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"22.02.2017 15:29:17" lrb.co.uk James Butler: Milo's Stumble Will Yiannopoulos survive? His reinventions have always depended on the charity of his audience. 'One might marvel at what stirs the underused muscles of conscience in a Breitbart staffer were the temptation to schadenfreude not so overwhelming' – James Butler on Milo Yiannopoulos, from the blog. Artwork from our 28 September 1989 cover.
"22.02.2017 12:49:18" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online: lrb.me/7ck
"22.02.2017 10:08:26" Edouard Louis: 'misery memoirs' 'Every day when you go to the bookshop, you will see so many bourgeois memoirs. And nobody will say, pejoratively, oh it's a bourgeois memoir! It's only when poor people write.' Edouard Louis on victimisation, misery memoirs and 'The End of Eddy', from
"21.02.2017 21:01:25" lrb.co.uk Ellie Mae O'Hagan: In Baltimore The organisers I met there believe that ordinary people already know how to change the world, but lack the tools and encouragement they need to do it. 'In Baltimore, I saw a microcosm of what broad-based resistance to the Trump administration might look like' – Ellie Mae O'Hagan on the Algebra Project, from the LRB blog.
"21.02.2017 17:11:19" Timeline Photos Too kind, Melanie Phillips! Time to subscribe? mylrb.co.uk/fb17a
"21.02.2017 14:02:03" lrb.co.uk Roxanne Varzi: Am I an immigrant? Something magical happened on the morning after the election: people began posting on Facebook and writing texts and emails declaring solidarity with Muslims for the first time since 9/11. I am an American, an Iranian, an immigrant, a citizen, a Catholic-Muslim agnostic anthropologist.
"20.02.2017 19:03:59" Edouard Louis on social class in France 'When we say “France”, it means, not my mother, not my father. And we felt that when I was a kid. And now they are having their revenge.' Edouard Louis on social class and 'The End of Eddy', from his recent London Review Bookshop event with Tash Aw. Watch
"20.02.2017 13:05:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nathan Perl-Rosenthal · Dangerously Amiable Spurned by republicans as a traitor and feared by Bonapartists as a competitor, Lafayette was erased from official celebrations of the revolution. 'America's favourite fighting Frenchman' – Nathan Perl-Rosenthal on the marquis de Lafayette, reconsidered, from the latest issue.
"20.02.2017 09:45:10" lrb.co.uk LRB · Simon Schama · Berenson's Elixir In the public mind, he became the incarnation of Renaissance man, sustaining an exquisite humanism amidst the detritus of European cultural collapse. 'A prudential approach to immortality is understandable coming from someone who had been transmogrified into a sacred relic during his lifetime' – Simon Schama on Bernard Berenson, from 1980.
"19.02.2017 20:34:54" lrb.co.uk LRB · Sophie Pinkham · When were you thinking of shooting yourself? In the decades since, the suicide of the great poet of the Revolution has been seen as the Soviet Union's point of no return. 'His extravagant gift required an extravagant end' – Sophie Pinkham on Mayakovsky, from the latest issue.
"19.02.2017 14:30:27" lrb.co.uk Moira Donegan: Arguing with Strangers Last year, an organisation called Protest Planned Parenthood, or #ProtestPP, put out a call to people opposed to abortion to demonstrate outside Planned Parenthood clinics across the US. The people on the anti-abortion side were older, paler; they wore different clothes from us and spoke with a different accent. It felt like being among foreigners. If it hadn't been for how deeply we disagreed with one another, we would never have met at
"19.02.2017 11:32:28" lrb.co.uk LRB · J.E. McGuire · Helio-Hero Nicolas Copernicus's reform of astronomy delivered a formidable blow to our sense of self in nature. 'In its effects, Copernicanism probably affected human consciousness more deeply than Darwinism' – J.E. McGuire on Nicolas Copernicus, born #otd in 1473, from the #LRBarchive.
"18.02.2017 19:10:06" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rory Stewart · How to Serve Coffee Why, when both Britain and Aleppo had been for four hundred years part of the same empire, were so many features preserved in Aleppo, but abandoned in Britain? 'Gymnastic contortions were required for the proper serving of coffee' – Rory Stewart on the old city the Battle of Aleppo destroyed, from the latest issue.
"18.02.2017 14:31:35" lrb.co.uk Winter Lectures · LRB In M, The Big Heat and the Dr Mabuse movies, Fritz Lang memorably conjures up three crime worlds: those of the psychopath killer, the mobster and the evil mastermind. Last few tickets left for Michael Wood's LRB Winter Lecture on Friday 24 February at the British Museum, which explores, through the movies of Fritz Lang, how lively crime can be, and how cinema contributes to that effect.
"18.02.2017 09:37:44" lrb.co.uk Helen Mackreath: In Istanbul It takes at least six months for Syrian babies born in Turkey to get identity cards. The procedure includes security checks on their parents. 'According to official figures, there are more than 2.8 million Syrian refugees in Turkey; nearly 400,000 of them are under five years old' – Helen Mackreath in Istanbul, from the LRB blog.
"17.02.2017 17:24:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Peter Campbell · So, puss, I shall know you another time Only a few painters – or photographers, like Lartigue – can match Hockney's attention to the passing detail of his own life. 'He is a painter of good times, the right official image-maker for those who say that is what we are having' – Peter Campbell on David Hockney, from the archive.
"17.02.2017 12:56:47" lrb.co.uk Adam Shatz: The Art of the Bigger Deal Never in their history have the Palestinians been so alone, without even ritual expressions of solidarity in Arab capitals. Never have they been in such desperate need of new leadership. Mourning over the death of the 'peace process' ignores the fact that it has been dead for some time – Adam Shatz on Trump and the two-state solution, from the LRB blog.
"17.02.2017 10:32:18" Photos from London Review of Books's post 'Dismembered lock, Toy frog, Rubber dragon, Toy camera, Assorted wheels and electrical parts, Clock parts, Broken comb, Bent fork, Various unidentified found objects, Parts of a radio, Old RAF bomb sight, Shaped pieces of wood, Natural objects such as
"16.02.2017 17:54:20" lrb.co.uk Laurence Tribe: The Trump Acceleration Mounting doubts about Trump's mental stability, emotional deficiencies and divided loyalties have had little time to gain traction in the whirlwind of colourful news stories. 'Few if any of us can keep the real issues in mind as Trump tosses one shiny object after another into the winds of public discourse' – Laurence Tribe on 'the sheer volume and rapidity of successive Trump outrages', from the LRB blog.
"16.02.2017 14:35:30" lrb.co.uk Eliot Weinberger: The Month of Trump Trump's campaign collusion with a foreign government is already an impeachable offence, though it will take a lot more for the Republicans to send him down his gold-plated drain. Like all scandals, this week's revelations merely add concrete details to what was already intuited: the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russian intelligence to affect the election.
"16.02.2017 12:13:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Turner · Diary Nothing Welsh has done since has been as good as Trainspotting – not much anyone else has done has been either. But everything he does is interesting. 'It repeats the trick Danny Boyle did with the London Olympics ceremony, reflecting its audience straight back on itself, only bigger and nicer and much, much better-looking, wrapping it in a shiny gift bag, tied up with a bow' – Jenny Turner on T2
"15.02.2017 18:05:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colm Tóibín · The Last Witness 'All art,' he wrote, 'is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up.' 'He was interested in the soul's dark intimate spaces much more than in the body politic' – Colm Tóibín on James Baldwin, from 2001.
"15.02.2017 13:26:30" lrb.co.uk Adam Shatz: The Deep State I've been thinking a lot, lately, about what these fantasies mean (aside from the obvious desires they express), and how we might use them. 'Many, perhaps most of us who live in coastal cities have found ourselves having criminal thoughts and violent fantasies since 9 November' – Adam Shatz on the American deep state and assassination fantasies, from the LRB blog.
"15.02.2017 09:59:26" lrb.co.uk Samuel Earle: Justice for Théo On 2 February, Théo Luhaka, a 22-year-old black youth worker, was stopped by police in the northern Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, where he lives. #justicepourtheo
"14.02.2017 20:40:10" lrb.co.uk LRB · Joanna Biggs · Marguerite Duras 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. (See today's #valentines from the #LRBarchive) 'One reason love is terrible is that men are terrible.'
"14.02.2017 18:29:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rosemary Dinnage · Happy you! His appeals for her affection are monotonously desperate; but he has never understood her at all, she evidently says in one of her replies. 'I am your true father, and ... you are my creature, my creature, my creature' – happy #valentines from Pirandello.
"14.02.2017 16:51:40" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Burrow · Tuesday Girl John Evelyn was a dry old stick – and here that metaphor has an almost literal force, since his first and greatest love was for trees. 'You have brought your selfe into Bonds, you can never untie whilst you live' – happy #valentines from John Evelyn.
"14.02.2017 13:07:02" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Newton · 'I love you, defiant witch!' Aged nearly forty, Williams fell for Phyllis Jones, the 25-year-old blonde librarian at Amen House. This was the first of a series of affairs in which he would opt for a blessed state of sexual frustration. 'I love you, baby! I love you, defiant witch!' – happy #valentines from Charles Williams.
"14.02.2017 09:51:50" lrb.co.uk LRB · Charles Nicholl · Everything is ardour The aphrodisiac qualities of illness were a commonplace of decadent literature, and d'Annunzio was an insistently amorous presence at his lovers' sickbeds. 'I think that when you are dead you will reach the supreme light of beauty' – happy #valentines from Gabriele D'Annunzio.
"13.02.2017 19:04:15" lrb.co.uk Victoria Princewill: David Davis, Diane Abbott and Misogynoir After the Brexit vote in Parliament last week, David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union, sexually harassed Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, in a House of Commons bar. Davis's behaviour was an unethical show of male dominance aimed at demeaning Abbott. Failing to recognise that fact legitimises a strain of sexism targeted at silencing and shaming black women.
"13.02.2017 13:49:53" lrb.co.uk LRB · Paul Addison · Lord Randolph's Coming-Out Like a sudden flame his ministerial career burnt itself out within eighteen months, extinguished by a rash miscalculation while he was still only 37. 'Speech by speech and letter by letter, Lord Randolph Churchill is to be found arguing gleefully on both sides of every question' – Paul Addison on Winston's dad, who was born #otd in 1849, from the #LRBarchive.
"13.02.2017 10:42:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · Short Cuts Master spies come in many guises, and the role of Dubonnet and gin in disabling the chief ideologies of the 20th century shouldn't be underestimated. 'The only surprise may be that Papa stopped at doubles when quadruples were on the horizon' – Andrew O'Hagan on Hemingway the spy, from the latest issue.
"12.02.2017 18:58:47" lrb.co.uk LRB · Iain Sinclair · The poet steamed: Tom Raworth Raworth, uniquely, is both Ted and Mod: the rock'n'roll romanticism of Jack Kerouac with the unblinking stamina of the Soho cruiser; jazz and flash tailoring. 'The last poet left standing in the saloon' – Iain Sinclair on Tom Raworth, from the #LRBarchive.
"12.02.2017 15:21:22" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Trotter · I say, damn it, where are the beds? Blair, it would appear, 'was born with a singularly diagnostic sense of smell. He had the beagle's rare ability to particularise and separate out the ingredients that go into any aroma.' 'I've sometimes thought that Orwell's famous distinction between good, bad and good-bad books could be applied to the odours that pervade the ones he himself wrote' – David Trotter on Orwell's nose and prose, from the new issue.
"11.02.2017 18:18:27" Timeline Photos 'We see things in his pictures as though through closing elevator doors or theatre curtains' – Michael Hofmann on Max Beckmann, from the new issue: lrb.me/kck
"11.02.2017 15:43:52" lrb.co.uk David S. Foglesong: Not So Innocent The uproar is not about facts. It is about affirming an idealistic American self-image that has for more than a century been buttressed by contrasts to its dark counterpart, Russia. 'Trump and Putin have an important opportunity to work together against international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, drug trafficking and other threats. That chance may be missed if journalists and politicians persist in vilifying Putin, harassing
"10.02.2017 17:06:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Barrell · A Smile at My Own Temerity Depending on which source you believe, George II was either fascinated or appalled by the painting. 'A very upright guard in front of the brothel, who has something of the air of Jacob Rees-Mogg' – John Barrell on Hogarth, from the new issue.
"10.02.2017 13:41:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Iain Sinclair · The Raging Peloton: Boris Bikes 'Every time I hear that ting,' he said, 'I feel like kicking one of the bastards into the canal.' 'They are in full kit, hard-shell helmets ribbed like condoms. Like acid-stripped, exposed brains. Ting ting. Blinking red eyes in the twilight. The peloton is organic, a single entity; a multi-wheeled centipede hogging a path no wider than a recumbent
"10.02.2017 10:27:26" lrb.co.uk LRB · Karen Liebreich · Typing for Goebbels I went to see her at her flat in Munich. She had grey hair, a brisk manner and sharp eyes behind her glasses. The windowsills of her flat were filled with geraniums. 'I thought how strange it was for the daughter of a Holocaust survivor to be drinking coffee with Goebbels's typist' – Karen Liebreich on meeting Brunhilde Pomsel, one of Josef Goebbels's secretaries, from the new issue.
"09.02.2017 18:27:46" lrb.co.uk Carlos Fraenkel: In Quebec According to initial media reports, which later proved mistaken, there were two shooters, one of them Muslim. The Muslim 'suspect', it later turned out, was trying to help the victims. 'The mosque massacre undermined whatever political goals the attacker may have had. It united politicians of all parties and Canadians across the country in condemning the crime and reaffirming diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance as fundamental
"09.02.2017 13:46:58" lrb.co.uk Alex Abramovich: Ode to Joy Working in today's Hungary, Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra know their way around a political statement, and as statements go, this one was subtle and powerful. 'All of these people with all the power and money and control … have they ever performed Beethoven's Ninth?'
"09.02.2017 10:24:45" lrb.co.uk LRB · Sidney Blumenthal · A Short History of the Trump Family The most enduring blight left behind by Donald Trump, long after he has smashed things up, will be the pile of books devoted to trying to make sense of him 'What he represents, above all, is the triumph of an underworld of predators, hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze that festered in a corner of New York City, a vindication of his mentor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, a figure unknown
"08.02.2017 18:27:15" 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'. '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 Homer's Penelope to Elizabeth Warren.
"08.02.2017 13:28:22" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Bromwich · Act One, Scene One There has not been a time in the past half-century when Americans stood so much in need of a political opposition. Our new issue is now online, featuring Sidney Blumenthal on the new first family, David Trotter on Orwell's nose and prose, Karen Liebreich on Goebbels's secretary, an evil bird on the cover, and David Bromwich on the first scene of the first act of the
"08.02.2017 10:28:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Meaney · Ten Bullets to One, Twenty to Another Independence was handed to Ceylon's elite on a platter. 'Think of Ceylon as a little bit of England,' Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke, the first native governor-general, said. 'Violent Buddhists' – Thomas Meaney on postcolonial Sri Lanka, from the last issue.
"07.02.2017 13:42:18" lrb.co.uk Anna Aslanyan: Shambles in Court Some blunders are striking: a man charged with perverting the course of justice called a 'pervert'; 'bitten' confused with 'beaten'; 'charge' translated as 'fine' rather than 'accusation'. 'Translation is like rubbish collection: no one notices it until something goes wrong' – Anna Aslanyan on court interpreting in the age of outsourcing, from the LRB blog.
"06.02.2017 18:13:20" John Lanchester's Amazon Echo 'It's obsessed with Ryan Gosling' – John Lanchester on his relationship with his Amazon Echo. Watch the full video: youtu.be/0AYaTp3r-A4
"06.02.2017 10:36:43" lrb.co.uk LRB · Peter Pomerantsev · Dead Man's Coat Teffi moves seamlessly from sadness to laughter and back again like a hologram sticker: you end up drifting from one feeling into another with no sense of a border between joke and tragedy. How does a comic writer describe a world that has stopped being funny?
"05.02.2017 16:51:49" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alison Light · Diary Every marriage is a cabinet of curiosities. In the biographies or obituaries of public men especially, so much is kept offstage or revealed sensationally, salaciously; memoirs are still rarely written by the wives. 'Another twelve Althusserians for breakfast!' I would joke, or half-joke – Alison Light remembers life with Raphael Samuel, from the latest issue.
"05.02.2017 10:30:42" lrb.co.uk Michael Carlson: Before the Super Bowl You can bet on whether Trump will attend the game, but the prospect of a crowd whose response to him would be unpredictable is likely to keep him away. Today's Super Bowl LI will be a test of a national mood we haven't seen since the 1960s.
"04.02.2017 17:01:16" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Bromwich · Act One, Scene One There has not been a time in the past half-century when Americans stood so much in need of a political opposition. 'The national security state that Obama inherited and broadened, and has now passed on to Trump, is so thoroughly protected by secrecy that on most occasions concealment will be an available alternative to lying' – David Bromwich on act one, scene one of
"04.02.2017 11:00:30" lrb.co.uk Deborah Meyler: Don't Forget Pence If Trump stays in power unimpeached, then Pence still wields power. The likelihood, though, is that Trump will go. Pence will then appear to rise as naturally as good white bread. In two weeks, everyone forgot to worry about Mike Pence.
"03.02.2017 18:05:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · J. Robert Lennon · Gloriously Fucked 4321, as published, is not a novel; it's notes towards one. It reads like every novelist's binder of ideas: what if X happens? Would Y result in Z? '4321 is not a masterpiece of self-awareness. Its central failure is that it has almost no self-awareness at all. It doesn't even know it isn't finished' – J. Robert Lennon on Paul Auster's latest, from the new issue.
"03.02.2017 11:12:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Bee Wilson · Pinocchio In Carlo Collodi's original, there is no time or inclination for moral whistling. Peasant Tuscany in the 1880s is a much harsher world than Disney's Mitteleuropean fantasy of 1940. 'If you only know the Disney film, it comes as a shock to read the original story of Pinocchio and discover that the Talking Cricket is killed by Pinocchio at their very first meeting.'
"03.02.2017 09:54:21" lrb.co.uk LRB · William Davies · The Big Mystique Early in 2014, the Bank of England put out a quarterly bulletin entitled 'Money Creation in the Modern Economy' which put to bed one of the most persistent – and false – claims in the history of economics. 'The problem with viewing the future as territory to be plundered is that eventually we all have to live there. And if, once there, finding it already plundered, we do the same thing again, we enter a vicious circle.'
William Davies on central banks and
"02.02.2017 18:39:48" Racial stereotypes in British WW2 propaganda 'Most curious is Hitler, who could sometimes be a jolly little cartoon figure and at other times this flesh-eating monster' – Rosemary Hill on British propaganda in the Second World War. Read more: lrb.me/tkk
"02.02.2017 13:31:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · Yonatan Mendel · Activestills Members of the group, which formed in 2005, are often the only external witnesses to these infractions. They record things that aren't meant to be seen. The Israeli army says Palestinians who protest against soldiers are terrorists; Activestills shoots back with photographs of Palestinian civilians standing in silent resistance.
"02.02.2017 10:59:09" lrb.co.uk LRB · Wendy Doniger · What did they name the dog? Once upon a time, two identical twins were separated at birth; neither knew she had a twin. Years later, they chanced to be in the same place at the same time, and each was mistaken for the other. 'Twins are Rorschach tests: we read into them whatever we want to prove.'
"01.02.2017 19:05:54" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · You Have A Mother Don't You? It's odd to think that Abraham Lincoln was killed by an actor, because most of the memorable American Presidents to follow him were actors in their blood. 'He made some terrible films, and many of his good films have terrible things in them, and as a man he was almost certainly terrible all the time, but greatness is no hostage to goodness of character, and his hatefulness and sentimentality, his
"01.02.2017 12:02:56" lrb.co.uk Wail Qasim: Real Fear My parents brought me to London when I was two years old, seeking refuge from Somalia's civil war. To guarantee our safety they left behind a home, friends, family and much of what was familiar in the world. If Muslims are to survive we will need a popular resistance movement that recognises that Trump couldn't have done what he did if it hadn't been normalised long ago. The travel ban must be defeated, but a return to 'normal' will not be enough.
"31.01.2017 18:06:38" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Lanchester · Short Cuts Overall, I've been agreeably surprised by how useful the Echo has been. Voice-activated technology is going to be very big. 'A six-year-old girl in Dallas covertly ordered herself a dollhouse from Echo. Amazon, to her parents' surprise, delivered one costing $170, as well, mysteriously, as four pounds of sugar cookies' – John Lanchester on his Amazon Echo, from the latest
"31.01.2017 14:33:32" Timeline Photos 'Why was it that English Impressionism was so profoundly feeble?'
T.J. Clark on Paul Nash at Tate Britain, from the new issue: lrb.me/p8k
"31.01.2017 10:48:50" lrb.co.uk Eliot Weinberger: The First Ten Days A military coup is no longer unimaginable in the USA: Trump calling for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Pyongyang and the spooks and brass rising against him. 'The Republicans have let loose Godzilla on the land and they own the rubble' – Eliot Weinberger on Trump's first ten days.
"30.01.2017 21:30:37" lrb.co.uk Inigo Thomas: Ann Coulter's 'Intricately Knit Conspiracy' She said later that she had been a member of 'a small, intricately knit right-wing conspiracy' that existed with the 'purpose of bringing down the president'. It may sound as if she was joking, but she wasn't. 'She is a monster' – Inigo Thomas on Ann Coulter, from the LRB blog.
"30.01.2017 18:05:05" lrb.co.uk LRB · Norman Dombey · North Korea's Bomb North Korea has taken note of what happened to Iraq and Libya after they renounced nuclear weapons: the US took military action against both, and both countries' leaders were killed amid violence and chaos. 'Barack Obama is said to have told Donald Trump at their post-election meeting that North Korea is the biggest foreign threat the US faces' – Norman Dombey on North Korea's bomb, from the latest issue.
"30.01.2017 13:52:54" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Harding: Benoît Hamon Unlike Valls, Hamon regards French Muslims as allies rather than enemies, especially in his own constituency, Yvelines, a Paris suburb. 'Hamon is the candidate of the future, but the future is further away than round one of the presidentials' – Jeremy Harding on Benoît Hamon and the French presidential elections, from the LRB blog.
"30.01.2017 10:43:28" lrb.co.uk Kiana Karimi: At JFK For the fifteen minutes I was waiting, I didn't see a single white person among us. The line of US citizens denied automatic entry were all, without exception, black and brown people. The scene at JFK yesterday was unlike anything I had seen before in the US. For the first time in many years, I was reminded of my childhood in Iran, when the intelligence services would knock on doors, enter people's houses and ask random questions. The
"29.01.2017 17:39:15" lrb.co.uk Musab Younis: They cannot return home Like all settler colonies, the US has a long history of fixation on the colour of the skin of those who enter and, especially, reside within its borders. It may be tempting to see Trump's order as an unprecedented break with previous policy, but the list of countries whose citizens are now banned from entering the US is based on a bill that President Obama signed into law in December 2015.
"29.01.2017 11:37:54" Rosemary Hill on British WW2 Propaganda 'You see a spade digging for victory turning into the prow of a great ship' – Rosemary Hill on British propaganda in the Second World War. Read more: lrb.me/tkk
"28.01.2017 17:47:27" lrb.co.uk Oliver Miles: Britain Declines In the last month Theresa May has given striking evidence of a tilt towards Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel. 'A strange moment for Britain to be volunteering for the role of poodle' – Oliver Miles on Theresa May, from the LRB blog. Artwork from our 15 April 1999 cover.
"28.01.2017 15:11:58" lrb.co.uk LRB · Patrick Cockburn · Who supplies the news? The partisan reporting of the siege of East Aleppo presented it as a battle between good and evil: The Lord of the Rings, with Assad and Putin as Saruman and Sauron. 'By presenting the siege of East Aleppo as the great humanitarian tragedy of 2016, Foreign leaders and the international media diverted attention from an even greater tragedy that was taking shape three hundred miles to the east in northern Iraq' –
"27.01.2017 18:38:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Lahr · Greasers and Rah-Rahs 'No one you have ever been and no place you have gone ever leaves you,' he writes. His catalogue is one long epic poem of loss, a saga of desire laced with disillusion. 'The memoir's value is that it risks embarrassment' – John Lahr on Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run', from the new issue.
"27.01.2017 15:25:24" lrb.co.uk The Editors: Tam Dalyell Tam Dalyell, who served as the Labour MP for West Lothian (later Linlithgow) from 1962 to 2005, died yesterday. 'I believe there should be a major inquiry into the conduct of the Falklands conflict, like that which followed the Crimean War or the Jameson Raid during the Boer War. I believe that such an inquiry might reveal Mrs Thatcher in her true colours – as a
"27.01.2017 09:48:55" lrb.co.uk Helen McCarthy: Nineteen Thirty-One If the left didn't find a constructive policy to tackle Britain's economic problems at root, Leonard Woolf warned in the Political Quarterly in autumn 1931, the right would go on 'triumphing until it has created conditions which almost inevitably result 'For Labour, split between Leave voters and Remainers, changing the conversation may in the long run be the only route back to electability' – Helen McCarthy on similarities between 1931 and the present moment, from the blog.
"26.01.2017 17:47:50" lrb.co.uk LRB · Hilary Mantel · How do we know her? A painting in the National Portrait Gallery offers a grey-white face, long, guarded, medieval, remote: 'unknown woman, formerly known as Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury'. 'Did she plot against the crown? Did she, as the regime alleged, burn the evidence that incriminated her? Or was there, as she claimed, nothing worth burning?' Hilary Mantel on Margaret Pole, from the new issue.
"26.01.2017 12:49:20" lrb.co.uk Thomas Jones: How does it make you feel? Victims of torture will tell you something, and probably something you want to hear, but there is no reason to think the information will be reliable, or what used to be called true. 'If you want someone to tell you something useful, don't wreck their memory' – Thomas Jones on whether torture works, from our blog.
"26.01.2017 10:18:22" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stephen Sedley · The Judges' Verdicts There may be no alternative to a detailed Great Repeal Bill and a prolonged parliamentary odyssey. 'Whether diplomatic withdrawal from the EU treaties is regarded as turning off the tap or dismantling the plumbing, its purpose and effect would be to dispense with extant legislation which makes EU law part of the UK's legal system. That is something
"25.01.2017 19:46:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Susan Pedersen · The Women's March It's hard to know just what will happen – though 'Today we march, Tomorrow we run for office,' was one good sign. Or as my group chanted, making its way to the White House: 'We're here. We won't go away. Welcome to your very first day.' Super-shallow-fragile-ego-Trump-UR-atrocious
"25.01.2017 13:26:06" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online, featuring Hilary Mantel on Margaret Pole, Patrick Cockburn on misreporting in Syria and Iraq, Norman Dombey on North Korea's bomb and John Lahr on Bruce Springsteen: lrb.me/ykk
"25.01.2017 09:45:00" 'Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech Ring' 'She's a factory girl, the sort of person who would not normally have featured in art at all' – Rosemary Hill on British propaganda in World War Two. Watch the full video: youtu.be/BJLQdnIyRwU
"24.01.2017 21:30:05" lrb.co.uk LRB · Garth Greenwell · No nation I've ever heard of At the beginning of Matthew Griffin's novel, Wendell, his eighty-something narrator, finds his partner collapsed in their garden, face up in the North Carolina sun. 'It isn't about the new and more expansive shapes queer lives can take in the era of marriage equality, it's about the way lives and relationships are formed and deformed, sometimes in extreme ways, by repression and the terror of exposure' – Garth
"24.01.2017 16:53:02" lrb.co.uk LRB · Oliver Sacks · The Leg It was a very isolated area, and no one knew where I was. I was alone, with a grossly injured and useless left leg. I thought I would die, but to my surprise I was saved. 'In 1974 I was tossed off a cliff. The circumstances were slightly absurd: I was on a mountain in Northern Norway, and I had a contretemps with a bull' – the story of his suddenly useless leg, by Oliver Sacks, from 1982.
"24.01.2017 13:14:06" lrb.co.uk Alexandra Reza: After Jammeh In December, the #GambiaHasDecided movement reinforced the message that it was the public, not Jammeh, who were the protagonists in the story. 'The contrast between the ease with which European citizens were whisked away from danger before it had even materialised, and the tribulations of Gambians trying to flee Jammeh's regime, speaks to gross international inequalities of mobility and wealth,
"24.01.2017 11:02:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Hofmann · Stalin is a joker Twenty, twenty-five years later, the books are addictive, moreish, still fresh, thin textured, a little unsatisfying (perhaps that goes with their addictiveness) and obvious. 'A Kundera book is a northern holiday from standard domestic fiction: there are probably more engrossing things to do somewhere else, but hey! it's a holiday' – Michael Hofmann on Milan Kundera, from the archive.
"23.01.2017 17:54:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stephen Holmes · Bomb Power Among the public, bomb power fosters a cult, elevating the president from commander in chief of the military to commander in chief of the nation, enjoining all American citizens to spring smartly to attention and salute. 'The president of the United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use, and be authorised to use, in the event of a nuclear attack on the
"23.01.2017 14:06:01" lrb.co.uk Moira Donegan: On the Women's March I was surprised by how small the White House is. It could be a stately home or a school. There may never be so many of Trump's enemies outside it again, and I wondered how easy it would be for all of us to walk in and take it for ourselves. There was a constant soft chant of 'Excuse me … Sorry … Pardon' – Moira Donegan on the Women's March, from the LRB blog.
"23.01.2017 11:24:56" lrb.co.uk LRB · Glen Newey · Utopia in Texas England under Henry VIII – Donald Trump with a codpiece – was never likely to conform to More's aberrant Catholic vision, as underlined by his execution for failing to endorse the Henrician Brexit from Rome. 'Shit, like nothing, happens anywhere, these utopian writers seem to say, but what matters is keeping it localised' – Glen Newey on Thomas More, from the latest issue.
"22.01.2017 18:45:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Marina Warner · You must not ask Carroll used childishness to mock pompousness and authority and rules and regulations; the little girl offered him a vehicle. 'His love of girl children is central to his strangeness' – Marina Warner on Lewis Carroll, from the #LRBarchive.
"22.01.2017 14:29:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Kidd · Not Very Permeable Stewart set out on his quest with undisguised polemical intent, 'to show that there were no permanent differences between England and Scotland, between my cottage in Cumbria and my father's home in Scotland'. 'He is honest about his failure to uncover what he had naively assumed he would find' – Colin Kidd on Rory Stewart on the borderlands between England and Scotland, from the latest issue.
"22.01.2017 11:00:01" lrb.co.uk Deborah Friedell: He won, won, won 'We're going to win, win, win. You people. You're going to be sick and tired of winning. You're going to say: “Mr President: please, we can't take it anymore.”' Was Trump thinking of The Twilight Zone when, repeatedly, on the stump, he promised that under his administration, Americans are going to 'win at everything we do'?
"21.01.2017 18:22:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rebecca Solnit · From Lying to Leering Hillary Clinton was all that stood between us and a reckless, unstable, ignorant, inane, infinitely vulgar, climate-change-denying white-nationalist misogynist with authoritarian ambitions and kleptocratic plans. 'Perhaps the president is married to the nation in some mystical way; if so America is about to become a battered woman, badgered, lied to, threatened, gaslighted, betrayed and robbed by a grifter with attention-deficit disorder.'
"21.01.2017 14:34:07" Timeline Photos 'How do you fight this monster?' a poem by Amit Chaudhuri from 2003. Read Chaudhuri's 32 other essays, poems and stories in the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/jkk
"21.01.2017 11:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Clare Bucknell · Oven-Ready Children An ability to describe things exactly as they happened was remarkable in the context of the kind of verse being produced at the time by London's small army of poets and poetasters. 'A better mock-flatterer than most poets could manage to be in earnest' – Clare Bucknell on Jonathan Swift, from the latest issue.
"20.01.2017 19:00:17" Timeline Photos 'American Football is a rough poem, but in the era of Trump it seems to say something that it didn't when I read it on Tavistock Square all those years ago' – Inigo Thomas on a poem Pinter sent the paper in 1991, from the LRB blog: lrb.me/2kk
"20.01.2017 17:57:43" Eileen Myles's Presidential Acceptance Speech 'Guns will be buried. Guns will be in museums and people would increasingly not want to go there. Gun museums would die: what was that all about?'
Last night at the London Review Bookshop, Eileen Myles, who ran for president in 1992, read her
"20.01.2017 13:10:21" lrb.co.uk Edward Luttwak: Why Fascism is 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. Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future by Edward Luttwak, an essay from 1994. Artwork from our 23 October 2008 issue.
"20.01.2017 10:33:37" lrb.co.uk August Kleinzahler: Inauguration Day Young Ubu, ever on the make, tried to ingratiate himself with the Reagans throughout the 1980s, inviting them to Mar-a-Lago and various events, but they continually rebuffed his advances. 'The Pollyanna in me would like to remind those hiding in their basements with an eight-year supply of protein powder and Green Giant corn niblets that when Ronald Reagan took office at noon on 20 January 1981, the prospect of an extremely right-wing
"19.01.2017 19:05:34" Eileen Myles live at the London Review Bookshop This was a livestream from the London Review Bookshop's sold-out event featuring poet and radical icon Eileen Myles in conversation with Olivia Laing.
"19.01.2017 18:16:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Castle · Terror on the Vineyard When slave girls rebel, boss ladies watch out! In literature as in life, the revenge of a female underling on a female superior can be a messy business – with limbs, eyeballs, breasts, and other detachable body parts left dripping in gore. 'As anyone familiar with Myles's precocious, punked out, exquisitely droll work will know, her aggression is inevitably tempered by a paradoxical fellow-feeling. The poet's own histrionic travails link her with the coots and the loons. Impertinence is
"19.01.2017 13:09:22" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: The Prince and the Ladybird Apparently his storytelling skills were honed at Balmoral on a captive audience: his younger brothers Andrew and Edward (from them, Charles was but a small step away from hobnobbing with root vegetables). 'It's hard to know whether to read this as a mea culpa or a cry for help' – Glen Newey on Prince Charles's new Ladybird book about climate change.
"19.01.2017 09:31:00" Livestream: Eileen Myles Livestream: Eileen Myles We will be livestreaming the @[10762030811:274:London Review Bookshop]'s sold-out Eileen Myles event on this, our Facebook page, from 7pm on Thursday 19 January.
Icon of radical American letters Eileen Myles has produced more than 20 volumes of fiction, We will be livestreaming the London Review Bookshop's even more than usually sold-out event featuring poet and radical icon Eileen Myles on this page from 7pm this evening.
"18.01.2017 18:20:16" lrb.co.uk John Perry: No Separate Queue for Cubans 'We're leaving,' my Cuban friend N. told me in November. 'We're building a raft.' I was shocked, partly because he planned to leave, partly because of the way he planned to do it. As the US spokesperson put it, at the border post 'there's not going to be a separate queue for Cubans' – John Perry on Cuban migrants' diminishing options, from the LRB blog.
"18.01.2017 14:10:55" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jeremy Harding · i could've sold to russia or china He stood 5'2”, he was minded to distinguish right from wrong and sense from nonsense, he was gay. 'Manning was not a monopod life-form in the crater of Babel, leaking and tweeting for gain: he was an intelligence staffer tormented by classified material he'd opened and trawled' – Jeremy Harding on Chelsea Manning, from 2012.
"18.01.2017 12:02:52" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stephen Sedley · Short Cuts Free speech advocacy needs to face up to the full magnitude of what it advocates; for nobody today can seriously believe in the existence of a utopian forum, a marketplace of ideas, where the true drives out the false. 'It is not widely appreciated that the largest beneficiary of journalistic source protection in Britain is central government' – Stephen Sedley on anonymity, free speech and internet trolls, from the latest issue.
"17.01.2017 19:28:18" lrb.co.uk LRB · Arthur Snell · How to Read the Trump Dossier Intelligence is information, from a privileged source, that supports decision-making. It is seldom verifiable because that information is rarely in the public domain. 'The events that came to light last week – when a dossier of intelligence reports surfaced online alleging Donald Trump's eccentric sexual exploits, a long-running conspiracy between Trump and the Russian regime, and inappropriate financial deals over
"17.01.2017 13:52:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Jones · The Planet That Wasn't There Last January, a pair of scientists at the California Institute of Technology, Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown, announced that they had discovered compelling evidence of an as-yet-unseen giant planet – Planet X. 'Something massive must have pulled Sedna out into that orbit, but what?' Thomas Jones on phantom planets, from the latest issue.
"17.01.2017 09:35:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Turner · Reasons for Liking Tolkien Like so many people, I spent a lot of time when I was younger lolling about and dreaming in the world to which Tolkien was demiurge in The Lord of the Rings. Far too much time, and with an intensity I now find scary. A writer, born around 1890, worked bits of ancient writings into his own massive masterwork, magnificently misprising them as he went. Clue: it wasn't Pound.
"16.01.2017 18:15:33" lrb.co.uk LRB · Joseph Stiglitz · The Non-Existent Hand It has become a commonplace to say, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, that 'we are all Keynesians now.' 'His insights are needed now if we're to save capitalism once again from the capitalists' – Stiglitz on Keynes, from the #LRBarchive.
"16.01.2017 13:18:02" lrb.co.uk LRB · Julian Barnes · At the Fondation Louis Vuitton What must it have been like, you find yourself wondering, to have been that collector, with that money, in that Paris, at that time – that short, brilliant period of European art? 'Some friends laughed at his Gauguins, while another visitor to his Moscow mansion took what the catalogue describes as “un crayon protestatoire” to one of the Monets' – Julian Barnes on the Shchukin Collection at Fondation Louis Vuitton, from the latest
"16.01.2017 11:03:42" lrb.co.uk Marina Warner: At the Gogol Centre As I watched, and the torrent of Russian tumbled over me, I didn't struggle. I let it carry me as here and there a word – usually a proper noun (Hamlet, Paris, Neva, Don) – glinted in the spate. 'Can you speak Russian? No? So why go to the theatre when you can't understand a word?'
"15.01.2017 18:50:28" Timeline Photos 'Saving Time', a poem by Ian Patterson for John Berger, from the new issue. Listen to a London Review Bookshop and Verso Books discussion about Berger: lrb.me/hkk
"14.01.2017 18:00:00" Emily Witt goes to Burning Man 'I could have sex three more times today, if my body could take it,' I said.
'I could have sex five more times,' he said.
Listen to Emily Witt, whose new book 'Future Sex' is out now in the UK, read her diary about going to Burning Man from 2014:
"14.01.2017 13:49:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Shatz · Where Life Is Seized Frantz Fanon has been remembered in a lot of ways, but almost all of them have foregrounded his advocacy of resistance, especially violent resistance. 'Author of the anti-racist jeremiad Black Skin, White Masks; spokesman for the Algerian Revolution and author of The Wretched of the Earth, the 'bible' of decolonisation; inspiration to Third World revolutionaries from the refugee camps of Palestine to
"13.01.2017 18:52:45" Livestream: Eileen Myles Livestream: Eileen Myles We will be livestreaming the @[10762030811:274:London Review Bookshop]'s sold-out Eileen Myles event on this, our Facebook page, from 7pm on Thursday 19 January.
Icon of radical American letters Eileen Myles has produced more than 20 volumes of fiction,
"13.01.2017 18:00:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies 'Gotta dance,' Gene Kelly shouts towards the end of a famous Hollywood movie. He's right, he doesn't have any option, he's in a musical, and he's been dancing (and singing) since the film started. 'Gotta dance!'
"13.01.2017 13:09:46" lrb.co.uk Peter Pomerantsev: Cold War Ghosts 'Russia is a mental subcontinent, the subconscious of the West. This is why we place our fears, our phobias and foibles in Russia,' a character says in Zinovy Zinik's novel Sounds Familiar or The Beast of Artek. The Kremlin Menace can loom to a monstrous size in the Western imagination.
"13.01.2017 11:12:21" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tristram Hunt · Bus Lane Strategy It's unlikely that Sidney Webb features in Tony Blair's pantheon of political heroes. It would, in fact, be difficult to think of a less likely match for Tony and Cherie than Sidney and Beatrice. 'The absence of national standardisation was one reason Victorian local government achieved so much. Life expectancy was hauled back from the low levels of the 1840s; cultural institutions – city museums and galleries – that are still in existence today
"12.01.2017 18:50:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alexander Briant · Oil Industry Corruption I continue to speak to witness after witness. No one has seen anything. No one can explain the discrepancy in the records. I ask him what our chances of bringing a prosecution would be. 'To make sure that the police investigated your complaint fairly, you'd have to bribe them.'
"12.01.2017 13:30:01" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Bernstein: Trump and the Doomsday Machine 'Let it be an arms race,' the president elect said on MSNBC before Christmas. 'We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.' What can this possibly mean? Who are 'they' and how will we outmatch 'them'? Even Stanley Kubrick could not have invented Donald Trump.
"12.01.2017 11:20:56" lrb.co.uk LRB · Peter Pomerantsev · Putin's Rasputin Known also as the 'puppetmaster who privatised the Russian political system', Vladislav Surkov is the real genius of the Putin era. Understand him and you understand not only contemporary Russia but a new type of power politics. 'On the map of civilisation, Moscow – with its cloak and dagger politics (designer cloak, diamond-studded dagger), its poisoned spies, baron-bureaucrats and exiled oligarchs who plan revolutions from abroad, its Cecil-Surkovs whispering into the ears of
"11.01.2017 18:24:55" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rebecca Solnit · Penis Power Hillary Clinton was all that stood between us and a reckless, unstable, ignorant, inane, infinitely vulgar, climate-change-denying white-nationalist misogynist with authoritarian ambitions and kleptocratic plans. 'Patriarchy unbuttoned, paunchy, in a baggy suit, with his hair oozing and his lips flapping and his face squinching into clownish expressions of mockery and rage and self-congratulation' – Rebecca Solnit on Trump's fear of women, from the new issue.
"11.01.2017 13:46:18" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online, featuring Rebecca Solnit on Donald Trump's fear of women, Adam Shatz on Frantz Fanon's revolution, Julian Barnes on the Shchukin Collection at Fondation Louis Vuitton, and a diary about oil industry corruption.
"11.01.2017 09:45:00" lrb.co.uk Wail Qasim: Hard Stops Mohammed Yassar Yaqub, a 27-year-old man from Huddersfield, was killed last Monday during a 'pre-planned policing operation'. Reports of his death suggest that the car Yaqub was travelling in on the M62 was 'hard stopped'. 'Demonised after being killed, said to have been so dangerous in life they may as well be dead' – Wail Qasim on Mohammed Yassar Yaqub, Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney, from the LRB blog.
"10.01.2017 21:05:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael J. Glennon · The 4000 The president does not act alone, but through the hundreds of thousands of employees of the executive branch of the federal government. So who are the people who will carry out – or resist carrying out – his will? 'As of 2 December 2016, the Trump transition team had reportedly received 65,800 CVs' – Michael J. Glennon on Trump's 4000 appointees, an LRB online exclusive.
"10.01.2017 18:33:49" lrb.co.uk Dawn Foster: McGuinness Steps Down Theresa May's promise of a straightforward Brexit, after Ivan Rogers's departure and now the collapse at Stormont, looks ever more unrealistic. McGuinness's resignation was tactical, and came after discussions with other Sinn Féin leaders. With the damage Foster has done to the DUP's image, there is a slim chance that Sinn Féin will win enough votes to install a first minister.
"10.01.2017 13:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Eagleton · Not Just Anybody This is a bold book, not least because Felski must know that it risks giving comfort to the adversaries of theory as such. Yet it is judicious as well as brave. 'The critics of critique need to remind themselves that there is a lot of self-deception about' – Terry Eagleton on Rita Felski's 'The Limits of Critique', from the latest issue.
"10.01.2017 09:45:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colm Tóibín · How to be a wife Jackie was an unconventional shape and bookish and interested in French and embarrassed by her mother. 'My first impression – and it never changed – was that I was in the presence of a very great tragic actress. I mean that in the finest sense of the word. There was a weekend in American history when we needed to be united in our sadness by the superb
"09.01.2017 18:33:42" lrb.co.uk LRB · Elaine Showalter · Baby-Sitter To have had a less-than-perfect personal life weighs no more against her intellectual achievements than it would against those of a man – against Sartre, for example. 'The father's library; adolescent apostasy; rejection of the mother; vocational commitment; meeting with the male muse/ father/ double; sustaining female friendships' – Elaine Showalter on Simone de Beauvoir, from the #LRBarchive.
"09.01.2017 13:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Buchan · My Hogs Sometimes, standing in the small wood that shields my house from the north, I whisper the word 'Pigs!' Pigs embody, in particularly vivid fashion, the lost amenities of an unimproved world.
"09.01.2017 09:45:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nicholas Penny · Blame it on his social life Even if we take into account the services of secretaries, chauffeurs and cooks, it is hard to understand how Clark contrived to achieve so much. 'The breadth of Clark's sympathies would never be suspected from the photographs of his Hampstead home with the blonde nude by Renoir and his great Seurat landscape amid cut flowers, silk lampshades, Chinese vases and satinwood commodes' – Nicholas Penny,
"08.01.2017 19:46:16" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew Berry · An Ugly Baby Alfred Russel Wallace was 35 and stricken with malaria in what is now Indonesia when, in 1858, he wrote a letter to Charles Darwin in England that would send Darwin into a tailspin. 'Condemned always to play Watson to Darwin's Holmes' – Andrew Berry on Alfred Russel Wallace, born #otd in 1823.
"08.01.2017 13:54:22" lrb.co.uk LRB · Marina Warner · Anglo-Egyptian Attitudes The balconied rooftop apartment in Zamalek on the island of Gezira which my father rented when we arrived in Cairo in 1947 looked over the Nile to the east and Gezira Sporting Club to the west. 'The story of Admiral Walker led me into the labyrinthine coils of British and Ottoman imperial diplomacy, and identified the debonair Turk in his tarbush as a Victorian adventurer, a Hornblower, a Scarlet Pimpernel' – Marina Warner on Anglo-Egyptian
"08.01.2017 11:25:52" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Penman · Shapeshifter Elvis remains the unbeatable blueprint for rock and roll lift-off: a combination of heroic self-invention and giving the world something it only just realised it had to have. 'He's rough trade for everyone, a true American democracy' – Ian Penman on Elvis Presley, 'born on 8 January 1935 at around 4.30 in the morning, at home in East Tupelo.'
"07.01.2017 18:03:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Will Self · Diary: My Typewriters When I was a child I perved over my mother's typewriters; first, her beautiful olive green Olivetti Lettera 22 with American keys, then later her IBM golf-ball electric which seemed to explode into kinesis if you touched it. 'My stick fingers produced satisfying percussive paradiddles, in between which came blissful fermatas, devoid of electronic whine and filled instead with the sough of the wind on the windows, down the liftshaft, and wheedling through the Vent-Axias' –
"07.01.2017 14:00:00" lrb.co.uk Letters · LRB 5 January 2017 Tom Crewe is right in much of what he says about the assault by successive UK governments on the role of local government but he presents an unjustifiably rosy picture of the past (LRB, 15 December 2016). 'May I offer this image of an Excel worksheet? [Image not included.] It has a million rows, each with about 16,000 columns. The cells are filled with data and some wonderful mathematical formulae. These are hidden from view by the simple expediency of
"07.01.2017 11:20:25" Timeline Photos 'I Remember' is one of only two works included in Sebald's Selected Poems which was originally written in English. It was first published in our 6 October 2011 issue.
"06.01.2017 18:13:20" lrb.co.uk LRB · James Meek · Refugees from the Past he interest of Chandler-plus-Jameson is the chance to follow the real Jameson's detections in Chandler's fictional world, but at the same time to make the journey in the opposite direction. 'I'm not sure whether Marx foretold a type like Marlowe' – Meek on Jameson on Chandler, from the latest issue.
"06.01.2017 13:12:29" londonreviewbookshop.co.uk An Evening in Memory of Jenny Diski | Events Novelist, essayist and travel writer Jenny Diski, who died in April last year, was for many years one of the LRB's most loved and valued contributors. An evening in memory of Jenny Diski, with Jeremy Harding, Rosemary Hill, Adam Mars-Jones, Blake Morrison, Ian Patterson and Mary-Kay Wilmers. Join them at the London Review Bookshop on Thursday 12 January.
"06.01.2017 11:04:49" lrb.co.uk Amia Srinivasan: Remembering Derek Parfit I first met Derek Parfit the summer I was 19, when my college boyfriend and I spent a day visiting Oxford. Parfit's Reasons and Persons was the only thing written by a living person on our freshman philosophy syllabus at Yale. 'I don't think it's unfair to say that Derek didn't see what is obvious to many others: that there are persons, non-fungible and non-interchangeable, whose immense particularity matters and is indeed the basis of, rather than a distraction from, morality.
"05.01.2017 18:22:10" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Smyth · Early Modern Cookbooks on 4 April 1663, Pepys and eight friends 'had a fricasee of rabbits and chickens, a leg of mutton boiled, three carps in a dish, a great dish of a side of lamb, a dish of roasted pigeons, a dish of four lobsters, three tarts, a lamprey pie.' 'Genoa pastes' (jellies made from fruit pulp), comfits (spiced seeds), jumbals (dough twisted into knots), lozenges (almonds candied in rosewater), suckets (hard candies made of roots, spices or citrus peels), leaches (thick creams), candied flowers, and
"05.01.2017 13:50:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adewale Maja-Pearce · Sing like Parrots The violence of the authorities and settlers in Kenya gave the case for writing in an indigenous language more force for Ngugi, even after independence, than it ever had for his Nigerian counterparts. 'The artistry that had earned his English-language novels so much praise was now abandoned in favour of the crudest possible politics' – Adewale Maja-Pearce on Ngugi wa Thiong'o, born #otd in 1938.
"05.01.2017 11:37:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · Short Cuts The government's claim to a very questionable prerogative is already losing them friends where friends they scarcely had in the first place. I predict that Scotland will eventually leave as a result of this high-handedness. 'The royal prerogative is a thing of beauty to deploy whenever. Its loveliness increases with its capacity to expedite measures unfavourable to anxious politicians' – Andrew O'Hagan on the Article 50 hearing, from the latest issue.
"04.01.2017 18:08:24" lrb.co.uk LRB · Steven Shapin · Hedonistic Fruit Bombs Sancho Panza fancied himself a wine connoisseur of rare ability. Challenged on his claim to have a 'great natural instinct in judging wines', he assured a sceptic that you 'have only to let me smell one and I can tell positively its country.' 'How do you tell the poetry from the bullshit?' Steven Shapin on wine and wine writing, from the #LRBarchive.
"04.01.2017 12:47:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · Adam Tooze · A General Logic of Crisis With a passion bordering on that of a convert, Streeck feels he has identified a general logic of crisis. The market and its functionaries have brought about an existential crisis of social and political life: they must be resisted. 'How did he turn critical theory into a vehicle for the assertion of the primacy of the nation?' Adam Tooze on Wolfgang Streeck, from the latest issue, now de-paywalled.
"03.01.2017 18:45:21" lrb.co.uk LRB · Derek Parfit · Why anything? Why this? These questions, some believe, may have causal answers. Why does the Universe exist? There are two questions here. First, why is there a Universe at all? It might have been true that nothing ever existed: no living beings, no stars, no atoms, not even space or time. When we think about this possibility, it can
"03.01.2017 13:44:05" lrb.co.uk Thomas Jones: Iphigenia in Aulis Redux It's lagging behind season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2001). Why aren't there more women or girls in the gang? (Spoilers)
"03.01.2017 11:14:43" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Berger · A Moment in Ramallah Certain trees – particularly the mulberries and medlars – still tell the story of how long ago, in another life, before the nakba, Ramallah was, for the well-off, a town of leisure and ease, a place to retreat to from nearby Jerusalem. 'I am among not the conquered but the defeated, whom the victors fear' – John Berger in Ramallah, from the #LRBarchive.
"02.01.2017 16:00:00" lrb.co.uk Winter Lectures · LRB The London Review of Books Winter Lectures 2017 are presented in association with the British Museum. The London Review of Books Winter Lectures 2017 will be Iain Sinclair on London, Michael Wood on Fritz Lang and Mary Beard on women in power.
"02.01.2017 10:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Kate Summerscale · On the Sofa The traditionally schlocky true-crime genre has been invested with new purpose by such shows. 'We want to be relieved of the suspicion of being voyeurs. If we see justice done, it will be as if that were what we'd been looking for all along, the blood merely a means to an end' – Kate Summerscale on Making A Murderer, Serial, The Jinx: The Life and
"01.01.2017 19:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tom Carver · Philby in Beirut On the night of 23 January 1963, during a fierce rainstorm, Philby walked down the five flights of stairs from the flat he shared with Eleanor Brewer, the former wife of the New York Times Middle East correspondent, Sam Brewer, and disappeared. 'I went to the rue Kantari in Beirut to try to find Kim Philby's flat' – Tom Carver on another new year's baby, born #otd in 1912.
"01.01.2017 14:00:00" lrb.co.uk Mouin Rabbani: John Kerry's Eureka Moment It has been a bizarre week for US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On 23 December, the Obama administration narrowly avoided becoming the first since Harry Truman's to leave office without a single United Nations Security Council resolution censuring Israel to its credit.
"01.01.2017 11:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alan Hollinghurst · Poor Dear, How She Figures! We are not guests in a Bloomsbury Valhalla but eavesdroppers on a very unusual man's preoccupations. 'I made an entry in my diary to remind me it had been something' – Alan Hollinghurst on the journals of E.M. Forster, who was born #otd in 1879.
"31.12.2016 18:31:14" Timeline Photos 'It was New Year's Eve/again. Time to get out the #punchbowl,/make some #resolutions,/I don't think.' Happy new year from John Ashbery: lrb.me/sadpoems
"31.12.2016 10:00:01" David Runciman: academics are part of the problem 'You sit in a university and think you can come up with political solutions in a world in which sitting in a university is, for many people, symptomatic of the problem' – David Runciman on what Trump means for political science. Watch the full video:
"30.12.2016 18:00:01" lrb.co.uk Thomas Jones: Booooooooooooooo! I went to the pantomime in Bridlington yesterday: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, with a special guest star who had 'stepped in at the last minute' to play the wicked queen – 'the Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe'. Booooooooooooooo!
"30.12.2016 13:15:01" Alan Bennett: Moleskine notebooks and Boris Johnson 'About the only lie Boris Johnson hasn't (yet) told is that if we leave the EU the weather will be better' – read, or listen to, Alan Bennett's diary for 2016: lrb.me/30k
"30.12.2016 08:40:35" Timeline Photos 'Abandoned Christmas Tree Plantation' from 2009, our penultimate melancholy Christmas poem: lrb.me/sadpoems
"29.12.2016 18:47:37" Timeline Photos Today's Christmas #poem is 'Last Century Thoughts in Snow Tonight' by #PeterGizzi, which we published in 2007: lrb.me/sadpoems
"29.12.2016 16:28:06" lrb.co.uk Rajeev Balasubramanyam: George Michael and Me In a video, he wore a t-shirt with 'Choose Life' printed on it in bold black letters. In gloomy, northern, cold, racist England, this was what I wanted to hear. I wanted hope. I wanted fun. 'They always looked as if they were having the time of their lives, in contrast to the dull, rainy, post-industrial landscape around me' – Rajeev Balasubramanyam on George Michael, from the LRB blog.
"29.12.2016 10:51:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tim Parks · Joyce and Company What options are available to you if you yearn to belong to your place of origin, indeed to be one of its leading figures, yet simultaneously feel threatened and diminished by it? 'Whether A Portrait is fact or fiction, a pattern of behaviour is established that finds ample confirmation in the biography' – Tim Parks on James Joyce, on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
"28.12.2016 18:30:00" David Runciman: 2016 in perspective 'The things we used to worry about might have prevented this from happening' – David Runciman on democracy in 2016. Watch the full video: lrb.me/h0k
"28.12.2016 14:00:01" Timeline Photos Forget about someone? Tempted to regift? Get them a subscription to the LRB instead: mylrb.co.uk/x16fb
"28.12.2016 10:38:31" Timeline Photos Read 'Sex Objects' and eleven other melancholy poems about Christmas: lrb.me/sadpoems
"27.12.2016 17:09:48" Timeline Photos 12 melancholy poems for Christmas: lrb.me/sadpoems
"27.12.2016 11:05:20" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mike Jay · Don't fight sober If you're also young and male and already high on weaponry and firepower, it's hard to imagine anything more ecstatic than war on drugs – as long as you're winning. 'It achieved everything the traditional rum ration ever had and more besides' – Mike Jay on the history of drugs in warfare, from the latest issue.
"26.12.2016 18:42:57" Timeline Photos #BoxingDay: lrb.me/sadpoems
"26.12.2016 13:50:13" lrb.co.uk LRB · Susannah Clapp · The Buffalo in the Hall 'She crisply pointed out that you couldn't really be a thorough-going eccentric while bringing up children and writing novels' – Susannah Clapp on Beryl Bainbridge, from the latest issue. Link in bio.
"26.12.2016 10:51:01" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Bernstein: On the Cresta Run I made my first trip to Tibet in 1987. One of my companions was a former British army officer called Garry Daintry, who told me that during the winter he helped out on the Cresta Run in St Moritz. In St Moritz, women are still not allowed to ride the Cresta Run; they were banned in 1929 because it was claimed that riding the Cresta might make them susceptible to breast cancer.
"25.12.2016 15:27:28" Alan Bennett: memes and hyperthymesia 'I don't know what “memes” are or what “skanky” means.' Alan Bennett's diary for 2016 – there's no better antidote for your food coma/the Queen's Speech: lrb.me/30k
"25.12.2016 12:12:18" Timeline Photos We couldn't stay melancholy for Christmas Day. Read eleven sad poems for Christmas, and Robin Robertson's somewhat happier one from 2005: lrb.me/sadpoems
"24.12.2016 17:14:56" Timeline Photos #Pomagne, a poem from 1985. Read all 12 of our Christmas poems from the archive: lrb.me/sadpoems
"24.12.2016 13:43:56" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alice Spawls · Christmas Trees At the Christmas tree market they sell them by the foot – £10, which is more than silk. 'Casper David Friedrich couldn't have known the industry his trees would become' – Alice Spawls on Christmas trees, from the new issue.
"24.12.2016 10:43:08" lrb.co.uk Fiona Pitt-Kethley: Agent Wanted An agent I sent a copy of a new novel to suggested it would all be better in the first person. I spent a week or two altering it and he still refused it. I changed it back again. 'I had one once, but he died' – Fiona Pitt-Kethley, pictured here on the cover of our 4 April 1985 issue, has spent the past 15 years looking for an agent.
"23.12.2016 17:56:03" Timeline Photos Today's poem, by Anne Rouse, was published in our 14 September 1989 issue. Read 12 melancholy poems about Christmas from the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/sadpoems
"23.12.2016 13:11:50" Timeline Photos Stop shopping! Buy yourself and everybody you know a gift subscription to the LRB: mylrb.co.uk/x16fb
"23.12.2016 10:37:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Penman · Wham Bang, Teatime I don't think it's unfair to say that as an artist, writer, actor, singer, Bowie was good, often very good, but could never join the ranks of the greats in any of those areas. What he was great at was being David Bowie – the only one we ever got. 'A bit of sci-fi, a bit of up-in-the-air sexuality, a bit of scarves-in-the-air sing-along, a bit of an “Oh no he isn't!” panto vibe, and a lot of power chords' – Penman on Bowie, from the new issue.
"22.12.2016 17:45:20" Timeline Photos Read 12 melancholy poems about Christmas from the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/sadpoems
"22.12.2016 14:44:23" From Tocqueville to Trump 'I find it hard to believe that this story has another 200 years to run' – David Runciman on democracy in 2016. Watch the full video: lrb.me/h0k
"22.12.2016 11:14:14" lrb.co.uk Ayşe Zarakol: Assassination of an Ambassador Vladimir Putin was informed of the assassination while on his way to watch a play written by Alexander Griboyedov, Nicholas I's ambassador to Persia, who was killed in 1829 when a mob stormed the Russian embassy in Tehran. It seems likely that the Turkish state will continue to blame the assassination on Gülenists, while avoiding difficult questions about its all-but-open support for al-Nusra in Syria. For the moment, Russia does not have a strong incentive to contradict
"21.12.2016 18:02:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · Kathleen Jamie · Into the Dark Mid-December. It was eight in the morning and Venus was hanging like a wrecker's light above the Black Craig. The hill itself – seen from our kitchen window – was still in silhouette, though the sky was lightening to a pale yellow-grey. 'We drank a toast, because tonight was midwinter's night, the night of the complicit kiss, and tomorrow the light would begin its return' – Kathleen Jamie on the winter solstice, from the #LRBarchive.
"21.12.2016 15:42:52" lrb.co.uk Chloë Daniel: In Berlin Inside the Gedächtniskirche's old tower, just beside where the lorry struck, are the restored golden mosaics from the original church, laid in the first years of the 20th century to tell a story of Germany before Kaiser Wilhelm I. 'This isn't the age of no news is good news' – Chloë Daniel in Berlin, from the LRB blog.
"21.12.2016 13:20:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alan Bennett · Diary 11 January. It's not to disparage David Bowie, but if even a fraction of the tributes being paid to him and his influence were true we would never have had a Conservative government or indeed any government at all. 'Thankful that I am old and have no children to leave in a world at the mercy of this lying and bellicose vulgarian' – our new issue is now online, featuring Ian Penman on Bowie, Susannah Clapp on Bainbridge, Mike Jay on war and drugs, and Alan Bennett's
"21.12.2016 09:55:47" Timeline Photos 12 Melancholy Poems about Christmas: lrb.me/sadpoems
"20.12.2016 17:40:24" 'In Late December' by Frederick Seidel Frederick Seidel reads 'In Late December', from the latest issue. Read eleven other melancholy poems about Christmas from the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/sadpoems
"20.12.2016 11:03:18" lrb.co.uk LRB · Philip Clark · I have nothing to say and I am saying it It is striking, in his earliest letters, just how earnest a student of Western classical music John Cage was, given the outspoken critic of it he would later become. 'I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.'
'I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry.'
'Which is more musical, a truck passing a factory or a truck passing by a music school?'
"19.12.2016 18:02:13" lrb.co.uk Inigo Thomas: Cameron Vanishes Cameron was elected to Parliament in 2001, became leader of the opposition in 2005, prime minister in 2010, won re-election in 2015, and then after 23 June gave up to go back to pheasant shooting in Gloucestershire. The rise to the top was swift, but what other British political leader has so swiftly vanished?
"19.12.2016 13:01:54" lrb.co.uk Andy Beckett · Vuvuzelas Unite Sometimes in Britain, trade unionism can be a pretty straightforward business. But not often. 'For almost three centuries,' Keith Laybourn writes in A History of Trade Unionism, it 'has been rejected, both formally and informally.' 'Since the 2008 financial crisis, despite an almost unprecedented squeeze on wages and the public sector, where British trade union members are disproportionately concentrated, the number of working days lost to strikes has been lower, each year, than in
"19.12.2016 11:02:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tim Parks · Yuk's Last Laugh FLAUBERT, Gustave. The hermit of Croisset. Art for Art's sake. Marvel over the time he took to write a sentence. Wonder if he ever really said, 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi.' 'Why,' he asks, 'is man's heart so big and life so small?' Tim Parks on Flaubert, from the latest issue.
"18.12.2016 15:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies One of the lasting impressions left by Abel Gance's film Napoléon (1927), now showing in a new, digitally remastered print at the BFI and the Lumière, is that it consists solely of close-ups and crowd scenes. 'A close-up on Albert Dieudonné's face makes clear that what you need to be a Caesar is an icy gaze and drooping hair: you need to look like a piece of history rather than a person' – Michael Wood on Abel Gance's Napoléon, from the latest issue.
"18.12.2016 11:00:00" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: Shameless Latterly the high moral tone took a bit of a knock from the bungled crusades in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. But now, in the dying days of the Obama regime, it's back. 'US propaganda sharply downplays the number of eggs broken in cooking the great moral omelette' – Glen Newey on Kissinger, Obama and Samantha Power, from the LRB blog.
"17.12.2016 15:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rosemary Hill · Britain is Your Friend The carrot campaign was one of hundreds waged in Britain and the empire with posters, leaflets and films throughout the war. By turns advisory, exhortatory or simply informative they were generally more stoical than bellicose. 'Even when Britain could rely on the strength of the Empire, and was indeed doing so, much of the rhetoric dwelt on standing alone' – Rosemary Hill on British WW2 propaganda, from the latest issue.
"17.12.2016 09:51:11" lrb.co.uk Conrad Landin: Southern Fail At the High Court last week, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the parent company of Southern rail, failed to secure an injunction against Aslef, the train drivers' union. On Monday they took the case to the Court of Appeal, which also dismissed it. Southern Fail.
"16.12.2016 18:46:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · Eamon Duffy · The Unlikeliest Loophole When Henry made Catherine his enemy, he found to his cost that he had never encountered a tougher opponent, 'on, or off, the battlefield'. 'In the historiography of Tudor England she has become a shadowy figure, a sad frump eclipsed by her savage husband and the brazen mistress who supplanted her' – Eamon Duffy on Catherine of Aragon, from the #LRBarchive.
"16.12.2016 13:57:13" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Meaney · The Swaddling Thesis Stubborn, tireless and often oblivious to the political weather, Mead was the force behind American anthropology for half a century. 'The important point isn't that Mead was dovish towards the Soviets – and thus lost out to her more hawkish colleagues – but simply that the whole spectrum of US Sovietology was shot through with the sort of off-the-cuff psychologising that Mead did much
"16.12.2016 10:58:34" lrb.co.uk LRB · Neal Ascherson · Into the Net Eighty years have gone by. But there's still no agreement on how the Spanish Civil War should be remembered. Nor should there be. 'The British volunteers defending Madrid University found that a book had to be 350 pages long to stop a bullet' – Neal Ascherson on records of the Spanish Civil War, from the latest issue.
"15.12.2016 18:05:23" lrb.co.uk Neve Gordon: Double Standards The definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the British government is itself a manifestation of a double standard, since it treats Israel differently from every other country in the world rather than as a nation among nations. The working definition of anti-Semitism that was formally adopted this week by the British government is dangerous.
"15.12.2016 14:03:49" eventbrite.com BURMA AND BEYOND - Rory Stewart FRGS OBE MP Last few tickets left for tonight's The Angus McDonald Trust UK Charity Reg 1167506 lecture by LRB contributor Rory Stewart – there's an LRB subscription up for grabs in the raffle, too: bit.ly/2eE1nAC
"15.12.2016 11:01:19" Timeline Photos Snip-snip! Schnipp-Schnapp! Defacing stamps in the GDR was a dangerous game: lrb.me/ce0
"14.12.2016 18:01:15" lrb.co.uk Fatema Ahmed: The Casey Review After years of frank and honest conversations about the need to have frank and honest conversations, and a pile of recommendations that are never acted on, what makes this report different from its predecessors? 'The report's confused origins and murky remit are evident on nearly every page' – Fatema Ahmed on the Casey Review into opportunity and integration, from the LRB blog.
"14.12.2016 13:07:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · Lidija Haas · Dye the Steak Blue Jackson places a young person, usually a woman, in a seemingly ordinary setting which then becomes unstable. Sometimes normality is restored, sometimes it isn't, but either way, something threatening or strange has been revealed. 'She often bragged that she was a witch' – Lidija Haas on Shirley Jackson, on her hundredth birthday.
"14.12.2016 11:10:11" lrb.co.uk LRB · Richard Seymour · Schadenfreude with Bite The troll has it both ways. He is magnificently indifferent to social norms, which he transgresses for the lulz, yet often at the same time a vengeful punisher: both the Joker and Batman. What's so funny about trolling?
"13.12.2016 18:06:04" lrb.co.uk LRB · Benedict Anderson · Frameworks of Comparison In my early days at Cornell, use of the concept of 'comparison' was still somewhat limited. I don't mean that comparisons were never made: they were made all the time, both consciously and (more often) unconsciously. Benedict Anderson reflects on his intellectual formation, from earlier this year.
"13.12.2016 14:06:55" lrb.co.uk Hugh Pennington: Red Squirrels and Leprosy We don't hunt, skin, eat or cuddle red squirrels so the opportunities for transmission are remote. The 'much loved' status of red squirrels in Britain probably won't be damaged by the discovery that some of them are lepers.
"13.12.2016 09:46:10" lrb.co.uk Tom Crewe · The Strange Death of Municipal England The assault on local government has come from a bewildering variety of directions, but there is a pattern in its violence, and where there is a pattern, there is usually design. 'We fret and fume about this council here, that service there, while the whole system is sliding off a cliff' – Tom Crewe on the strange death of municipal England, from the latest issue, now de-paywalled.
"12.12.2016 12:31:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Luke Mitchell · Burning Up the World The smaller disasters happened when the oilmen failed, but climate change is happening because they are successful. 'Where kidnappers, rebels, conspirators and (for the most part) pirates failed, ExxonMobil succeeded' – Luke Mitchell on oil, climate change and Rex Tillerson, from the #LRBarchive.
"11.12.2016 18:00:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ryszard Kapuściński · Out of Africa Someone's penetrating shout woke us up in the morning. We jumped out of bed – I was sleeping with Duszan in one room, and Jardawas next door – and dashed to the window. 'I would like to tell the story of the time lived through after the night when Stanleyville learned that Lumumba had been murdered, and that he had died in bestial circumstances, in a way that trampled all dignity' – Ryszard Kapuściński does it the hard
"11.12.2016 14:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Julian Bell · At the National Gallery This is beauty, Caravaggio-style. An object is illuminated and scrutinised until its textures sing out. 'The picture's flash and soulless centre imagines the gospel story of tragic sacrifice as a flare-lit car crash, a clatter of hardware' – Julian Bell at the National Gallery, from the new issue.
"11.12.2016 10:49:53" lrb.co.uk Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Article 50 in the Supreme Court And what scrutiny. To ward off any suggestion that the outcome might turn on the composition of the panel, all eleven justices heard the case. 'When so little else seems to be going according to plan, this is some cause for celebration: the peaceful, public scrutiny of government actions by an open court is a rare thing' – Frederick Wilmot-Smith on Miller v. The Secretary of State for Exiting
"09.12.2016 18:04:28" Timeline Photos Stop wasting weekends Christmas shopping, buy yourself and everybody you know a gift subscription to the LRB: mylrb.co.uk/x16fb
"09.12.2016 13:09:59" lrb.co.uk LRB · Andrew O'Hagan · All hail, sage lady I don't think the queen liked me. She'd seen it all before, the snooping anti-monarchist with the new tie, so she simply passed me to her husband, who asked if a novelist wrote books. 'Coronation Street with coronations' – Andrew O'Hagan watches The Crown, from the new issue.
"09.12.2016 10:58:27" lrb.co.uk The Editors: Signing with the KGB Knightley, who died yesterday, wrote a handful of excellent pieces for the paper in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 'All intelligence agencies, no matter what controls they appear to work under,' Phillip Knightley once wrote in the LRB, 'are a danger to democracy.'
"08.12.2016 10:02:45" lrb.co.uk LRB · Mary Wellesley · No looking at my elephant Exotic beasts didn't always find such favour. When Lady Lisle gave Anne Boleyn a monkey in 1534, she wasn't pleased. 'I beg you would tell him not to send me any Bears, Eagles, Leopards or Tygers, for I am overstock'd with them already' – Mary Wellesley on the history of menageries, from the new issue.
"07.12.2016 18:16:20" lrb.co.uk Yiannis Baboulias: The Best Hotel in Europe The City Plaza hotel in downtown Athens, 'the best hotel in Europe', was empty for years after the company operating it went bankrupt in 2010. A group of activists and refugees occupied it a few months ago. The Best Hotel in Europe
"07.12.2016 12:55:31" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online, featuring Mary Wellesley on menageries, Richard Seymour on Trolling, Andrew O'Hagan on The Crown, Jonathan Lethem on you know who, and a Christmas tree by Anne Rothenstein on the cover.
"07.12.2016 09:40:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nicholas Penny · Swooning Bernini's sculpture of Daphne turning into a laurel tree at the touch of Apollo – completed for Cardinal Borghese's villa on the Pincio in 1625 – has always excited wonder. 'He avoided the grotesque where it was hardest to do so and dignified his subjects in order to engage our sympathies' – Nicholas Penny on Bernini, born #otd in 1598, from the #LRBarchive.
"06.12.2016 16:56:19" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nathan Thrall · The Israelis were shooting from one direction, the Palestinians from the other Despite the images of hijacked planes, homemade rockets, the charred wreckage of buses and Kalashnikov-wielding militants in balaclavas, the most common form of resistance in more than a century of Zionist-Arab conflict has been unarmed – or, as Despite the images of hijacked planes, homemade rockets, the charred wreckage of buses and Kalashnikov-wielding militants in balaclavas, the most common form of resistance in more than a century of Zionist-Arab conflict has been unarmed – or, as
"06.12.2016 09:44:58" lrb.co.uk Thomas Jones: After Renzi Technically speaking, the No vote in Italy's constitutional referendum yesterday was a vote for the status quo. But its architect, Matteo Renzi, who has resigned as prime minister after the vote didn't go his way, was one of the few people to see it like 'At the next general election, whenever it's held and under whatever system, voters are likely to be offered a choice between authoritatian populism and neoliberal technocracy in the form of a PD-led coalition of the political old guard. It's the same
"05.12.2016 18:13:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Gavin Jacobson · She says nothing There is no room for the Rohingyas here, no political or personal benefit to be gained by talking about the crisis in Rakhine. They can stay in their camps, or die in the sea. 'Since the late 1980s Aung San Suu Kyi has been a lodestar for democrats and human rights activists throughout the world, but her celestial image is waning. She has been criticised internationally for refusing to speak out about the plight of the
"05.12.2016 12:13:28" lrb.co.uk Frederick Wilmot-Smith · Who speaks for the state? What is the proper distribution of power between Parliament and the executive? It's a question raised by the recent High Court decision in Miller v. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. 'In light of the executive's failure to defend the judiciary in the aftermath of the decision, their incoherent proposals for leaving the EU, and broader concerns about the democratic legitimacy of Parliament, no one should feel entirely sanguine if the
"05.12.2016 10:50:27" Timeline Photos 'Tom and TV', a poem by Anne Carson from the latest issue. Read Carson's 37 other poems in the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/pf0
"04.12.2016 23:52:09" lrb.co.uk LRB · Perry Anderson · The Italian Disaster Europe is ill. How seriously, and why, are matters not always easy to judge. But among the symptoms three are conspicuous, and inter-related. 'Italy is not an anomaly within Europe. It is much closer to a concentrate of it' – Perry Anderson on Italy, from 2014.
"04.12.2016 18:01:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · Edward Luttwak · Platformitis Another Darpa project was the Aspen Movie Map, a virtual tour of Aspen provided by the first hypermedia system (four cameras rigged on the top of a car taking pictures every ten feet). 'Darpa has achieved many other startling things over the years, from its support for the development of America's first plastic and aluminium rifle in the early 1960s to the development of Transit, the direct predecessor of the GPS satellite system that
"04.12.2016 12:05:39" lrb.co.uk Oscar Webb: The Gambians in Palermo 'Everyone I know who has been political in Gambia has ended up in jail or dead,' says L., who came to Italy nine months ago. The news coming out of Gambia is that Yahya Jammeh will concede defeat to Adamu Barrow, the property developer who opposed him in Thursday's presidential election. How a new government might change Gambia is uncertain, however.
"03.12.2016 18:50:55" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jonathan Lethem · Theatre of Injury I write out of disarray, from a field of compatriots in disarray. We're drifting like astronauts, distantly tethered by emails like the one I just got from a friend: 'i feel like he is making everyone sick, and bipolar.' 'A gormless, love-hungry 70-year-old child, a sort of feral president, an evil Chauncey Gardiner, as much the dupe in his own confidence scheme as he is its perpetrator, and utterly at the mercy of whichever voice just whispered in his ear' – Jonathan
"03.12.2016 12:01:57" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Bayley · What will you do to keep the ship from foundering? Conrad was certainly a born writer in one sense, and yet he might easily never have become one had he not invested his skill and training in the dying craft of sailing ships. 'For a psychologist, the striking thing is the magnificently determined way he spent twenty years of his life mastering a craft that then turned out to be obsolete, while at the same time remaining in many ways helplessly dependent, irresponsibly
"02.12.2016 18:26:22" lrb.co.uk Gwen Burnyeat: Peace in Colombia? The new peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was signed in Bogotá's Colón Theatre on 24 November. It was a more sober ceremony than the extravagant signing of the first agreement. 'Whether or not Uribe is happy,' a Colombian in Edinburgh said to me when the new agreement was published, 'this is an amazing example of democracy. It makes me proud to be Colombian.'
"02.12.2016 14:56:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Turner · Special Frocks Four years ago I promised myself that if I ever wrote a piece about fashion, I would put in the story of going to see my brother's body and buying an outfit at the Aberdeen branch of Topshop directly before or afterwards. 'The dim, gothic world of European high fashion, with its skeletal, undead-looking patrons, its creepy family connections, its pale and constricted ingénues' – Jenny Turner on Donatella Versace and her brother Gianni, who was born #otd 70 years ago.
"02.12.2016 10:37:38" lrb.co.uk Emma Baines: Derailing the NHS 'There's nothing at all that reassures me this isn't going to be an absolute bloody disaster.' In August, a poll of 213 GPs and 294 practice managers found that in the previous five months, 85 per cent were missing records of recently registered patients, 65 per cent had experienced shortages of clinical supplies or delays in deliveries, and 32 per
"01.12.2016 18:38:16" lrb.co.uk Christian Wolmar: What's the point of HS2? 'Very little about HS2 has made sense, and politicians, nervous of being seen to dither, are always in a hurry' – Christian Wolmar, Labour's candidate in today's Richmond Park by-election, on HS2, from 2014.
"01.12.2016 13:04:45" lrb.co.uk Aisling Gallagher: Three Hundred Pounds in Her Pocket The best way to ensure that people who do not want to do sex work are not forced into it is by changing the circumstances that leave it as the best – or only – option. Many sex workers are effectively being criminalised for refusing poverty.
"01.12.2016 09:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Tom Shippey · Worse than Pagans What were fairies? Where did they come from? What was their nature? Most important, could they be fitted into the universalist, no-rivals-allowed, Christian worldview? It was no good saying, 'There's no such thing as fairies.' 'The trouble with stories about non-existent creatures is that there is no check on error or invention' – Tom Shippey on fairy beliefs and the medieval Church, from the new issue.
"30.11.2016 17:15:00" The Horrors of Heathrow: A Short History 'The worst-sited major airport in the world' – in 1998, the MP Ian Gilmour wrote about Heathrow for the LRB. On the eve of the Richmond Park by-election, triggered by the UK government's decision to approve a third runway at Heathrow, his reflections bear
"30.11.2016 13:06:14" lrb.co.uk Rachel Shabi: Stop Blaming Migrants In the face of facts, what's a Europhobic Tory to do? Admit that the hardship is caused not by migration but by deliberate government policy? Stop Blaming Migrants.
"30.11.2016 09:34:43" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Sansom · His Own Peak You'll remember this. You may not live there anymore, and it might be years since you've been there, but you'll recognise it instantly. Nothing has changed. Not a thing out of place, and not a detail altered: same views, same problems. 'It's difficult to pick out the funniest bit in a book that is entirely lacking in humour, but “apart from language, I am French” is pretty hard to beat' – Ian Sansom on John Fowles's journals, from the #LRBarchive.
"29.11.2016 17:57:23" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Penman · Sonic Foam Kate is perceived to be more 'one of us' than other pop/rock figures, one of the extended family. There's a feeling that she's 'stayed the same', that success 'hasn't spoiled her'. She's someone you might have known at sixth-form college. 'The soul of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but the robust mien of Mrs Thatcher at a 1980s cabinet meeting' – Ian Penman on Kate Bush, from the #LRBarchive.
"29.11.2016 13:47:47" lrb.co.uk LRB · Hal Foster · At Tate Modern He has created more than any artist after Picasso,' Jasper Johns said of Robert Rauschenberg, his one-time partner, and the Rauschenberg retrospective now at Tate Modern fully attests to the sheer abundance of his six-decade career. 'In his Cagean orbit Dada was filtered through Duchamp and didn't mean anti-art so much as the complication of authorship through strategies of chance and collaboration' – Hal Foster on Robert Rauschenberg at Tate Modern, from the latest issue.
"29.11.2016 11:15:27" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: The Clean Hands Problem For the US, Castro's great crime wasn't heading a repressive regime, but that it was a standing rebuff to US might. It would be pleasing to think that the post-Castro era might herald an end to internment without trial on the island of Cuba, and the release of prisoners who have been tortured while in custody. Unfortunately, Barack Obama's administration has failed to
"28.11.2016 18:55:31" lrb.co.uk LRB · E.P. Thompson · Blake's Tone Indeed, I am arranging for a private member's bill to be introduced in the next session of Parliament which will penalise offenders with the confiscation of their word processors. 'No one should be permitted to write about Blake who does not exercise a sense of humour' – E.P. Thompson on William Blake, on his 259th birthday.
"28.11.2016 13:20:09" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Harding: Birth of a Nation Fillon grew up in Le Mans in the Pays de la Loire. He has rummaged profitably in these provincial origins for his rehashed Catholic pastoral, peppered when the occasion is right with anti-metropolitan sentiment. 'Fillon's France, if he wins, will be reimagined as a theme park of heterosexual orthodoxy dominated by a prospering bourgeosie with tax relief and thriving nurseries' – Jeremy Harding on François Fillon, from the LRB blog.
"28.11.2016 10:58:50" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stefan Collini · Highlight of Stay So Far 'Now such inertia & void as never before. I remember an entry in Kafka's diary. “Gardening. No hope for the future.” At least he could garden.' 'Faced with the threatening possibility of hope, Beckett liked to get his retaliation in first' – Stefan Collini on the letters of Samuel Beckett, from the new issue.
"27.11.2016 17:23:36" lrb.co.uk LRB · Anne Carson · Poem: 'Deer (not a play)' [Enter deer from woods on right. Stops, stands still on road] 'SCENE: Sunday. England. Country road.
'Deer (not a play)' by Anne Carson, from the #LRBarchive. Hendrix was born #otd in 1942.
"27.11.2016 11:00:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Joanna Biggs · Whomph! As the title On Beauty had been already used by Elaine Scarry, so Swing Time has been borrowed from the title of the 1936 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers vehicle, a black and white musical of waltzes and tap dances. 'Imagine if there were no Zadie Smith! Or if the most famous living British novelist was, well, any of the others.'
Joanna Biggs on Swing Time, from the new issue.
"26.11.2016 17:36:21" lrb.co.uk LRB · T.J. Clark · At the Royal Academy The famous tagline Walter Benjamin borrowed from Leopardi – 'Fashion: Madame Death! Madame Death!' – seems made for the world Ensor shows. 'What seems to me stupendous about him is his ability to convince us that horror and absurdity are familiar events, behaviours we all recognise from our daily round' – T.J. Clark on Ensor at the Royal Academy of Arts, from the new issue.
"26.11.2016 11:07:00" lrb.co.uk The Editors: Fidel Castro An energetic Caribbean, open, radiating a 'tropical cordiality' more attractive by far than the 'melancholy coldness' of Che, the 'armed hermit'. 'Something of Zorro and something of Don Quixote' – Fidel Castro in the #LRBarchive.
"25.11.2016 17:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Turner · As Astonishing as Elvis If you try to find out about the legacy of Ayn Rand, your search engine will probably direct you first to aynrand.org, a website run by the Ayn Rand Institute in California. In recent years, the Ayn Rand Institute has applied supposedly Objectivist principles to big issues in order to produce off-the-peg op-ed articles: 'The Racism of “Diversity”'; 'The False Equation of Secularism with Political Correctness'; 'Israel Has a
"25.11.2016 12:30:01" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christian Lorentzen · Short Cuts I have trouble drumming up fear in my heart for the likes of Kushner, Bannon, Palin or even Bolton, a devil we know from the Bush administration whose bark as ambassador to the United Nations was always worse than his bite. 'Paul Ryan enjoys a reputation as a right-wing policy intellectual, an epithet repeated in the New York Times as if he was the softly-braided nymph Calypso' – Christian Lorentzen on 'the truly frightening figures in the coming administration', from the
"25.11.2016 09:30:00" lrb.co.uk LRB · Charles Nicholl · That Wild Mercury Sound Like many of his fans, I consider Dylan to have been at his greatest in the 1960s. There have been many later spikes of greatness, but they are measured against the quintessential Dylan of that first decade. 'He comes in with a buzz of ideas, half-formed songs and sound qualities, and everyone on both sides of the glass has to play catch-up as best they can' – Charles Nicholl on Bob Dylan's 1965–6, from the new issue.
"24.11.2016 17:30:02" lrb.co.uk LRB · Eric Hobsbawm · Goodbye Columbus Thanksgiving is celebrated by a meal that consists essentially of the New World foods which the colonists learned to live on from the Indians: culminating, as we all know, in the turkey. 'To this day the great symbolic festival of the USA, Thanksgiving, records a debt of the first colonists to the Indians, which subsequent white civilisation repaid by driving them out' – Eric Hobsbawm on 1492 and its cultural consequences in Europe, from
"24.11.2016 12:37:27" lrb.co.uk Oscar Webb: In Corleone The dramatic view from M.'s window stretches almost to the coast. It gave the hotel its name and the tourists who used to stay there must have appreciated it. But for the new residents it's mostly a reminder of how isolated they are. 'Whoever is brought to these centres directly from the port thinks that Sicily is made up only of forests, that's how remote these centres are … We are young and want to continue to live our lives, not waste them away waiting here.'
"24.11.2016 10:33:39" lrb.co.uk Frederick Wilmot-Smith · Who speaks for the state? What is the proper distribution of power between Parliament and the executive? It's a question raised by the recent High Court decision in Miller v. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. 'In light of the executive's failure to defend the judiciary in the aftermath of the decision, their incoherent proposals for leaving the EU, and broader concerns about the democratic legitimacy of Parliament, no one should feel entirely sanguine if the
"23.11.2016 19:53:45" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Hofmann · Catching I suppose no translator of Celan would have the hubris to say he had caught or could compass Celan: all he is doing is standing in very little light, and waiting to catch something of unknown dimensions. 'Celan perfected a style of writing that was able to absorb unprecedented quantities of reality: so much so that the poems don't require to be read so much as reconstituted' – Michael Hofmann on Paul Celan, born #otd in 1920, from the #LRBarchive.
"23.11.2016 17:30:08" lrb.co.uk Moira Donegan: Outside Trump Tower In the subway station at Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street you start seeing people holding signs. They move in clusters up or down the stairs to the train, clutching their flaps of cardboard: 'No Racism'; 'Immigrants Make America'. On the first day of the protests, a man walked out onto one of the balconies to take a selfie above the howling crowd. He raised his middle finger before going back inside.
"23.11.2016 12:55:25" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jan-Werner Müller · Capitalism in One Family The vote for Donald Trump may well have been what Michael Moore called the 'biggest fuck-you ever recorded in human history', but it isn't just the size of the fuck-you that matters; it's also who delivers it. 'Populists claim that they and they alone speak in the name of what they tend to call the “real people” or the “silent majority”. This claim to a moral monopoly of representation has consequences that are immediately deleterious for democracy.'
"23.11.2016 10:23:20" lrb.co.uk Neve Gordon: Israel's New Friends But if an anti-Semite can be a Zionist then anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same. 'Israel's leaders and their right-wing Jewish allies in the United States, in other words, have no problem stomaching anti-Semitism so long as the anti-Semite supports Zionism' – Neve Gordon on Israel's New Friends, from the LRB blog.
"22.11.2016 17:38:04" lrb.co.uk Inigo Thomas: Goldwater Revisited For the paranoid style it isn't enough to have an opponent; an enemy is necessary. Trump country, it seems, is Goldwater country revisited.
"22.11.2016 12:44:29" lrb.co.uk LRB · Philippe Sands and Helena Kennedy · In Defence of Rights We were appointed to the Commission on a Bill of Rights in March 2011 by Nick Clegg. The circumstances were not auspicious. In Defence of Rights, by Helena Kennedy and the winner of this year's Baillie Gifford Prize, Philippe Sands, from the #LRBarchive.
"22.11.2016 09:44:12" lrb.co.uk Jeremy Harding: All Over for Sarkozy Fillon, with his dry Thatcherite platform, took the alienated vote and now finds himself with a lead of 16 points over Juppé for next Sunday's run-off. 'His campaign drove him so far into the gloomy identitarian recesses of the right that he might as well have run it from the sleeve of Le Pen's dressing gown' – Jeremy Harding on Nicolas Sarkozy's shock defeat, from the LRB blog.
"21.11.2016 21:39:28" lrb.co.uk LRB · Declan Kiberd · Demented Brothers William Trevor recently admitted that he was still a 'God-botherer . . . one of the six left in the pews listening to the tape-recording'. 'The short paragraphs, cut and chiselled, are those of a puritan stylist. Vital pieces of information are quietly slipped in in mid-paragraph. The technique is the Joycean epiphany: a state of near-paralysis is revealed not only to the reader but also to
"21.11.2016 19:01:17" Zadie Smith: 'Swing Time' We're streaming live from the London Review Bookshop's sold-out event at RIBA featuring Zadie Smith reading from her new novel, Swing Time, and discussing it with Nikita Lalwani. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments and we'll try to put them
"21.11.2016 16:28:12" lrb.co.uk LRB · Frank Kermode · Here she is What makes this novel a bit unusual is that it is conceived as an act of homage to E.M. Forster, 'to whom', the author writes, 'all my fiction is indebted, one way or the other'. 'Her characters are down to earth: they are coarse, fat, bald, myopic, have uneven teeth, they talk their own talk, and are, in short, human, living all they can since that's all they have' – Frank Kermode reviews On Beauty, Zadie Smith's third novel.
"21.11.2016 12:34:26" lrb.co.uk Asmaa Waguih: Waiting to Cross In a crowded room at a detention centre in Zawiya in western Libya, women from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Eretria, Benin, Liberia, Chad and Niger told me they wanted to go back home. 'The push factor, in a globalised world full of unconfirmable promise, is as strong as the pull factor' – Asmaa Waguih reports from a detention centre in western Libya.
"21.11.2016 11:03:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christian Lorentzen · Why am I so fucked up? Why have I been such a conventional writer? Smith seems to have been asking herself in the process of writing the novel. Her first move is to dip into the modernist toolkit. 'Realism, it seemed, was on the run, and it turned out that novels in English could still be vehicles for avant-garde ideas. Why not try to be James Joyce?'
Christian Lorentzen on NW, Zadie Smith's fourth novel. We'll be live-streaming her sold-out
"20.11.2016 16:05:16" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christopher Hitchens · Booze and Fags Smoking is, in men, a tremendous enhancement of bearing and address and, in women, a consistent set-off to beauty. Who has not observed the sheer loveliness with which the adored one exhales? That man has never truly palpitated. Marx reflected gloomily, as many a freelance scribbler has done whose stipend won't cover his humble snout bill, that 'Capital will not even pay for the cigars I smoked writing it' – Christopher Hitchens on booze and fags, from the #LRBarchive.
"20.11.2016 11:20:40" lrb.co.uk LRB · Owen Hatherley · Strange, Angry Objects 'For us,' Steffen Ahrends told his son Peter, who was born in Berlin in 1933, 'the history of architecture started with the Soviet 1917 revolution.' It wasn't entirely a joke. '“Fuck Henry Moore” was one slogan' – Owen Hatherley on the Brutalist decades, from the latest issue.
"19.11.2016 17:25:00" lrb.co.uk Fatema Ahmed: Where is 'The Secret of England's Greatness'? Thomas Jones Barker's painting shows Queen Victoria handing an ornate Bible to an even more ornately dressed African man bowing before her. 'Only their gazes connect along a dramatic diagonal filled by a dark background' – Fatema Ahmed on 'The Secret of England's Greatness', by Thomas Jones Barker, from the LRB blog.
"19.11.2016 14:03:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Runciman · Is this how democracy ends? On election night, Paul Krugman asked in the New York Times whether the US was now a failed state. From the next issue:
'People voted for him because they didn't believe him. They wanted change but they also had confidence in the basic durability and decency of America's political institutions to protect them from the worst effects of that change.
"18.11.2016 18:10:04" lrb.co.uk Alex Abramovich: On Spring Street This line came back to me as I walked through Judd's building, which feels very much like walking around in his head. 'It would be a mistake to think that after reading nearly nine hundred pages of Don's writings you will know him,' Judd's son Flavin warns in Donald Judd Writings.
"18.11.2016 13:29:57" lrb.co.uk LRB · Philip Roth · Pictures of Malamud The 46-year-old man that I met at the Bakers' little house in Monmouth, Oregon in 1961 never let on that he could have written such a line, neither then nor in all the years I knew him. 'He tried to say some sweet thing but his tongue hung in his mouth like dead fruit on a tree, and his heart was a black-painted window' – Philip Roth on Bernard Malamud, from the #LRBarchive.
"18.11.2016 10:22:09" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · At the Movies Fontaine knows when to linger over a long walk through the snow, for example, and when to cut sharply from departure to arrival, leaving out a whole journey in a jeep. 'The elegant neutrality of the framing makes us feel the movie itself is trying not to intrude on the story it is crass enough to tell' – Michael Wood on Anne Fontaine's The Innocents, from the latest issue.
"17.11.2016 17:48:43" lrb.co.uk LRB · Stephen Alford · On a par with Nixon Here is Gloriana utterly deflated, for much of the time at Nixonian levels of self-deception. Bad Queen Bess?
"17.11.2016 13:30:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · Doing blow Most of our current nostalgia goes to the Fifties and Sixties when it doesn't go to some Victorian never-never land. The Seventies! How could we forget them? Or remember them? 'Taxi Driver would have been a cokey movie even if the entire set had been clean' – Michael Wood on Martin Scorsese, on his 74th birthday.
"17.11.2016 10:52:35" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Kidd · It was worse in 1931 It is hard to imagine Clement Attlee, the most effective champion of ordinary working people in Labour's history, thriving in Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. He had very limited patience for leftist fads and the highbrows who prattled on about them. At a meeting of Edwardian Fabians attended by George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb, Attlee whispered to his brother: 'Do we have to grow a beard to join this
"16.11.2016 21:04:30" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christopher Hitchens · Newtopia Are we supposed to dislike a writer with such a boyish love for dinosaurs? These great lizards are to Gingrich a sort of King Charles's Head: he can't keep them out of the narrative. 'It's not the fraudulence that strikes the eye so much as the self-pity. The bosses of the new conservatism go about the place talking (but by no means looking) like the members of some dissident and persecuted underground' – Christopher Hitchens on Newt
"16.11.2016 18:07:02" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alan Bennett · Keeping On Keeping On The LRB published its first instalment of Alan Bennett's diary in February 1984. To celebrate the release, this evening, of 'Alan Bennett's Diaries Live' in cinemas across the UK, watch an exclusive clip from the film, and explore a short reading list we've prepared for the occasion.
"16.11.2016 12:28:25" lrb.co.uk LRB · Will Self · At the Wellcome My regular visits to the locked ward at the Royal Free Hospital in London, when I was still in my teens, made such a vivid impression on me that I've gone on trying to imagine these singular – yet synecdochic – spaces throughout my writing career. 'I've visited a fair few in my life' – Will Self on Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond at the Wellcome Collection, from the latest issue.
"16.11.2016 10:35:41" lrb.co.uk Sophie Cousins: Three Deaths per Minute According to the World Health Organisation's most recent global TB report, the epidemic is larger than previously estimated, with 10.4 million new infections in 2015. More than 9000 cases of TB were diagnosed in the UK last year.
"15.11.2016 18:38:11" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Jones · Whisky and Soda Man When I was 12, I read a story by J.G. Ballard about a boy who has lived all his life in a vast city. One day, he decides to take a train out of the metropolis, to find a wide open space where he can fly a kite. 'A disastrous blunder that opened a vent of hell, and confirmed me as a long-standing whisky drinker' – J.G. Ballard's description of the first and only time he tried LSD. He was born #otd in 1930.
"15.11.2016 12:06:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jan-Werner Müller · The party's over The worst of the economic crisis might be over, but the political crisis in Europe is only just beginning. Most read in the #LRBarchive: Jan-Werner Müller on the hollowing of Western democracy.
"14.11.2016 17:00:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · R.W. Johnson · Trump: Some Numbers Marx foresaw ever greater concentrations of capital accompanied by the pauperisation of the working class. But the result has been the opposite of what Marx predicted: the rise of right-wing demagoguery. 'When Bill and Hillary arrived in Washington in 1992 they had little money. Now, despite remaining notionally in public service throughout, they are worth many millions of dollars. Tony and Cherie Blair were not obscenely wealthy when they arrived in
"14.11.2016 13:51:16" lrb.co.uk Adam Shatz: Trump World Trump's appeal to both men and women rested on his promise to impose a lost or threatened order of racial and gender hierarchies. The appeal was made not rationally or programmatically, but libidinally – it was the erotic call and response that won. 'Trump's performance of over-sized masculinity (despite the small size of his hands) made him seem to many capable of restoring a lost or threatened order' – read Joan Scott's response to Adam Shatz's analysis of the Trump phenomenon on the LRB blog.
"14.11.2016 11:19:32" lrb.co.uk LRB · Nick Richardson · 'The Bestseller Code' It must matter that Christian Grey is a dashing billionaire, not a pizza delivery boy, and that what he does with Anastasia is not fishing, and that the Da Vinci Code contains secrets about Jesus's sex life, not his thoughts on vol-au-vents. Danielle Steel's Power Play is driven by a logic of anti-escapism in which board meetings are as thrilling to its protagonist as kinky sex is to Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey (first sentence: 'Fiona Carson left her office with the perfect
"13.11.2016 17:26:33" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Chatterton Williams · Fried Fish Over the past few years, roughly the entire second term of the Obama administration, a consensus has taken shape online and also in more traditional arenas of American political activism and cultural production. Before the publication of The Underground Railroad, it would have been difficult to imagine a less obvious candidate for the title of Woke Black Artist of the Year than the 47-year-old Colson Whitehead.
"13.11.2016 12:15:42" lrb.co.uk Dave Haslam: Musique de France At the time of the terrorist attacks in the 10th and 11th arrondissements a year ago I was at home in Manchester, but I know the area quite well. 'It was an attack on my tribe' – Dave Haslam on the Bataclan, one year on, from the LRB blog.
"12.11.2016 15:53:02" lrb.co.uk LRB · Thomas Jones · Earthquake! It isn't just buildings that crumble in earthquakes, it's language, too. Clichés fall apart: safe as houses, old as the hills, solid ground. Other words slough off their figurative encrustations and regain their specificity: epicentre, seismic shift. Earthquake!
"12.11.2016 14:06:44" lrb.co.uk LRB · Paul Keegan · Lethal Pastoral Any life of A.E. Housman is an assemblage of the already known and the well documented. Housman's stage-management of his reputation was as controlled as his quatrains. With his odd proleptic flair Housman may yet provide the motto for England's solitary tomorrows: 'In the nation that is not/Nothing stands that stood before.'
"11.11.2016 18:04:46" lrb.co.uk Benjamin Markovits: Leonard Cohen and Me When I heard that Cohen had died I texted an old friend I've been slowly drifting apart from, just from the usual vicissitudes of being grown-up, having kids: the bird on the wire has flown away. Cohen's style – bookish, seriously but also ironically sentimental, self-consciously poetic, genuinely wisdom-seeking – came closer to something I could realistically aspire to than anything Dylan had to offer, with his experience-hungry,
"11.11.2016 16:47:21" lrb.co.uk Amy Larocca: 11/9 In the classroom the one kid who voted for Trump in the classroom election was running around shouting: 'Donald Trump is president isn't that funny?' I couldn't look at the father, who dresses like one of the villains from Revenge of the Nerds. 'It's bad bad bad bad bad.'
"11.11.2016 11:54:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · Bee Wilson · A Little Talk in Downing St During one seven-day period, Asquith wrote Venetia 14 letters amounting to ten thousand words in all; page after page was filled with secret details about the war. 'The Venetia he addresses is partly a daughter, partly a lover, and partly a projection of himself' – Bee Wilson on the Asquith-Venetia letters, from the new issue.
"10.11.2016 18:34:05" lrb.co.uk Adam Shatz: Trump World Liberal intellectuals expressed their shock that a man of such belligerence and vulgarity could find favour with the electorate, but Trump's admirers love him because of those attributes, which they recognise in themselves. Donald Trump's quasi-apocalyptic victory marks the end of American exceptionalism.
"10.11.2016 12:48:37" lrb.co.uk LRB · Neal Ascherson · Hitler as a Human 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. Germany, the 9/10 November, 78 years ago:
'Like his predecessors, Volker Ullrich notes that Jew-hatred and territorial expansion (Lebensraum) were Hitler's only two consistent principles, and his account of how the alternation between semi-spontaneous
"10.11.2016 10:57:33" lrb.co.uk Neal Ascherson · England prepares to leave the world I never thought I would see this opera again. 'Rule Britannia!' peals, the curtain parts, and there is a mad queen poling her island raft away into the Atlantic. Her shrieks grow slowly fainter, as the mainland falls behind. Meanwhile, in England...
"09.11.2016 15:13:47" lrb.co.uk James Meek: Insubstantial Champions Am I too jaded to hope, in politics, for something real – something, not someone – to yearn for, and not just something to hate? 'I still feel more disgusted, angry and ashamed about the other side winning than I do about my side losing' – James Meek on similarities between the Brexit vote and Trump's victory, from the LRB blog.
"09.11.2016 13:33:19" Timeline Photos Our new issue is now online, featuring Neal Ascherson on post-Brexit England, Thomas Chatterton Williams on wokeness, Bee Wilson on the Asquith-Venetia letters, Paul Keegan on A.E. Housman and not one reference to Donald Trump, the US Election or the
"09.11.2016 11:45:44" lrb.co.uk Edward Luttwak: Why Fascism is 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. Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future, from the #LRBarchive.
"09.11.2016 10:26:28" lrb.co.uk LRB · Malcolm Bull · Great Again 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? 'At a time when the long heralded decline of the West is finally becoming an objective reality, the 'lower middle class of the rich world' stands in an ambiguous position. Geography still counts for almost everything, and in global terms that class
"08.11.2016 23:01:49" lrb.co.uk August Kleinzahler: Fight it! Ron White is a comedian from Texas who delivers his monologues, to large crowds, in an amply tailored suit with an expensive bottle of scotch on a small table at his side. One of his most famous routines is 'You Can't Fix Stupid'. 99 per cent of the Americans casting their votes for Donald Trump are gullible, ignorant, disaffected and mean-spirited.
"08.11.2016 19:04:09" 'Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner': Mark Ford and Seamus Perry This was a live stream from the London Review Bookshop's event featuring Mark Ford and Seamus Perry discussing Thomas Hardy's relationship with London.
"08.11.2016 15:13:46" lrb.co.uk LRB · C.H. Sisson · Miserable Creatures Decidedly one does not like Hardy any better for reading his letters; they would be sobering for anyone foolish enough to think that the charm of a poet's work must extend to his life. 'Although I can influence a London public to a slight extent ... I can influence nobody down here.'
For anybody looking to avoid election coverage later, we'll be live-streaming tonight's London Review Bookshop event, featuring Mark Ford and Seamus Perry
"08.11.2016 13:03:25" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: Locke, Schmitt and Carroll 'The question is,' Alice says to Humpty Dumpty, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' No, he says, 'the question … is which is to be master – that's all.' Or, if not all, it's always a question worth asking. The US National Socialist Movement has reportedly dispatched plain-clothes vigilantes to monitor supposed voter fraud at today's polls on Trump's behalf.
"08.11.2016 11:11:10" lrb.co.uk John Perry: 8a Victoria Street Few residents fought for Lawrence to be recognised in the place which figures so prominently in his novels. One who did was Enid Goodband, who died this month at the age of 91. 'To many locals he was “that mucky man” who'd left the town then rubbished its reputation' – John Perry on D.H. Lawrence and the town he grew up in, Eastwood in Nottinghamshire, from the LRB blog.
"07.11.2016 18:11:17" lrb.co.uk LRB · Michael Wood · Losing the Light He is the man with the trench coat and the eternal cigarette, existentialism's private eye; an actor and a director of actors; a crusading journalist in Algeria and France; friend of Sartre and Beauvoir, and then their loyal, always reliable foe. 'He makes Rodin's Thinker look like a man who is only pretending to have a mind' – Michael Wood on Albert Camus, born #otd in 1913.
"07.11.2016 13:22:13" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Diski · Not Enjoying Herself While she was young, Margaret Rose was the apple of her father's eye, enchanting to all who met her, talented, witty, artistic, they said – and then one day she was middle-aged, frumpy, snobbish, self-centred, a raddled old gin tippler and a bore. 'So much apparent promise, so little follow through' – Jenny Diski on Princess Margaret, from the #LRBarchive.
"07.11.2016 10:09:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Pemble · Besieged by Female Writers Three-volume, double-plot novels about people in crinolines, gaiters and stovepipe hats had had their day, especially when their author was reputed less for quality than quantity, and more for observation than vision. 'For a long time Anthony Trollope was remembered as the civil servant who introduced the pillar box to Britain and wrote fiction in three-hour stints before breakfast, sitting in front of a clock to make sure he produced 250 words every 15 minutes' – John
"06.11.2016 18:09:51" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Runciman · How can it work? There has never been anything else like it. Even now, as democracy becomes an ever more familiar feature of our world, there is still nothing like the American version. 'An amazing, fascinating, bewildering thing' – David Runciman on American democracy, from 2013. Artwork from our 21 May 1987 issue.
"06.11.2016 13:14:33" lrb.co.uk LRB · David Armitage · Out of this World It can hardly be a coincidence that the historical study of utopias has accelerated as faith in the promises of utopianism has declined. 'More, Thomas, Sir, Saint' – David Armitage on Utopia, from the #LRBarchive. #Utopia500
"06.11.2016 10:28:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · Seamus Perry · Against the Same-Old Same-Old Robert was perfectly sincere in his insistence that Elizabeth was the real thing and himself only a very rough approximation. 'Ted and Sylvia have eclipsed it a bit now, but for a long time the elopement from Wimpole Street was the great English literary romance' – Seamus Perry on the Brownings' correspondence, from the latest issue.
"05.11.2016 16:31:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Bossy · A Tall Stranger in Hoxton Antonia Fraser's word for the scheme is 'terrorism', and she makes no bones about using it, though she implies in her dedication that some of her Catholic friends and relations would feel differently. 'What were the men to do but reach for their swords, on which they had first engraved the passion of Christ; or, ungentlemanly as it was, for their gunpowder?' John Bossy on the Gunpowder Plot, from the #LRBarchive.
"05.11.2016 15:40:51" Timeline Photos Read the story: lrb.me/rb0
"05.11.2016 10:47:28" lrb.co.uk James Butler: The Press v. the Judges Thomas Mair, charged with Jo Cox's murder, entered his name in court as 'death to traitors, freedom for Britain'. Perhaps he should have considered a career as a headline-writer. 'If these are the headlines over a relatively minor court case, just think what would be in store for anyone voting against a Brexit bill should it ever be moved in Parliament' – James Butler on yesterday's headlines, from the LRB blog.
"04.11.2016 18:07:38" lrb.co.uk Adam Rasmi: Trudeau's First Year Behind his signature 'sunny ways', Trudeau is more or less another Liberal standard bearer. 'As the West lurches to the right, he still looks comparatively benign' – Adam Rasmi on Trudeau one year on, from the blog.
"04.11.2016 13:25:27" lrb.co.uk LRB · Christian Lorentzen · Homo Trumpiens Whatever his public contortions, Ryan has always clearly hated Trump. There's the contrast of their personas: Ryan the clean-cut, humble rural prom king and Trump the sleazy big-city real estate mogul and reality television executioner. 'Hey, everybody, how about it, huh?' Paul Ryan said, coming onto a stage decorated with hay bales and pumpkins in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of 9 October. 'Man, good day! Good to see you, what a beautiful day, huh? Welcome to Fall Fest, you
"04.11.2016 11:24:06" lrb.co.uk LRB · Fredric Jameson · Slavoj Žižek's Paradoxes What can be the theoretical, if not indeed the philosophical content of Žižek's little interpretative tricks? 'The self-consuming movement of the theoretical process gets slowed down and arrested, its provisional words turn into names and thence into concepts, the anti-philosophy becomes a philosophy in its own right' – Jameson on Žižek, from the #LRBarchive.
"03.11.2016 17:42:20" lrb.co.uk LRB · John Sturrock · The Man from Nowhere This admirable biography has persuaded me that there's more to be got nowadays from reading about Malraux's remarkable life than there is from returning to his oeuvre. 'By his own valuation, which he was ready on occasion to share with others, he was very extraordinary indeed' – John Sturrock on André Malraux, born #otd 115 years ago.
"03.11.2016 12:47:09" lrb.co.uk LRB · Colin Burrow · Big Rip-Off Certainly there are grounds for weeping over some of this batch of novelistic adaptations of Shakespeare, all of which are of comedies or tragicomedies rather than tragedies. 'Guys, let's get Howard to rewrite Merchant for the 400th' – Colin Burrow on this year's Shakespeare riff-offs, from the latest issue.
"03.11.2016 10:30:05" lrb.co.uk Hugh Pennington: Little fleas have lesser fleas Wolbachia, a bacterium that lives in the reproductive systems of insects and worms, is one of the commonest parasites in the world. The announcement on 26 October that the Wellcome Trust, the Gates Foundation and the UK, US and Brazilian governments will spend $21.7 million over the next two years releasing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia in Rio de Janeiro and
"02.11.2016 19:37:53" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ferdinand Mount · Adored Gazelle Balfour saw no looming conflict, even ten years later, having in the meantime been cheered by Jewish settlers in Jerusalem and rescued by French cavalry from an angry mob in Damascus. 'Even when he saw clearly, he seldom saw steadily' – Ferdinand Mount on Balfour, whose Declaration was sent #otd 99 years ago.
"02.11.2016 18:07:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Robert Irwin · Church of Garbage In his preface to The Crusades, Yasir Suleiman, professor of Arabic at Edinburgh University, observes that 'the author has as her primary aim the scholarly objective of balancing the skewed picture of the Crusades in Western scholarship.' 'The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was almost invariably referred to as the Church of Garbage' – Robert Irwin on Islamic perspectives on the Crusades. He'll be talking about his new novel at the London Review Bookshop tomorrow night; buy one of the handful
"02.11.2016 12:46:35" lrb.co.uk Schona Jolly: Henry VIII Clauses The use of Henry VIII clauses, which give government ministers the power to amend, repeal or improve legislation without oversight or scrutiny from Parliament, is inevitable. 'Restoring sovereignty to Parliament could not be further from the undemocratic reality of what is being proposed' – Schona Jolly on Article 50, from the LRB blog.
"02.11.2016 09:46:36" lrb.co.uk LRB · Ian Sansom · Everything You Know In many ways, Alison Kinney's Hood isn't about hoods at all. It's about what – and who – is under the hood. It's about the hooding, the hooders and the hoodees. 'It wasn't until the 16th century that Death unleashed his signature look' – Ian Sansom on hoods, from the latest issue.
"01.11.2016 13:04:12" lrb.co.uk Bernard Porter: Sorry, Sarge Everyone hated the corps, except for a few fascist-minded boys; they formed the 'Right Wing National Party' in our school mock elections, and went around with little polished sticks shouting themselves blue in the face. 'God what a farce' – Bernard Porter on the plan to institute military cadet corps in schools, from the LRB blog.
"01.11.2016 10:01:41" lrb.co.uk LRB · Peter Geoghegan · Brexit and the SNP If there is another independence vote, the pitch will be straightforward: progressive Scotland v. reactionary Tory Westminster. This might seem the time for the Nationalists to be bold, but the SNP hierarchy is divided.
"31.10.2016 18:01:16" lrb.co.uk LRB · Terry Eagleton · Running out of Soil Protestant Gothic – a world of decay, madness and murderous loathing, in which the burden of a bloodstained past weighs like a nightmare on the living – can be seen as the political unconscious of a chronically insecure ruling class. 'Dracula is that most Irish of villains, an absentee landlord, who leaves his Transylvanian castle to buy up property in London' – Terry Eagleton on Bram Stoker, from 2004.
"31.10.2016 12:20:16" Timeline Photos 'The Stairwell' by Michael Longley, a poem from 2011. Read the other 22 poems by Longley in the #LRBarchive: lrb.me/x40
"31.10.2016 09:25:08" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Turner · Vegetarian Vampires Since Polidori, vampires have been at least in part expressions of middle-class fear and envy of a decadent but mysteriously powerful European aristocracy. How, then, does this work in a New World high school? 'Why can't I be freed of the need for food and sleep, why can't I squirm exquisitely in skinny trousers, why can't I be for ever beautiful and young?' Jenny Turner on Twilight, from the #LRBarchive.
"30.10.2016 15:04:32" lrb.co.uk LRB · Karl Miller · Things Ghosts did not go out when electric light came in, though it could be felt at the time that this was bound to happen. They can look like a trick of the moonlight and candlelight of the past. 'Those who lie awake now at night listening to the howling of ambulances, to shouts in the street, to the speeding cars of a violent Police, may reflect that we have worse things to fear than banshees' – Karl Miller on ghosts, from the #LRBarchive.
"30.10.2016 11:44:07" lrb.co.uk LRB · Rosemary Hill · Snob Cuts I once found a copy of Jilly Cooper's Class (1979) in the bargain box outside a friend's second-hand bookshop. When I asked how much it was he winced visibly and said: 'Just take it, I can't bear to have it in the shop.' 'The disdain of the cool Mac user for the PC plodder, Prince William's friends' hilarity when they found that Carole Middleton kept her tomatoes in the fridge, the fact that people who post pictures of their lunch on social media are generally looked down
"29.10.2016 14:00:03" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jeremy Harding · At the Whitechapel He likes to revisit the sites of earlier victories and re-enact them as if the outcome still remained to be seen. 'An artist who can bring two rectangles of wood to life as dramatis personae in a vexing modernist opera could probably animate an insurance policy' – Jeremy Harding on William Kentridge, from the new issue.
"29.10.2016 10:36:36" lrb.co.uk Glen Newey: The Walloon Impasse For some reason, despite the Brexity brouhaha over other European treaties, British sovereignty doesn't seem to have been an issue in the CETA talks, even though ceding sovereignty is central to the agreement. 'Viewed in the blear light of Brexit, the Walloon impasse, however temporary, suggests it won't be straightforward to get any deal past the 27 EU rump nations' – Glen Newey on 'plucky little' Wallonia, from the blog.
"28.10.2016 15:08:21" Is this a brogue? 'It turns out some people think they're Oxfords' – Marina Warner on why her mother's shoes are really, definitely, unquestionably brogues. Read more: lrb.me/xv0
"28.10.2016 11:56:14" lrb.co.uk LRB · Owen Bennett-Jones · Islamic State v. al-Qaida As things stand, with IS in control, the city's residents can hope to escape notice by obeying the rules and keeping a low profile. Underlying tensions are likely to be exposed when the Iraq army and Shia militias take back the city of Mosul from Islamic State, which they hope to do by the end of the year. Some of the city's Sunni population, however much they resent Islamic State,
"28.10.2016 09:14:39" lrb.co.uk Jenny Turner: Angela Carter in the 'London Review' The pieces that really leap at you from the archive are three from the middle 1980s about food and foodies or, as Carter called it, 'conspicuous gluttony' and 'piggery triumphant', and how 'genuinely decadent' she found the foodie search. 'A day without argument is like an egg without salt' – to accompany her essay about Angela Carter in the new issue, Jenny Turner introduces Carter's own contributions to the #LRBarchive.
"27.10.2016 17:10:40" lrb.co.uk LRB · Elaine Showalter · Slick Chick We all know the story. A brilliant, neurotic young American woman poet, studying on a fellowship at Cambridge, meets and marries the 'black marauder' who is the male poet-muse of her fantasies. 'Slick chick' – Elaine Showalter on Jacqueline Rose on Sylvia Plath, born #otd in 1932.
"27.10.2016 12:09:18" lrb.co.uk Sherry Turkle: We Need to Talk about Donald I try to remind my students of the fragility of our institutions. They say the best thing they can do for the future of the country is prepare themselves in their studies. If democracy is on the ballot, I don't think that's right. 'Tutored by our media, real life has become uncivil' – Sherry Turkle on trying, and failing, to make the presidential debates more polite.
"27.10.2016 08:50:47" lrb.co.uk LRB · Jenny Turner · A New Kind of Being A 'moral pornographer', Carter called herself sometimes; she could also have called herself an ideological choreographer. It's not about getting into the 'right' positions but into interesting and surprising ones. Rick Moody remembered his first encounter with Angela Carter at a creative writing seminar: 'Some young guy in the back … raised his hand and, with a sort of withering scepticism, asked, “Well, what's your work like?” … There were a lot of ums and ahs …
"26.10.2016 17:42:39" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alan Bennett · What I Did in 2015 Years ago when I was still writing TV plays which didn't always go down well, one of the village ladies complained: 'I can't understand how he writes the plays that he does with two such lovely parents as he had.' Alan Bennett is reading from his latest book 'Keeping On Keeping On' at a London Review Bookshop event at the beautiful Union Chapel tonight. Here's his diary from last year.
"26.10.2016 12:31:40" lrb.co.uk LRB · William Davies · Home Office Rules Home secretaries see the world in Hobbesian terms, as a dangerous and frightening place, in which vulnerable people are robbed, murdered and blown up, and these things happen because the state has failed them. 'The question any neoliberal – or liberal for that matter – might now want to ask the Prime Minister is this: on what basis do you distinguish the worthy from the unworthy?'
Our new issue is now online, featuring Jenny Turner on Angela Carter, Owen
"26.10.2016 08:54:47" lrb.co.uk The Editors: The Horrors of Heathrow The airport was conceived in deceit – and nurtured by subterfuge. Heathrow is the worst-sited major airport in the world.
"25.10.2016 21:32:29" lrb.co.uk LRB · Alex Abramovich · Bustin' up the Chiffarobe America's crazy, and so sometimes its pure products go sane. 'The Sellout is 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' – Alex Abramovich reviews the winner of the #ManBooker2016, from earlier this year.
"25.10.2016 18:01:15" lrb.co.uk LRB · August Kleinzahler · All the girls said so What happened between 1948 and 1955 to turn an able scholar and mildly interesting poet into the author of one of the liveliest poem sequences in the modern era? 'Messy Henry, destructive Henry, hateful Henry, devious Henry, pathetic, sozzled, recidivist Henry, self-loathing Henry, song and dance Henry, peccant Henry, grab-ass Henry, stricken-with-guilt Henry, Henry the enduring ruin' – August Kleinzahler on John
"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