LRB Cover
Volume 38 Number 23
1 December 2016

LRB blog 2 December 2016

Oscar Webb
The Gambians in Palermo

1 December 2016

Gwen Burnyeat
Peace in Colombia?

1 December 2016

Emma Baines
Derailing the NHS


15 December 2016

Jonathan Lethem
Theatre of Injury

26 September 1991

John Bayley
What will you do to keep the ship from foundering?

8 September 2016

Thomas Nagel
Does Terrorism Work?

In the next issue, which will be dated 15 December, Mark Bradley on the history of Vietnam.

follow the London Review of Books on Twitter
Follow us on Twitter


Jonathan Lethem

Theatre of Injury

I write out of disarray, from a field of compatriots in disarray. We’re drifting like astronauts, distantly tethered by emails like the one I just got from a friend: ‘i feel like he is making everyone sick, and bipolar./i feel like I am so incredibly ill-equipped to deal with any of this./i’m taking blind advice from all comers without feeling like anything is remotely adequate./ i feel nostalgic for all of life before Nov 8, 2016.’ More


David Runciman

A Failed State?

People voted for him because they didn’t believe him. They wanted change but they also had confidence in the basic durability and decency of America’s political institutions to protect them from the worst effects of that change. They wanted Trump to shake up a system that they also expected to shield them from the recklessness of a man like Trump. More

Jan-Werner Müller

The Populist Moment

Not everyone who criticises elites is a populist. Those who draw a lazy equivalence between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump fail to recognise that populists don’t stop at protesting against Wall Street or ‘globalism’. Rather, populists claim that they and they alone speak in the name of what they tend to call the ‘real people’ or the ‘silent majority’. This claim to a moral monopoly of representation has two consequences that are immediately deleterious for democracy. More

Frederick Wilmot-Smith

Brexit in Court

What is the proper distribution of power between Parliament and the executive? It’s a question raised by the recent High Court decision in Miller v. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, a member state must ‘notify the European Council of its intention’ to leave, commencing a two-year period of negotiations on the terms of its withdrawal. But who has the power to speak for the state? More

Joanna Biggs

Zadie Smith

No other British writer of Smith’s generation (or since) has had her early, extreme fame. This has meant both that she has had to serve her novelistic apprenticeship in public, trying out ideas and seeing them fail or succeed in front of everyone, and that she has been protected from the hard knocks of a writing life, and so allowed to retain a certain childlike freshness in her relationship to the world. More

Charles Nicholl

Dylan’s Decade

This process of invention on the hoof is palpable in the sessions, and required a lot from the musicians who played with Dylan. He comes in with a buzz of ideas, half-formed songs and sound qualities, and everyone on both sides of the glass has to play catch-up as best they can. ‘His intent was very strong,’ one of the musicians on the session, the guitarist Bruce Langhorne, said. More

Short Cuts
Christian Lorentzen

At Tate Modern
Hal Foster


VIDEO Keeping On Keeping On

Alan Bennett reads from his latest collection of diaries. Watch »

More video »

VIDEO The Horrors of Heathrow

In 1998, Ian Gilmour reflected on the history of the airport. Watch »

More video »