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Review | Diane Arbus & Kader Attia at the Hayward Gallery

From the very conception of artistic expression, artists have engaged with the notion of self and the formation of identity. The work of Kader Attia questions the dominance of western hegemonic models in the creation of national culture. Contrasted with the photographs of Diane Arbus, shown on the upper floor as part of a combined ticket, the Hayward Gallery...

Review | Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears at White Cube

A Fortnight of Tears is a major new exhibition of works by acclaimed British artist Tracey Emin. The show features features a large selection of pieces, across a wide variety of media. Upon entering into the stark space of the White Cube, one is immediately confronted by fifty self portraits of Emin. The photographs, taken during the artist’s battle with...

Essay | The Warlock of Love: Revisiting Marc Bolan’s Forgotten Poetry Book Fifty Years On by Joobin Bekhrad

The Warlock of Love
Fifty years ago in March 1969, a rather odd book of verse hit Britain’s bookshelves. Its jacket contained no description of what lay inside — only the image, on both its front and back, of an ashen-faced man, sceptre in hand and visage obscured by corkscrew curls, sitting proudly beneath an egg-like orb. Its title, in the florid lettering...

Archive | Breakfast with Borges by Andrew Graham-Yooll

First published in The London Magazine March 1983, Vol.22, No.12 Jorge Luis Borges entered the Pedmonte Restaurant on Avenida de Mayo with the stiff steps of the unseeing; his face jutting forward to sense what the eyes could not see. It was August 23. Borges was eating out to mark his eighty-third birthday. The eating-house, traditional to politicians and the intelligentsia of...

Review | Ghislaine Leung at the Chisenhale Gallery

Ghislaine Leung’s Constitution opened at the Chisenhale Gallery on the 25th January 2019. The work explores the notion of withdrawal and dependency, utilising noise-cancelling technology to define a sonic space. The work is manifest when a series of guidelines are followed, the size of the door, the internal space. In this way, the piece controls its own space of...

Archive | Review | Evelyn Waugh on Don’t Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford

While looking through our archive recently we came across this review by Evelyn Waugh of Nancy Mitford's novel Don't Tell Alfred from 1960. Displaying a characteristic mix of erudition and passion for story telling (alongside more than a hint of bitterness), we thought that it was a weird slice of literary history that needed to be shared once more....

Review | Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele at the Royal Academy

In chapter 5 of Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities the protagonist Ulrich sets about restoring a house he has just bought: "He was free to follow any principle, from the stylistically pure to total recklessness, free to choose any style from the Assyrians to cubism. What should he choose? Modern man is born...

Review | Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts

Oceania is the first ever major survey of Oceanic art to be held in the UK and is pioneering in its scope and understanding of the individual and collective identity of the Pacific. This epic exhibition marks the 250th anniversary of both the Royal Academy and Captain James Cook’s first expedition to the Pacific on the Endeavour and celebrates the art of...

Review | Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War at the British Library

Anglo-Saxon England, which lasted from the 5th to the 11th centuries, a span two-hundred years longer than the Roman occupation, nevertheless occupies a much smaller space in the contemporary historical imagination. The Latin language, Roman political structures, architecture, literature, religion, and iconography are deeply embedded in English culture, while signs of the more recent and longer-lasting period of history...

Archive | Philip Larkin | Two Poems: To The Sea, Annus Mirabilis 

Two Poems, Philip Larkin London Magazine / January 1970 / Vol.9 No.10     Philip Larkin, (1922-1985) a prolific poet and writer of essays, criticism and reviews within the twentieth-century. Described as ‘England’s other Poet Laureate’, Larkin composed poetry that captured the spiritual-angst of Britain’s post-war landscape, articulating the despair for the forthcoming modern era. These two poems were published...

Essay | Shakespeare’s London and the Emergence of the Playhouse

Today, the idea of the theatre can evoke tradition and history, having perhaps one of the longest histories of all the arts. But when the theatres first began springing up in London in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, they were places that transgressed and challenged social boundaries, and were considered dangerous by the well-to-do of the age. The Emergence of...

Staff Picks | The Best of Gothic Fiction

As it's Halloween, The London Magazine team have been discussing the nature of horror in fiction, and why we are so attracted to reading it. With it's desolate and wild settings, supernatural mysteries, and erotic fantasies, Gothic literature is a richly subversive genre which encapsulates the deeply-rooted fears of the human condition. Arising from a time of profound social change, Gothic...

Archive | Essay | Some Recollections of Brâncuși by Eugène Ionesco

The following essay, originally published in the April 1961 edition of The London Magazine, recounts the time by spent by Eugene Ionesco, one of the 20th century's greatest avant-garde theatre writers, with the Romanian sculptor and painter Constantin Brâncuși, widely thought to be one of the founding fathers of modernist art. Original translation by John Russell, April, 1961. It was in...

Preview | The Turning of The Leaves at Union Chapel

Following last year's immersive multi-screen audio-visual installation for Remembrance Day, artist and poet Jack Miguel, filmmaker Taz Tron Delix and electronic musician Josh Grey-Jung return to Islington's Union Chapel on November 11th with The Turning of The Leaves, a continuation of their exploration of the effect of the First World War on contemporary masculinity. Drawing on research, interviews and participation...

Review | A Very Very Very Dark Matter at the Bridge Theatre

Fairy tales are not really for children. Bluebeard beheads his wives; Little Red Riding Hood’s beloved grandma is eaten alive and impersonated by a wolf; Snow White’s stepmother is forced to dance to death wearing red hot iron slippers. To justify their violent imagery we tell ourselves that these stories communicate valuable morals to our children: stay away from...

Poetry | Woman by Manash Bhattacharjee

Woman “It’s easy, impossible, hard, worth trying.” ~ Wislawa Szymborska, “Portrait of a Woman” (1976) She is intimately attached To night and day. Only the world is bewildering. It isn’t her fruit for the taking. She will have to snatch it, leave her bite-marks. She has other concerns. Where to find herself? In the eyes Of that man, sipping...

Review | Medusa at Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Through beautifully poetic movements and engaging drama, Jasmin Vardimon has created a unique choreographic voice that enables her to explore deeply controversial social and political discourse. I had the pleasure of attending the opening show for her latest creation Medusa, a highly conceptual performance enriched with deep symbolism and motifs which offer an acute observation of human behaviour. The...

Review | Christian Marclay — The Clock at Tate Modern

Christian Marclay Blavatnik Building, level 2 Tate Modern Until 20th January 2019 “Time present and time past”, as T.S. Eliot famously claimed in Burnt Norton, are “both perhaps present in time future, and time future contained in time past.” So, “If all time is eternally present”, he suggests “All time is irredeemable.” These celebrated lines from The Four Quartets might well describe The...

Review | Limbo by Dan Fox

Following on from his brilliant attack on intellectual conservatism in 2016's Pretentiousness: Why It Matters, Dan Fox's new long-form essay Limbo finds the frieze editor all at sea.  Beginning by way of an examination of his own writer's block (and how we are pressured to resist moments to take a breath by a society of relentless economy), Fox moves from discussing the nature of...

Review | The Book of Joan by Lidia Yukavitch | H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker

H(a)ppy, Nicola Barker, William Heinemann, 2017 The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch, Canongate, 2018 In Nicola Barker’s H(a)ppy and Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan, we have two novels that truly highlight what a great, dark, golden age we are living through for dystopian fiction. Both are live-wire novels full of ideas, and should be read by anyone interested in the form. It comes as...

Spotlight II: Dostoyevsky Wannabe

The London Magazine has long been a champion of emerging writers and independent publishers, stretching back to the 1950s and 60s, when young writers like Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes found a home in the pages of the then newly re-launched volumes of the magazine. We want this tradition to continue, and given the renaissance of new independent publishers, we...

Review | Normal People by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney’s long-awaited second novel “Normal People” burst onto the scene last month, and has been making waves in the literary world since its publication. While her acclaimed debut “Conversations With Friends” showed an experimental young writer with exciting promise, “Normal People”, written little under a year afterwards, seems to have pushed the bar higher for her future work,...

Preview | Phoebe Dickinson: Journey Through Landscape at Tessa Packard Showroom

British painter From the 12th of November, BP Portrait Award 2018 nominee Phoebe Dickinson will unveil her new exhibition "Journey Through Landscape", a new collection of urban and pastoral works which will be on display at the Tessa Packard Showroom in Chelsea until the 14th of December. The works were created during and inspired by her year of global...

Essay | ‘Time to Murder and Create’: When Fiction Bleeds into Nonfiction by Mathis Clément

If I were to open by describing my setting  as a desk piled high with old issues of The London Magazine, the wine red May 1960 issue face down on top, rust-brown rimmed teacup marking the narrow No Man’s Land between the pile and my laptop, you would assume I were telling the truth. If I were to add that the red reminded me of blood spilled last week in rage and the brown rimmed cup of the plughole down which that blood spiraled, you would assume I was either lying or mad.

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