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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 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 [...]
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 he wrote the following essay for the "Living in London" essay series, of which this...
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 I stole it was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. There you...
This year has truly brought to the fiction scene some of the most stunning and powerful female characters. From the extreme – such as My Absolute Darling’s Turtle Alveston – to the proudly millennial – such as Sally Rooney’s characters –...
"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."
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’, Larkin composed poetry that captured the spiritual angst of Britain’s post-war landscape and articulated the...
Hilary Mantel Alas for the Egg   First published in The London Magazine, Dec/Jan 1986/87 On Sunday, they went to Nicosia. On their right as they drove, but far in the distance, was the faint blue line of the sea. Nearer at hand,...
As England’s oldest literary periodical, The London Magazine has an illustrious history dating back to 1732. To celebrate our heritage, we delved into the archives to discover what was in the magazine exactly 250 years ago this month, in March 1770. A selection of fascinating excerpts is presented below. Many of the writers’ concerns seem strange or even quaint to us now, but several topics of discussion seem to be of enduring relevance [...]
First published in the August 1964 edition of the London Magazine (Vol. 4 No.5) (translated from the Italian text by Bernard Wall) I can well believe those other people who describe him differently from what he was as I knew him,...
    No map traces the street Where those two sleepers are. We have lost track of it. They lie as if under water In a blue, unchanging light, The French window ajar   Curtained with yellow lace. Through the narrow crack Odours of wet earth rise. The snail leaves a...
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 ‘Le Rêve Passe', all tunes I liked, and the wind was warm and kind not...
from Norwegian / oh love, doesn't the fact that the world is so big, / laid out like ripe fruit / make you want to stay? / from Arabic / how I long to cleanse you / in the waters of the Tigris / how I long, as though you were a small and / priceless artefact, / to take you in my arms / from Ant-speak / I will carry you carry you / through legions of grass / protect you from the thumb, / the sole; the eager-feathered bird / will not swoop for you / from American / love is just love, and I'm in it / for the ride, o.k.? that tells me just exactly
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 or kick up, Sucks and slobbers the stones, snorts through its lips Into broken glass, smacks its...
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,...
The first story written after his acclaimed collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, 'Cathedral' by Raymond Carver was included in the Best American Short Stories 1982. It then appeared in his next collection as the...
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 frail thoughts its thread is often broken; Or else the filament from which a phrase is...
With the protagonists of their respective novels being so similar, it is perhaps little surprise that the writers Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler struck up a friendship in the 1950s. After Chandler's death in 1959, Fleming wrote a long...
When Doris Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007 she was the eleventh woman and the oldest person to ever receive the award. The judges marked her out as ‘that epicist of the female experience, who...
  First published in the December 1976/January 1977 of The London Magazine (Volume 16, No.5) Gopal entered his cubby-hole surrounded by huge racks bulging with musty files. He removed his cycle clips with a practised flourish and placed them carefully by...
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 path that wound along the contours of the hills. No one in Pete’s village had...
Known in Japan as the 'bank clerk poet', with her work frequently featuring in the bank newsletter where she was employed, Ishigaki's poetry stretches from the dreariness of domestic life to more complicated implications relating to Japan's history of...
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 is romantic, that night is Midsummer's Eve. Such a night, it was... about midnight, I went out...
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 just days before 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', this sonnet shows clear similarities in theme...
Pier Paolo Pasolini was an Italian poet, novelist and film-maker, who died in mysterious circumstances in 1975 in an as-yet-unsolved murder case. Hailed by many as one of the great intellectual voices of post-war Europe, throughout his life and...

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