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The London Magazine has a publication history spanning almost two hundred years, and has featured work by some of the most prominent names in literature, from John Keats to Hilary Mantel. In this curated selection, we share our favourite pieces from the TLM archive.

The Mother of the Child in Question by Doris Lessing

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When Doris Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007 she was the eleventh woman and the oldest person to ever receive...

Three Poems by Selima Hill

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First published in The London Magazine, October/November 1989 Deep in the Scented House Deep in the scented house, a herring merchant is parting his wife's buttocks with cold hands; while...

A Discovery in the Woods by Graham Greene

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I The village lay among the great red rocks about a thousand feet up and five miles from the sea, which was reached by a...

Till September Petronella by Jean Rhys

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From The London Magazine January 1960 There was a barrel organ playing at the corner of Torrington Square. It played 'Destiny' and ‘La Paloma’ and...

Poetry | Full Fathom Five by Sylvia Plath

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Old man, you surface seldom. / Then you come in with the tide's coming / When seas wash cold, foam- / Capped: white hair, white beard, far-flung, / A dragnet, rising, falling, as waves / Crest and trough. Miles long [...]

The Curtain Blown by the Breeze by Muriel Spark

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From The London Magazine January 1961 It is always when a curtain at an open window flutters in the breeze that I think of that frail...

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

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Philip Larkin (1922-1985) was a prolific poet and writer of essays, criticism and reviews during the twentieth century. Described as ‘England’s other Poet Laureate’,...

The Lake by Ted Hughes

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Better disguised than the leaf-insect, A sort of subtler armadillo, The lake turns with me as I walk. Snuffles at my feet for what I might drop...

Two Wives and a Widow by Angela Carter

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From The London Magazine March 1966 Two Wives and a Widow A modern version from the Middle Scots of William Dunbar If one night in the year...

Poetry | A Letter from Brooklyn by Derek Walcott

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An old lady writes me in a spidery style, Each character trembling, and I see a veined hand Pellucid as paper, travelling on a skein Of such...

Confessions of an English Opium Eater: An Essay by David Punter

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Before its controversial and ground-breaking publication as a book in 1822, Thomas De Quincey's autobiographical account of opiate addiction Confessions of an English Opium...

Leaving School—II by Nadine Gordimer

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My writing life began long before I left school, and I began to leave school (frequently) long before the recognized time came, so there...

Archive | Notes on Raymond Chandler by Ian Fleming

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With the protagonists of their respective novels being so similar, it is perhaps little surprise that the writers Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler struck...

Review | Promising Young Women by Caroline O’Donoghue

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This year has truly brought to the fiction scene some of the most stunning and powerful female characters. From the extreme – such as My...

The Wheelbarrow by V. S. Pritchett

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In August 1960 The London Magazine published V. S. Pritchett’s short story ‘The Wheelbarrow’ alongside four poems by Derek Walcott and reviews by Louis...

Archive | ‘A Message’ from T. S. Eliot

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"What we need is the magazine which will boldly assume the existence of a public interested in serious literature, and eager to be kept in touch with current literature and with criticism of that literature by the most exacting standards."

Poetry | A Dream by John Keats

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This sonnet was written in February 1819. Keats copies it into a letter sent to his brother and sister-in-law, George and Georgiana Keats. Composed...

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

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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...

Essay | Living in London: Highgate by Jonathan Raban

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Jonathan Raban is an award-winning writer, author of among many others, 1974's Soft City, an early classic of psychogeographical urban writing. In February 1970...

Fiction | The Mercedes by Anna Kavan

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For some reason taxis are always scarce in my district. Late on a wet night, the few there were would certainly be engaged, if their drivers weren’t already sitting comfortably at home in the warm. So I was worried about getting one for M, who’d looked in earlier in the evening on his way to visit a patient. He’d seemed quite happy talking about the wonderful big Mercedes he was going to buy as soon as he had enough money, and the wonderful time we were going [...]

Archive | Poetry | The Wiper by Louis MacNeice

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First published in the May 1960 issue of The London Magazine (Volume 7, No. 5). Through purblind night the wiper Reaps a swathe of water

Archive | Why I Write — Joan Didion

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First published in the June/July 1977 of The London Magazine (Vol. 17, No. 2)  Of course I stole the title from George Orwell. One reason...

John Scott’s The London Magazine by Matthew Scott

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The Greek author Lucian tells of a lusty, young aristocrat who fell for a statue of Aphrodite and, willing it to be real, attempted to defile it. He had only the experience of other boys to go on and fell short when it came to the anatomy of women; congress was a hopeless failure and he hurled himself to his death [...]

Essay | The Bazooka Girl — A Note On Anna Kavan...

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If it is possible to concentrate the nature of a person's life into a brief sketch, then that of Anna Kavan is conveyed perfectly in her story Julia and the Bazooka, which seems to me a most symmetrical example of the art by which this obdurately subjective writer chose elements of her life and transformed them into something rich and strange and basically true. Written a year or so before her death in 1968, in a sense she even foresaw her end in this story [...]

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