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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.

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 [...]
From The London Magazine Stories 11, 1979Then the brothel was raided. Christ, he’d only gone down to Spinoza’s to confront Patience with her handiwork. She hadn’t been free when Morgan first arrived so he had chatted to the owner, Baruch —...
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...
First published in the April/May 1976 issue (Vol. 16 No. 1) of The London Magazine (ed. Alan Ross). AFTER THERE WAS NOTHING THERE WAS A WOMANWhose face had reached her mirror Via the vulture’s gullet And the droppings of the wild dog, and she remembers...
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...
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...
Even a London house must have its swifts, the roof should be a beacon in the western light to guide them. Now,at evening, midges rise in beams that sweep the warmed slates as they brim with offerings, a salver to the sky. Skimmingthe...
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 –...
The moon is a sealed coffin A boast The moon of poets The moon of dogs The moon of ovaries The moon of astronauts The invisible moon Knived Sick Yellow Waning Moon-wreath of everyday Moon of gallows Moon-spider Moon-Coin Moon-flag Twenty-eight eights of moon Nailed on Calendars And on the walls of memory.Translated by Nanos Valaoritis
"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."
The following piece was first published in The London Magazine October 1955 Volume 2 No. 10 as “Coming to London — II”, part of an at-the-time regular series about London life.Leonard WoolfComing to London I ‘came to London’ embryonically,...
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
My writing life began long before I left school, and I began to leave school (frequently) long before the recognized time came, so there is no real demarcation, for me, between school and ‘professional’ life. The quotes are there...
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
SynopsisPeople are taking sedatives in boats Going to America. Their names drift back to me— Hollowed out, unpronounceable. I walk through the crowds in the arcades And on the sands.  The Wedding FrameHer veil blows across his face As they cling together.Propped on the mantelpiece, The photograph...
As the young man came over the hill the first thin blowing of rain met him. He turned his coat-collar up and stood on top of the shelving rabbit-riddled hedgebank, looking down into the valley. He had come too far. What had set out as a walk along pleasantly-remembered tarmac lanes had turned dreamily by gate and path and hedge-gap into a cross-ploughland trek, his shoes ruined, the dark mud of the lower fields inching up the trouser legs of his grey suit where they [...]
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 [...]
Peter Bland, the New Zealand writer and actor, has written extensively over his long career, and has been lauded with many accolades, among them the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in 2011. He wrote two poems for The...
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...
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 MacNeice, Roy Fuller and Frank Kermode. Pritchett, himself an avid short story writer, professed that...
For close on forty years I have pursued The ghost of my personality Down endless corridors of a castle Unsuccessfully.If I could catch him, I wonder, By the hem of his fading gown Would he turn and show me a mystery Or with a silent...
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,...
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...
First published in The London Magazine, October/November 1989Deep in the Scented HouseDeep in the scented house, a herring merchant is parting his wife's buttocks with cold hands;while she has buried her face into the pillows to watch the zebras passing gently by:they seem to float like...

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