Update | A Note on COVID-19

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Dear Reader, We are all facing extraordinary circumstances, and at The London Magazine we think it is important to remain open and transparent at a time when things can feel frightening and uncertain. Sadly, many of our beloved bookshops have had to temporarily close their doors, however [...]

Interview | Jonathan Simons on Analog Sea, Neo-Romanticism and ‘the contemplative...

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'The discomfort of boredom is never something human beings have liked, but reality and nature and the lack of technology, and the rudimentary qualities of technology, pushed back on us. The friction that we want to eradicate is defined by boredom and old age and sickness and death, and we need these things to be human, and we need these things to have interesting, vital arts and letters as well.'

Review | Our Death by Sean Bonney

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Sean Bonney died in Berlin last November at the age of fifty, a couple of months after the publication of Our Death. The collection is a follow-up to his well-received Letters against the Firmament, described by Bonney, in an interview with BOMB magazine, as ‘open letters to the poetry community about the political situation in Britain’. Our Death expands on these epistolary poems: loose translations of the Greek poet Katerina Gogou appear alongside other revelatory material in both prose and verse form. The tone is bleak, drenched in premonitions of death, yet utterly gripping. [...]

Interview | Sinéad Gleeson on solidarity in sickness, isolation and empathy

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Jack Solloway Sinéad Gleeson on solidarity in sickness, isolation and empathy   With the UK government currently advising ‘social distancing’ and the country expecting further preventative measures...

Review | Young Rembrandt & Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of...

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The similarities between the life paths of the 17th century Dutch painters Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693) and Rembrandt (1606-1669) are intriguing. Both grew up in small town Holland, both were apprenticed to local painters at an early age, both moved to Amsterdam to work with a master, both returned to their home towns to perfect their own style, both ended their lives in Amsterdam to which each had returned as their careers began to burgeon [...]

Fiction | Not Contagious by Haleh Agar

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Haleh Agar Not Contagious We’d agreed to the terms and conditions. How to accept and decline an invitation of touch. What to do in case of...

Review | ‘Sleepless’ and ‘If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller’...

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The figure is wearing pyjamas and a pensive expression. He juggles, or simply tries to catch, a piece of falling fruit, the parent of which coils its leaves against a clouded orange backdrop. He is the subject of A Dream (2019), one of a series of paintings by Düsseldorf-based artist Lenz Geerk. Sleepless, as the name suggests, is the result of its creator’s insomnia, and is one of two exhibitions at the newly-launched Mamoth contemporary gallery in Bloomsbury [...]

Interview | Elizabeth Eade at HIX ART

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HIX ART is currently presenting I know you are but what am I, the first major solo exhibition by acclaimed British artist Elizabeth Eade. In this new series of installations, Eade playfully and powerfully continues her exploration of a range of social and political issues. In 2018, Eade won the celebrated HIX Award, judged by the likes of Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk, with her piece Die Liste — a ten-metre-long handwritten list documenting the deaths [...]

Review | Vital Stream by Lucy Newlyn

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For a long time, William Wordsworth had little interest in the sonnet form. ‘I used to think it egregiously absurd,’ he claimed in an 1822 letter to Walter Savage Landor, 'though the greatest poets since the revival of literature have written in it’. If his origin story is to be believed, 1802 was the turning point, when his sister Dorothy read him some of Milton’s sonnets. Struck by their ‘dignified simplicity’ and ‘majestic harmony’, William ‘took fire’, and produced ‘three Sonnets the same afternoon’. He would go on to write no fewer than 523 over the course of his career [...]

Essay | W. W. Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw, Revisited by Vidhi...

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A cold, rainy night in February was apt for revisiting W. W. Jacobs’ 1902 short story, ‘The Monkey’s Paw’, first published in the collection The Lady of the Barge. Set in imperial Britain, the story endures as a spine-chilling classic of genre fiction; one which explores the folly of dabbling with the supernatural, darkness in its many forms, and the threat of the outsider.A non-commissioned officer, on leave from India, visits an elderly couple and their son. That evening he reveals [...]

Interview | Rahman Akar, Founder of Signature African Art

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Over the last decade there has been consistent growth in interest and price for modern and contemporary African artists. While this has largely been true outside of the continent, there is now a growing class of collectors domestically operating in Africa itself. One of these collectors, Rahman Akar, has been doing so for over thirty years. In 1992 Akar founded Signature African Art, a gallery dedicated [...]

Archive | This month in The London Magazine… 250 years ago...

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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 [...]

Review | It still is as it always was by Kalliopi...

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Hosting Kalliopi Lemos and Nancy Atakan’s first ever collaborative exhibition, the neutral space of Pi Gallery wears its adornments well this season. When you walk in, the first thing that catches your eye is an installation composed of two wrought-iron mannequins. Both are naked but wear elaborate gold necklaces, inspired by Ottoman designs, Byzantine armour, as well as a loosely shared cultural experience between the two artists [...]

Essay | Brighton Offshore by Shaun Traynor

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Nine miles out from land but clearly visible, Brighton now has its own extensive windfarm. No matter where you live or work, in a strange way, it is always in front of you. Working at full capacity it can serve up enough electricity to light 350,000 homes and has become an established feature of the landscape. [...]

Interview | Atiq Rahimi on dreams, minimalism and the female nude

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'Depicting the body is a very political act in my culture, no matter what you do with it; even if it’s abstract. Nudity is a political act. Unveiling the body is engaging with the essential in life, the universal. The body is fundamentally the same regardless of gender. Some political regimes divide the genders along the lines of insignificant bodily differences. Politics often create a contradiction between the sexes when, in actual fact, it’s just a difference, nothing else.' [...]

Review | Europa 28, edited by Sophie Hughes and Sarah Cleaves

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Edited by Sophie Hughes and Sarah Cleaves, Europa 28, published by Comma Press, brings together 28 women - a group of artists, writers, scientists and entrepreneurs - to share their perspectives on Europe and its future. Taking its name after the myth of Europa, the anthology comprises essays, short stories and think pieces on this theme. In her introduction, Bates bluntly states that 'Women see things differently.' This is perhaps a understatement [...]

Interview | Joo Yeon Park on Beckett, Failure and ‘the Unword’

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'If you are to fail, you might as well, as Beckett put it, 'fail better'; you might as well volunteer to fail. And failure is, possibly, a necessity in art-making, and it's not necessarily a negative thing in art. It can prove to be a turning-point, to open up a space for discussion, for something that you haven’t expected to see or experience. So it can be a positive thing, so I think there's a double-edged sword in what Beckett means by failure.' […]

Interview | Joe Dunthorne on Cliché, Adulting and Coming of Age

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What do we even want from coming of age? Do we want to be wise, mature people, or do we just care about ticking off a list of pre-agreed markers: homeowning, or a long-term relationship, or whatever it is? Ultimately, you can be a child, you can be the most immature and undeveloped human, and have achieved all those things. So obviously it’s a problematic term. Obviously, Catcher in the Rye is the ultimate touchstone for literary coming-of-age for most people [...]

Archive | Roger Blin and Beckett by Mary Benson

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‘...Some were to say, “At last, a Christian play!” but I soon came to the conviction that for Beckett it was a mockery. I didn’t want to press the symbolic side. I didn’t bother the actors by saying, “Look, careful, this is very important, it means something other than it seems”. I wanted them to discover it for themselves; through the rehearsals they should give something surpassing the everyday realism of tramps — who finally are not tramps but you and me.’ [...]

Interview | Keith Burstein: Tonality, Beethoven and Memories of Bonn

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A new work by composer Keith Burstein, marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, will be performed by the London Chamber Orchestra at the Cadogan Hall in March. Burstein is renowned for his fervent championing of tonal music, as opposed to the atonal style which has dominated classical music teaching and composition for over a century, and Memories of Bonn looks set to ignite the ongoing controversy surrounding the on-going pre-eminence of atonality [...]

Fiction | Blood Brothers by Jessica Andrews

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When we were splattered with freckles and tied up in pigtails, we picked sharp rocks from the garden and pushed them into each other’s wrists, our flesh tender and white like peeled crabs. I remember the way our wounds looked, mushy and filled with pieces of grit. ‘Now we are blood brothers,’ I said. She looked at me from behind her nose. 'Blood sisters,’ she pouted. We got changed on the back seat of the car every Wednesday night as my mam drove us from school [...]

Interview | Radu Oreian: ‘Microscripts and Melted Matters’

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As I wandered through the pacific silence of Nosco Gallery, London, I came across the universe of Radu Oreian's art – and ‘universe’ really is the proper word for it. His works are often massive both in scale and scope. The longer you look, the more you’ll find of the following: sea creatures, bodily fluids, thumb prints, flush plasma, veins and arteries, infinity in pointillism – even nostalgia for your childhood dreams. ‘Microscripts and Melted Matters’ represents a contemporary [...]

Interview | Emma Donoghue on writing hunger

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Set in Ireland in 1858, seven years after the potato famine, The Wonder tells the story of an English nurse who is hired to spend two weeks observing an eleven-year old girl, who, her parents claim, has not eaten for months. Based on the almost fifty cases of ‘fasting girls’ - of women who claimed to be surviving without food for months on end in Europe and North America between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries - Donoghue’s novel anticipates the invention of anorexia [...]

Review | The Sweet Indifference of the World by Peter Stamm

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Christoph and Magdalena. Chris and Lena. Peter Stamm’s latest novel, The Sweet Indifference of the World, is a short, sophisticated tale for the post-truth era, in which four identities become irreparably intertwined. Our narrator, the middle-aged Christoph, invites a young woman named Lena to meet him in a Swedish cemetery: ‘I hadn’t left any number or address, only a time and a place and my first name: Please come to Skogskyrkogården tomorrow at two [...]

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