Essay | Reflections on The Brothers Karamazov by Patrick Maxwell

In his masterpiece, Enemies of Promise (1938), Cyril Connolly distinguishes between two different styles of writing, which he terms as the ‘Mandarin’ and the ‘Vernacular’. In the former group: Edward Gibbon, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce; among the latter: William Hazlitt, George Orwell, and Christopher Isherwood. Fyodor Dostoevsky is a writer of neither groups [...]

Review | This is Memorial Device by David Keenan

Scottish music in 1983 This is Memorial Device, David Keenan, Faber and Faber, February 2017, pp.304, £14.99, (paperback) News of the death, back in June, of Bogdan...

Smoothly from Harrow, but a Bit Late by Chris Moss

Chris Moss traces the literary journey of the commuter and celebrates his arrival as a 21st century Everyman“Man is born free, and is everywhere...

Essay | W.H. Auden: The Man Who Spoke for the Dumb...

One of the hallmarks of a great artist is their often lugubrious disdain for their own work. The reclusive French composer Paul Dukas was self-critical to the degree that he only allowed fifteen of his works to be published. Needless to say, they have become much loved [...]

Essay | Dostoevsky and Poor Folk by Patrick Maxwell

Wilfred Owen captured the national spirit best when he talked of the ‘drawing-down of blinds’, surely the most succinct depiction of English melancholia. The English spirit – distinct from of Britishness, though also a part of it – is one of deep decline under the shadow of former empire. It is the spirit of T. S. Eliot’s line ‘winter’s afternoon | In a secluded chapel’ in ‘Little Gidding’; of the quiet introit sung by an evensong choir, backing away into the cathedrals’ dingy corners [...]

Essay | I Go Away To Talk To Myself by Sinead...

Sinead O'BrienI Go Away To Talk To Myself A trip has the same quality a Friday has. Everything ahead. It’s like having your back against...

Essay | The King of Hay-on-Wye

A maverick anarchist, bookseller and entrepreneur, Richard Booth, who has died aged 80, transformed the small Powys town of Hay-on-Wye into a mecca for the second-hand book. His significant and colourful legacy in the book trade inspired a formula [...]

News | Caoilinn Hughes, on winning the Collyer Bristow Prize 2019

Caoilinn HughesOn winning the Collyer Bristow PrizeFirst thanks go to my peers—Sophie Mackintosh, Danny Denton, Samuel Fisher and Katherine Kilalea—for writing such good books...

Essay | On Angela Carter by Sharlene Teo

I was thirteen when I first encountered The Bloody Chamber, back in the humid and claustrophobic childhood bedroom that I shared with my older sister in Bukit Timah, Singapore. I remember idly scanning my sister’s bookshelf; plywood, festooned with glow-in-the-dark plastic stars. I spotted a bent orange spine on the second shelf [...]

Writing Courses, London Style by Mark Isherwood

London has a disproportionate number of writers compared to the rest of the nation. Or so we are told. Why is this? Is it...

Archive | Pier Paolo Pasolini — Divina Mimesis: Canto VII

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...

Kenneth Womack | The Making of Penny Lane

The following is an extract from Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Later Years: 1966-2016) by Kenneth Womack, published by...
The Warlock of Love

Essay | The Warlock of Love: Revisiting Marc Bolan’s Forgotten Poetry...

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...

Essay | Memories of the 60s by Leonard Quart

Leonard QuartMemories of the 60s I have been trying hard to emotionally survive the Trump era, while living with feelings of revulsion and hopelessness about...

Battle of Ideas by Francesca Baker

At this year's Battle of Ideas the opening debate concerning literature was entitled To Read or Not To Read - The Canon and the...

Essay | Gentrifying New York by Leonard Quart

The New York one walks through these days is unrecognizable from the city that existed a decade ago. New developments are occurring at a breakneck pace throughout the city, and while much of it is happening on an individual level, some of it is lumped into massive, overweening projects rising all over the five boroughs. They rise even in out-of-the-way and broken neighbourhoods which, in the past, one couldn’t imagine would attract expensive development. But now almost every piece of the city is ripe for development and profit – even in the impoverished South Bronx, large residential and retail project Bronx Point (offering affordable [...]

Essay | Travel Writers as Citizens of Nowhere by Cecily Blench

At the Conservative Party Conference in 2016, shortly after the Brexit vote, the new Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech in which she said these words: ‘If you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere’. She made this point while trying to address the concerns of those who voted for Brexit because of immigration [...]

Archive | Coming to London II by Leonard Woolf

The following piece was first published in The London Magazine October 1955 Volume 2 No. 10 as “Coming to London — II”, part of...

Archive | Apollinaire 1880-1918 by Simon Watson Taylor

‘Où êtes-vous ô jeunes filles’, sighed Apollinaire nostalgically, in a particularly inventive ‘calligramme’ sent from his army post in 1914. And the names he lists form the wings of a dove hovering above a fountain: Mia, Mareye, Yette, Lorie, Annie, Marie. These by no means comprise a roll-call of his youthful conquests, of course. Perhaps they were the only ones he found it convenient to remember at that moment, or perhaps those particular names just fitted nicely into the poem’s [...]

Essay | Living in the Country— 1 by James Stern

I had the good fortune to live in the country until after I came of age. I could recognize and name most of the...

Essay | Heaney At Home by Simon Tait

Simon TaitHeaney At Home Seamus Heaney’s brother Hugh sums him up better than anyone. “Seamus’s feet never left the ground”, he says, “and you could...

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

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 [...]

Essay | How to Run a Queer Reading Series at a...

Queers Read This is an ongoing reading series started independently by artist Richard Porter and myself at the Horse Hospital in London in 2017, and co-run with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) since. Quarterly events feature readings of texts which work across intersectional systems of oppression, and challenge formal distinctions between prose and poetry or critical and creative writing. Themes range from pansies and twink mysticism [...]

Interview | Ben Aleshire

Ben Aleshire makes his living as a travelling poet, writing poems on his typewriter for whatever his readers can spare as a donation, a...

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