Diary

Nicholas Spice

Karl Miller’s decision to resign from the London Review of Books is a sad moment for the magazine which, with Mary-Kay Wilmers and Susannah Clapp, he founded in 1979. In all important respects, the present character of the London Review was established then, in the closing months of 1979 and the first months of 1980, even though it appeared as an insert in the New York Review of Books. I can well remember the experience of reading those early issues, usually at dinner, solitary in some Northern European hotel, on trips as a sales rep trying to flog novels to the Norwegians or poetry to the Finns. The LRB was a wonderful companion, and the impact it made on me was of a new voice in serious journalism pitched subtly between the slightly stuffy intonations of the TLS and the too easy drawl of the New York Review with its tendency to long-windedness unleavened by wit. The voice of the LRB seemed sharper and more quirky, never coming quite from the expected direction.

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