05.2016 09:07:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Edgar · Stalking Out: After John Osborne From within a few weeks of its opening in May 1956, it's been accepted that John Osborne's Look Back in Anger ushered in a theatrical revolution. 'The creation myth of the contemporary British theatre' – David Edgar on John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, performed for the first time #otd 60 years ago. From the #LRBarchive.
"07.05.2016 14:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Keymer · The Tonsons The seed capital came from Tonson's patient strategy, also followed by his nephew, of securing the rights to the works of writers such as Shakespeare, Milton and Dryden, and endowing them with the prestige of a national canon. Who invented English literature? As good a claimant as any is the London bookseller Jacob Tonson (1656-1736). With his hard-nosed nephew Jacob the younger (1682-1735), Tonson dominated the publishing business of his day and died a landed gentleman.
"07.05.2016 09:45:44" lrb.co.uk Fatema Ahmed: Sadiq Khan's Symbolic Victory I wasn't expecting to be so pleased about Sadiq Khan being elected mayor of London. I was underwhelmed when he won the Labour nomination, and even more underwhelmed when the Conservatives chose Zac Goldsmith. Neither candidate seemed as if they'd rather The mayor of London doesn't have control over much apart from transport and planning policies, but he administers a budget of £17 billion and, perhaps more important, has a chance to make a case for progressive politics outside parliament, which is where
"06.05.2016 17:48:11" Timeline Photos 'One note, five times, louder each
time, followed, after a fraught
pause, by a soft cuckle of
wet pebbles, which I could call
a glottal rattle.'
On nightingales and trysts, from the LRB blog: lrb.me/0r0
"06.05.2016 16:42:58" lrb.co.uk Sam Kinchin-Smith: Nightingales A lonely English nightingale, audible from some distance away, was an unmoving target for late night rendezvous in pre-electric societies. 'one note, five times, louder each
time, followed, after a fraught
pause, by a soft cuckle of
wet pebbles, which I could call
a glottal rattle'
"06.05.2016 12:05:27" lrb.co.uk LRB · Hilary Mantel · If you'd seen his green eyes The life of Maximilien is conventionally divided into 31 years that don't matter and five that do. It's like the life of Christ: private obscurity followed by public ministry and agonising and public death. 'He expected it to end badly, and it did' – happy 258th birthday Maximilien Robespierre, from Hilary Mantel and the #LRBarchive.
"05.05.2016 16:59:00" lrb.co.uk John Perry: The Council Housing Sell-Off Disaster According to Shelter, 'the only group it appears to help on a significant scale will be those already earning high salaries who should be able to afford on the open market without government assistance.' 'We are not talking about a “back of an envelope” calculation – there is no envelope at all.' John Perry on the Housing and Planning Bill, from the LRB blog.
"05.05.2016 11:59:59" Giorgione and the problem of attribution 'Almost all the experts are convinced, on the basis of no evidence at all, that apart from Titian and Sebastiano, who soon left for Rome, there were no other painters of real talent working in this general idiom in northern Italy in the years around 1510.
"04.05.2016 17:17:51" lrb.co.uk Thomas Jones: Labour and Anti-Semitism You can't discount an argument on the grounds that you suspect some of its proponents of ignoble motives for making it. According to the Home Office statistical bulletin on hate crime in England and Wales last year, 'Muslim adults were the most likely to be a victim of religiously motivated hate crime.' There is no sign that Zac Goldsmith is in any danger of being
"04.05.2016 11:56:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Penman · Ways to Be Pretentious She is great at reminding us all of our own youthful dreams; it's just a whole lot tougher to make them coincide with reality these days than she suggests. 'Smith, who turns seventy this year, has had just one hit single in forty years, and the only one of her 11 albums with an unassailable reputation is her glorious debut, Horses. I've known many people who dearly love Horses, but I can't recall a single
"04.05.2016 08:34:30" lrb.co.uk LRB · Steven Shapin · Haeckel's Embryos The original version of the most famous of Haeckel's embryo pictures was a woodcut spread across two pages of a book from 1868 grandly titled Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (translated as The History of Creation). There are scientific principles whose mnemonic power, meanings and implications for future inquiry come in part not from words but from images – two-dimensional pictures or three-dimensional models. Consider the relationship between the Tree of Life and
"03.05.2016 16:36:59" lrb.co.uk Mary Wellesley: St Uncumber's Patch Her story has several variants, but most agree that she was the daughter of a pagan king of Portugal. Her father wanted her to marry the king of Sicily. Having taken a vow of virginity, she refused. 'Hieronymus Bosch's picture of Saint Wilgefortis is perhaps one of his least strange paintings. It shows a bearded woman being crucified.'
"03.05.2016 10:07:05" Charles Hope on Giorgione and 'optimistic guesswork' 'The exhibition gives a good overview of now widely held ideas about Giorgione: that he was a vastly influential and prolific artist but had no coherent style of his own; that the pictures identified by his are not representative of his output; and that
"02.05.2016 21:21:48" lrb.co.uk Josh Stupple: 'Satoshi, Baby!' On the conference floor, I was reminded what this has always been about: money, old and new. Every conversation I had circled toward the millions that the real Satoshi must have access to, and what effect Wright's claim will have on bitcoin's value. 'Garrick Hileman, of the Cambridge Centre of Alterative Finance, is worried about the implications of Wright's claim. “Satoshi as an absentee landlord was useful, it allowed entrepreneurs and innovators to take ground – and that may well be gone now.
"02.05.2016 06:53:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · The Search for Satoshi There was something resigned about him as he pressed the keys. 'Talk to me,' I said, 'as if you're talking to an 18-year-old of medium intelligence.' The unmasking of Satoshi Nakamoto: a world exclusive from Andrew O'Hagan and the LRB: lrb.me/gn0