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

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 [...]

Essay | A.E. Housman: Loveliest of Poets by Patrick Maxwell

A. E. Housman was an introverted man whose poetry is somewhat unique in its widespread appeal. Despite only producing two collections of poetry in his lifetime (A Shropshire Lad in 1896 and Last Poems in 1922), his reputation as a master of lyricism [...]

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 | Low Fidelity: The Case for Shakespeare’s Reinvention by Katrina...

Katrina BennettLow Fidelity: The Case for Shakespeare's Reinvention Perhaps more so than any other Elizabethan writer, William Shakespeare was well aware of the necessity to...

Spotlight IV: Penned in the Margins

The London Magazine has long been a champion of emerging writers and independent publishers, stretching back to the 1950s and 60s, when young writers...

Extract | Rosalind by Arifa Akbar

"Rosalind" by Arifa Akbar, extract taken from Tales of Two Londons: Stories from a Fractured City, ed. Claire Armitstead, Arcadia Books, London, 2019. Copyright...

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...

Easter Island by Fiona Brenninkmaker

Charting the evolution of Easter Island wooden carvings from spiritual receptacle to auction treasure.Allow me to take you on a small journey to Easter...

Dido and Aeneas by Jeffrey Meyers

Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse, Andrea di Robilant, Atlantic Books, 348 pp. £17.99 (hardback).Andrea di Robilant has done extensive research, but...

Essay | Proust’s Secrets Revealed

Marcel Proust and his oeuvre are at once overexposed and mysterious. Entire books and studies have explored the minute details of his personal life and literary work. There is a book about what cures and medications he took specifically for his insomnia. There is a hundred-page academic study dedicated solely to the eight-word first sentence [...]

Essay | Meg Wolitzer’s #MeToo Moment by Sophie Perryer

Meg Wolitzer must be psychic. Well before the explosive allegations against Harvey Weinstein were revealed and the #MeToo movement gathered pace, she penned The...

Review | Fur Coats in Tahiti by Jeremy Over

“The best way to live in the present is less carefully”: for better or worse, Jeremy Over’s winningly preposterous fourth collection, Fur Coats in Tahiti, follows its own advice to the letter. On the whole, I think, the better wins out, but let’s start by getting some of the worse [...]

Essay | Wholly Communion by Scarlett Sabet

On June 11th 1965, over 7,000 people filled the Royal Albert Hall for four hours, smoking, applauding and listening to men that would soon become myth: Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Adrian Mitchell, and Gregory Corso were just some of the poets that performed that night at the International Poetry Incarnation. It was a counter-culture ‘happening’ in one of London's most affluent boroughs, the Royal Albert Hall itself a testament to the power and wealth of the old British Empire [...]

Archive | Coming to London IX by Christopher Isherwood

The following piece was first published in The London Magazine August 1956 Volume 3 No. 8 as "Coming to London — IX", part of...

Essay | What branches grow out of this stony rubbish? by...

Tom Jeffreys“What branches grow out of this stony rubbish?” Some notes on the art of Yelena Popova, Joanna Rajkowska, and Jan Eric Visser April is...

Essay | An argument for theatres by Amber Massie-Blomfield

The last show I saw before lockdown was Love Love Love at the Lyric Hammersmith. 500 of us were in that room; all gathered together to do what, in my pre-quarantine life, I used to do two or three times a week. I didn’t hug my friend when I met him at the start of the evening. It was the beginning of March and what constituted acceptable public behaviour seemed to shift on an hourly basis. We touched elbows. ‘This is probably the last theatre show we’ll ever see,’ [...]

Essay | Becket back in the cathedral

Great drama has a way of always being relevant whenever it is performed, even if, like T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, it isn’t performed very often. The play is, of course, about the assassination of Thomas Becket, but with undertones of the shadow of Fascism over Europe. Next year sees the 850th anniversary of the event [...]

Essay | Foreword to Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes

Jelgava, lying just a short distance south of the Latvian capital Riga, once the seat of the Dukes of Courland as well as being a western outpost of the Russian Tsarist empire, has historically been something of a cultural crossroads. Whereas Riga became prosperous [...]

Essay | The Commune of the City by Ian Stone

On 28 October 1272 King Henry III (1216-72) lay dying at Westminster Palace. His eldest son, Edward, returning from crusade, was about to land...

Essay | Diary of a Pembridge Poet: June 1976 – March...

On 17th June 1976, Robert Greacen, Northern Irish poet and colleague of Chris Rice at a private language school in Holland Park, hosted the first of his poetry workshops from his flat in Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill Gate. As the junior member at that first meeting, Chris kept a diary of the group’s comings and goings, and continued to do so for the next six years. The extracts below trace a ten-month period from the first meeting in a small flat in Notting Hill Gate to the group’s first public reading in Sloane Square [...]

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...

Essay | Layli and Majnun: Romeo and Juliet of the East...

When it comes to love stories, none are as well known in the English language as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In Iran and elsewhere in the Persian-speaking world, however, another pair of star-crossed lovers reigns supreme. Lord Byron, who enthused over ancient Iran in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, called Nezami Ganjavi’s Layli and Majnun ‘the Romeo and Juliet of the East’. Though given to exaggeration, this was no exaggeration on Byron’s part [...]

Essay | Gentrifying New York by Leonard Quart

Leonard QuartGentrifying New York The New York one walks through these days is unrecognizable from the city that existed a decade ago. New developments are...

Essay | The Meaning of La Grande Jatte by Jeffrey Meyers

Georges Seurat (l859-91) was a mysterious and elusive personality. Reserved in character and manner, extremely reticent about his private affairs, he kept no diaries and his rare letters were factual and impersonal. Born in Paris, the son of a retired court bailiff, he learned what he called the routine and dead practices of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, did his military service in Brest, painted in Paris and, in summers, on the Normandy coast. Like Caravaggio, Watteau, Van Gogh, Lautrec and Modigliani, he died in his thirties [...]

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