TLM Issue

Essays

Van Gogh: Art and Suicide

The peripatetic life of Vincent van Gogh (1853-90), the son of a Dutch Protestant minister, was an endless series of catastrophes. He longed for a wife and child but was rejected by the two women he loved. He pursued a disastrous vocation as minister and missionary among the coal miners of Belgium, was dismissed as an art dealer in Paris, failed as a teacher in London and lived with an alcoholic…

By The London Magazine

Becoming Who We Are: Concluding Thoughts

There are great advantages in for once removing ourselves distinctly from our time and letting ourselves be driven far from its shore, back into the ocean of former world views. Looking at the coast from that perspective, we survey for the first time its entire shape, and when we near it again we have the advantage of understanding it better on the whole than those do who never left it. Nietz…

By The London Magazine

My London

Henry Eliot is a writer. Since 2011 he has run the map-magazine Curiocity with Matt Lloyd-Rose, available in bookshops across London and online at www.curiocity.org.uk, and they are currently creating a book of unusual city maps to be published by Penguin in 2016. www.henryeliot.co.uk. This is the 13th article in our regular series “My London”. London is a city of many metaphors, not all of …

By The London Magazine

China’s Swinburne: the Enigma of Shao Xunmei’s Life and Art

In both China and the West, very little has been written on Shao Xunmei. Googling his name leads to a few articles chronicling his affair with the American writer Emily Hahn, while a search on Amazon results in several studies with chapters about him, plus half a dozen other volumes that give him passing references. The first Chinese source we read on him, an entry in a reference book in the mid…

By The London Magazine

Jane Austen, Illustrated

Picturing Jane Austen (1775–1817) has never been easier. With her image set to grace the ten-pound note in 2017, millions will daily confront the face that launched a thousand sequels. The portrait chosen is largely a fantasy, but it doesn’t seem to matter. It is the face we recognize. Cheerfully redrawn long after her death, this is a more regular, youthful, and pensive version than the tiny pe…

By The London Magazine

The Children of a Demon-Queen

Amidst all the ethnic strife of Sri Lanka, it’s easy to forget that, hidden away in the interior, there remains the country’s aboriginal race. Impoverished, persecuted, and endangered, the Veddahs have often been overlooked. In this extract from his new book, Elephant Complex, author John Gimlette sets out to meet them: What lay ahead was not worrying but it did feel unknown. Of all the islan…

By The London Magazine

Let the Mountain Sing its Own Song

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer Robert Burns, ‘Farewell to the Highlands’ ‘Gone for a song’ aptly summarizes my recent Scottish adventure. I spent the first week in July walking the West Highland Way, Scotland’s first long-distance footpath that runs ninety-six miles from Millgavie, north of Glasgow (or from the city centre if …

By The London Magazine

Growing Up a Flaneur

As a boy I wandered through the streets, stores and parks of my East Bronx neighbourhood avidly noticing everything that I encountered. I took mental notes, but I was too young then to be able to articulate or write about what I experienced. Sometimes I would sit on the hard concrete stands of our local park’s sandlot ball field watching the Puerto Rican league baseball teams play, while listeni…

By The London Magazine

Edmund Spenser’s Pictures

In forrein costes, men sayd, was plenty: And so there is, but all of miserye. I dempt there much to have eeked my store, But such eeking hath made my hart sore. (Diggon Davie, The Shepheardes Calender, Edmund Spenser)   Edmund Spenser’s shepherd told the sixteenth-century Englishman what he already knew. More often than not this ‘knowledge’ was intuitivism, bolstered by so…

By The London Magazine

Featured Writing

Difficult Cup

  after Wu Hao’s Duke Cups The china cup is frilled at the rim like tired lace and all over it ceramic tentacles extend to whisper if you drink me that way I’ll poke your eye out, you can’t quite press your fingers here your lips – like walking a mountain ridge at night with some romantic ideal ahead, you are not not figuring each step among the rocks –
there’s want and caut…

By The London Magazine

My London

Henry Eliot is a writer. Since 2011 he has run the map-magazine Curiocity with Matt Lloyd-Rose, available in bookshops across London and online at www.curiocity.org.uk, and they are currently creating a book of unusual city maps to be published by Penguin in 2016. www.henryeliot.co.uk. This is the 13th article in our regular series “My London”. London is a city of many metaphors, not all of …

By The London Magazine

The Invisibility of Beauty

The 56th Biennale di Venezia (various artists and venues until 22 November 2015) Ruskin’s Venice: The Stones Revisited (New Edition), Sarah Quill, Ashgate, 2015, 256pp. £30 (hardback) Death in Venice, Benjamin Britten, Garsington Opera at Wormsley, 23 June 2015 Venice is a city of ceilings and the Scuola Grande dei Carmini in Dorsodoro, deliciously decorated by Giambattista Tiepolo in t…

By The London Magazine

Fiction

The Canal

We used to live near the canal; not on it, I wouldn’t have cared for that, the water looked so sinister and I have such a horror of the damp.  I knew those houses that backed right on to the water – you could see them from the bridge on Gloucester Avenue – their gardens looking dank, too deeply green. There must have been rats. Not that our house was free of damp – in the basement kitchen there…

By The London Magazine

Poetry

An excerpt from Beyond Elsewhere

  From Beyond Elsewhere by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, forthcoming from White…

By The London Magazine

Twofold Bay

1930 Then the curved tooth snaps with the tug of rope in Old Tom’s jaw as …

By The London Magazine

Difficult Cup

  after Wu Hao’s Duke Cups The china cup is frilled at the rim like …

By The London Magazine

Fading Ad

I hadn’t understood how grief could be desperate praise when the new growth …

By The London Magazine

Creachann/Scallop

  Creachann Na samhraidhean ud, choisicheadh Dad sinn sios dhan ei…

By The London Magazine

Girl in the Blue Pool

  I am years back and full of echoes. Chlorine, urine, raucous cuff of…

By The London Magazine

Gobha nan Glasan/The Locksmith

  Gobha nan Glasan Tha eòlas ann am buth gobha nan glasan air Brea…

By The London Magazine

Reviews

Installing Time

One More Time, Cornelia Parker at St Pancras International (until November 2015 ) Train travellers at St Pancras station in London this summer may have noticed that there are now two large clocks hung close to each other at the southern end of the station. One, right at the end, is the beautiful permanent clock, which has a white face, gold hands, and a gold rim all round it. The other, whic…

By The London Magazine

The Quest for Meaning

Shadows Waltz Haltingly, Alan Morrison, Lapwing Press, 2015, 84pp, £10 (paperback) The Beautiful Librarians, Sean O’Brien, Picador, 2015, 64pp, £9.99 (paperback) The Observances, Kate Miller, Carcanet, 2015, 88pp, £9.95 (paperback) What is poetry but language searching for language, a circular motion that moves with a momentum of its own? A successful poem is a re-invention of the wheel…

By The London Magazine

The Kid from Kogarah Grows Up 

Latest Readings, Clive James, Yale University Press, 2015, 192pp, £12.99 (hardcover) When Australian polymath Clive James was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia in 2010, he could have been forgiven for bringing down the curtain on a long and glittering literary career. Instead, his unwanted contract with the Grim Reaper sparked a highly prolific second creative life. New volumes of verse, lite…

By The London Magazine

No Longer Impregnable

When the Facts Change, Essays 1995-2010, Tony Judt, edited and introduced by Jennifer Homans, William Heinemann, 2015, £25 (hardcover) Ours is an age of bullish anti-intellectualism, communal apathy and hostility towards any form of behaviour reversal, or ‘new way’. In this situation, Tony Judt’s voice resounds with eloquence, truthfulness and sanity. Judt was a great writer gifted with foresig…

By The London Magazine

Metaphors of a Troubled Mind

Lucky to be an Artist, Unity Spencer, Unicorn Press, 2015, 256 pp. £24 (hardcover) The title Unity Spencer has chosen for her autobiography is ironic, although not intentionally. She may have been lucky to be an artist, but she had the supreme misfortune to be the daughter of a great one. The children of great artists are on a hiding to nothing. They have the creative genes, often, and may be t…

By The London Magazine

The Invisibility of Beauty

The 56th Biennale di Venezia (various artists and venues until 22 November 2015) Ruskin’s Venice: The Stones Revisited (New Edition), Sarah Quill, Ashgate, 2015, 256pp. £30 (hardback) Death in Venice, Benjamin Britten, Garsington Opera at Wormsley, 23 June 2015 Venice is a city of ceilings and the Scuola Grande dei Carmini in Dorsodoro, deliciously decorated by Giambattista Tiepolo in t…

By The London Magazine

Love and Judgement

L’Amore dei Tre Re, Italo Montemezzi, Opera Holland Park, July 22nd – August 1st. In early 1939, with the threat of war intensifying, the Italian composer Italo Montemezzi (1875-1952) decided to move his family to America, eventually settling in Beverly Hills. He left behind two houses, one in Milan, the other in Vigasio, near Verona. During the war, both were occupied by German soldiers, plu…

By The London Magazine