TLM Issue

Poetry by Timothy Adès, Moniza Alvi, John Greening, Alan Morrison, Ciaran O’Rourke, Sheenagh Pugh, George Tardios, Fiona Sampson, Kieron Winn and Ralf Webb. Short Fiction by Alison McLeod and Colin Fleming Featuring: Tristram Fane Saunders on My London; Jennifer Johnson on Richard Arnell; Helen Carr on The Rise of Chivalry ; Leonard Quart on Greenwich Village; Frank Armstrong on Kathleen Raine; Frank Shovlin on John McGahern Reviews by Frank Armstrong, Houman Barekat, Hélène Cardona, Peter Davies, Suzi Feay, Grey Gowrie, Thea Hawlin, Terry Kelly, Jeffrey Meyers and Simon Tait.

Essays

Redefining Chivalry

  Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross. I will not say it shall be so, but rather I will say: here in this world he changed his life. Le Morte d’Arthur Narrator, 926 Chivalry has become a term associated with a noble code of con…

By The London Magazine

Informing Beauty: Kathleen Raine

  Once in a while you read a book that sets off an electric charge inside you. Usually it coheres with your unconscious ideas and is quite distinct from the feeling of reading a thriller whose pages you devour with unfocused gusto. This you ingest in measured spoonfuls, allowing its content to echo in your palate. Fittingly perhaps, I spent much of that first encounter with Kathleen Rain…

By The London Magazine

In Search of a Literary Life

  Every year, with the anti-climatic regularity of the cuckoo clock’s chirp, another gaggle of English graduates is turned loose upon the world to seek out the employment for which that area of study has, theoretically, pre­pared them. With eyes wide as soup bowls, and heads churning with a sinister salad of romantic poetry, rudimentary literary theory and a garnish of Shakespeare plays,…

By The London Magazine

Remembering John McGahern

  March 2016 sees the tenth anniversary of John McGahern's death. Author of six novels, three stand-alone collections of short stories, one play, a memoir and numerous essays and reviews, McGahern was Ireland's most accomplished writer of prose fiction since Joyce and Beckett, and I have been an ardent admirer of his work since my first encounter with it in his fifth novel, Amongst Women…

By The London Magazine

The Village: Past & Present

  In the years before WW1, Greenwich Village developed a reputation as a bohemian neighborhood with low rents, picturesque, meandering side streets and tiny alleys, and a tolerance for political radicalism and eccentric and nonconformist behavior. Most residents may have been working class or remnants of the upper class that populated Henry James or Edith Wharton novels, but th…

By The London Magazine

My London

  Tristram Fane Saunders is a poet, journalist and director. His most recent chapbook, Postcards from Sulpicia (Tapsalteerie, 2015), is an illustrated translation of the complete surviving works of Ancient Rome’s only extant female poet. He works on the culture desk of The Telegraph. This is the 16th article in our regular series “My London”. Home is a box on Copperm…

By The London Magazine

About my Father

  I drove down to Chislehurst to clear his room, after he died. He’d not been there long, in that place, a month or two. It was a cold room, north facing and dark, on the ground floor. I had tried to get them to move him, but he was almost blind and they wouldn’t risk him in a room upstairs. I suppose nobody cared that much, not even me, for we had had a difficult time of it. …

By The London Magazine

Fiction

They Who Surround

  The story my grandfather told of how he and my grandmother would walk further and further into the woods, until she asked to be left there, was really one about crows, he’d say, and I would not understand. I was young, then, but I wasn't sure I would have understood anyway. My father told me that the older generation of Poles put much stock in tales like these, and I should listen p…

By The London Magazine

There are Precious Things

In carriage three of the 4.38 out of Mile End, there are precious things. Tanisha drops breathlessly into a seat. Today, her mother arrived late to look after Obi, and now she is worried she will be late for her shift for the third time this month. Each afternoon, when Obi comes home from school, she spends as long as she dares, looking at his new drawings or marvelling over the words in Engl…

By The London Magazine

Poetry

A Roman Tombstone at Annaba

My name was - What does it matter? – Paulus Silentiarius It would happen so …

By The London Magazine

Watching RAF Bombers

By Grasmere mountains, patched like camouflage, Tornados fly in glamorous great…

By The London Magazine

To Wine by Jorge Luis Borges

In Homer’s bronze resplendence, your name was seen to shine, you who make glad …

By The London Magazine

Elegy

(Catullus 101) To fling your death on the hundred winds, to recite your d…

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Your Father in Slad Valley

Slad has beguiled generations of men and women to fall on muddy knees and play…

By The London Magazine

Pavan

They will be real clouds Danny Boyle A heathen ground elaborated by time’s …

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Twilight

By early winter Our world begins to shift. Approaching dusk We stroll miles…

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Footprints in the Snow

My mother used to say when a Robin hops into your house It does so as an omen f…

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Caries

Little hole little well of dark staining the lacquer of my tooth little confes…

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The Coldest Winter

Fatherbird perched on the country’s frozen edge. England! Bridlington Bay – He…

By The London Magazine

Reviews

Scarifying Confrontation: Pericles at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

  Pericles isn’t the easiest of Shakespeare’s plays either to like as literature or to enjoy on stage. There are several very good reasons for this. Firstly, it is a collaborative effort by Shakespeare and the third-rate dramatist, pamphleteer and one-time petty thief and pimp George Wilkins – or is generally accepted as such. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse production, directed by…

By The London Magazine

Auerbach’s Intimitable Magic

  When Frank Auerbach first came to public notice – emerged rather than burst – in the 1950s he was noted as a “British Expressionist” in the white hot enthusiasm for the American abstract colourists Clement Greenberg (not to mention the American government) was punting around the world with spectacular success. It was a gross misreading of his work. Auerbach was not concern…

By The London Magazine

The Noise of Time

  In keeping with the current vogue for entwining fact and fiction, Julian Barnes’s latest novel is a fictionalised account of Dmitri Shostakovich’s un-easy relations with the Russian state in the days of the USSR. The tentacles of Soviet tyranny would come for the composer at twelve-year intervals: in 1936, in 1948 and 1960; The Noise of Time is split into three sections corre…

By The London Magazine

Icons of Desire

  Maria Loh ‘examines the subgenre of artist portraiture’ in the 16th and 17th centuries, and defines portraits as ‘the arena in which flesh and fantasy, memory and history, death and desire, battle one another for control’. Though portraits can clearly survive while their subjects are still alive, she maintains that the ‘mortal body must let go so that its image can survive’. …

By The London Magazine

Women at War

  In April last year a woman holding a camera was shot dead at a check- point in Afghanistan; the death of the woman, German photographer Anja Niedringhaus, was followed four weeks later by that of a young French photojournalist, Camille Lepage, who died of gunshot wounds in the Central African Republic. The abrupt deaths of two intrepid war corre- spondents in rapid su…

By The London Magazine

Modern Tinkering

Every age has a need to retell old stories and legends, to re-clothe the bones with new flesh; which makes each subsequent storyteller something of a necromancer, conjuring those relics into a fresh semblance of life. Recent research suggests that many traditional tales are much older than had previously been suspected. Officially dated back to the first appearance in print, but the re…

By The London Magazine

Risk and Repetition

  Should you come upon this book in a shop, or see its title headlined in a review, it would be reasonable for you to consider whether or not to order it according to the degree of your interest in Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry. Should this be marginal, or even non-existent, you might decide to skim through the book on account only of your enthusiasm for the fiction of Colm Tóibín.…

By The London Magazine

Old Possum’s Black Pages

  The astonishing two-volume The Poems of T.S. Eliot is a vast cathedral of dazzling scholarly annotation. Years in the making, and running to almost 2,000pp, it is set to become the definitive Eliot edition for every scholar and English Literature student for years to come. In fact, it’s difficult to see how this landmark edition will be superseded. While we live in an era of …

By The London Magazine

The Imaginative Mind: Enchantment and Transcendence in John Ashbery’s Collected French Translations

  ‘Only connect . . .’ wrote E.M. Forster in Howards End. John Ashbery responds to this invitation with his incandescent two-volume Collected French Translations: Poetry and Prose, leaving us astonished. The bilingual Poetry volume, with the French originals printed en face, contains translations from twenty-four poets. It begins with the baroque poet Jean-Baptiste Chassignet, …

By The London Magazine