From the next issue

At the Republican National Convention

Andrew O’Hagan

There was​ lightning in the sky over Chicago, and I was waiting at the airport. An announcement echoed across the departure gate: there was going to be a delay. I hadn’t looked at the book in front of me in more than thirty years – Norman Mailer’s Miami and the Siege of Chicago, his two convention pieces from 1968 – and just as my phone began to buzz my eye landed on...

 

Bad Times for Biden

Christian Lorentzen

The debate​ last month between Biden and Trump was painful to watch because it reminded us that someday we’ll all die. In retrospect Biden’s advanced age was a political asset in 2020. By contrast with the sneering and erratic Trump, given to mocking the disabled and insulting anyone unlucky enough to be in his vicinity, here was a kindly and familiar old man who had suffered...

From the blog

Facts Not in Dispute

Rebekah Diski

22 July 2024

Sitting in a road is annoying; being late to a job interview is inconvenient; missing a funeral is upsetting. But the mass displacement of people, the failure of crops, the loss of entire species: these are rationalised as ‘externalities’, or ignored, or imagined as a distant prospect that will somehow be averted with capitalist ingenuity. The imprisonment of those who are trying to shake us out of this denial is discombobulating.

 

Women in Afghanistan

Mélissa Cornet

The question​ of women’s status has been central to the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, with more than eighty edicts curtailing their rights since the movement returned to power almost three years ago. The Taliban prohibits women from going to secondary school or university, from working in the public sector or for NGOs, from leaving home uncovered and unaccompanied, from visiting...

 

Black Jewish Messiah?

Alexander Bevilacqua

David Reubeni​ posed a puzzle to contemporaries; he still poses one today. The Mediterranean world was turbulent in the early decades of the 16th century. The Ottoman Empire toppled the Mamluks in 1517, giving the sultan control over Egypt, Syria and much of the Arabian Peninsula; Western Christian rulers feared that they might be next. In the wake of Martin Luther’s censure of the...

Podcast

At the Republican National Convention: Day Four

Andrew O’Hagan and Deborah Friedell

It’s the final day of the Republican National Convention. Andrew O'Hagan and Deborah Friedell dissect Trump’s marathon acceptance speech and ask what a second term could look like.

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At the Movies

‘The Beast’

Michael Wood

The bad year​ in Bertrand Bonello’s dizzying film The Beast is 2025. That’s when everything went wrong. By 2044, the latest date in the movie, the world is steady again and much improved. The bots are in charge and humans have only humble clerical jobs where their mistakes will not matter much. The bots are human in their fashion, a long way from being mere machines. They have...

 

What’s a majority for?

James Butler

Keir Starmer​ is now the central fact of British politics. He has achieved an extraordinary majority. His preferences and commitments will shape the country. He has ridden a wave of revulsion at Conservatism into Number Ten. Desire for change wore social democratic dress, but disgust is also anti-systemic: the depressed turnout and the success of pro-Gaza independents, Greens and Reform...

 

Indigenous Political Strategies

Thomas Meaney

The conquest​ of most of the North American continent by Anglophone settlers took roughly three hundred years, from the first stake at Jamestown to the last bullet at Wounded Knee. The Spanish had subdued a much vaster population of Indigenous peoples in Mexico and Peru in just under half a century and expected to repeat the formula, mobilising the Indigenous tributaries against the...

At the William Morris Gallery

On Mingei

Rosemary Hill

Artistic influence​ may benefit from a degree of misunderstanding: it keeps it from lapsing into imitation. By the time William Morris launched the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1860s, it took a certain wilful ignorance to believe, as he and Ruskin did, that the builders of the Gothic cathedrals were anonymous artisans, working humbly for the glory of God. Three generations of antiquarian...

 

Blame it on the Olympics

David Goldblatt

Olympism,​ the strange syncretic invention of Pierre de Coubertin, drew on the baron’s misreading of the ancient games and a wilfully romantic appropriation of the English public school cult of the amateur athlete. Coubertin first called for a revival of the Olympics at a symposium at the Sorbonne in 1892, and in 1894 established the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which chose...

 

Lives of Maecenas

Nora Goldschmidt

If you look up​ ‘patron of the arts’ in most European languages, you will find a variation on the name of Gaius Maecenas: mécène in French, mecenate in Italian, mecenas in Spanish, Mäzen in German, mecenas in Polish, mecenáš in Czech, mécenás in Hungarian, меценат in Ukrainian, Russian and Bulgarian. The term has been in use...

 

Creating the Beckhams

Andrew O’Hagan

People​ who write unauthorised biographies often get authorised rebuttals. In 2004, when Kitty Kelley published The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, the disaster-prone House majority leader Tom DeLay wrote to her publisher, Doubleday, that she was in an ‘advanced stage of her pathological career’. He also claimed that Doubleday was in a state of ‘moral...

 

Mandeville's Useful Vices

Colin Kidd

The​ Presbyterian ministers of my Ayrshire childhood never harangued their congregations, and were almost to a man – they were all men – mellow and avuncular. Authority figures policed behaviour – all the way down to disciplining boys who walked around with hands in pockets or shirt-tails hanging out – but nobody propounded moral values; ethics tended to be intuited...

Diary

Election Night in Glasgow

Dani Garavelli

‘What is the point of voting?’ a man in beige salwar kameez yelled. ‘Whoever wins, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.’ He was halfway up the street when he turned to add: ‘And murderers keep on murdering.’ It was 2.45 p.m. on Friday, 7 June. Dozens of Jumu’ah worshippers – some in prayer hats and sandals, some in sweatshirts and jeans...

Close Readings 2024

In our pioneering podcast subscription, contributors explore different areas of literature through a selection of key works. This year it’s revolutionary thought of the 20th century, truth and lies in the ancient world, and satire.

Read more about Close Readings 2024

Partner Events, Summer 2024

Check back for seasonal announcements, including centenary events for Kafka and James Baldwin, screenings at the Garden Cinema and more. 

Read more about Partner Events, Summer 2024
Events

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