Lisa Robertson Drifts

Andrea Brady

One morning​, Hazel Brown wakes up in a hotel room in Vancouver to discover that she is the author of Baudelaire’s complete works. This is the beginning of Lisa Robertson’s The Baudelaire Fractal, which is billed as a novel, but reads more like a combined Bildungsroman, ars poetica and series of essays on clothing, painting, gender and reading. By appropriating...

 

Documenta Fifteen

Eyal Weizman

Documenta,​ held every five years in Kassel, is the world’s most influential show of contemporary art. On 19 June, a day after the opening, an eight-metre-high banner titled People’s Justice, painted by the Indonesian art collective Taring Padi, was hung from a scaffold in Friedrichsplatz, Kassel’s central square. It was a massive piece of agitprop, a cartoon-like version...

From the next issue

Stay alive! Stay alive!

Kathleen Jamie

Iclimbed​ a low cliff and stationed myself on a bench that overlooked the Firth of Forth. From Kinghorn, the Fife coast and the coast of East Lothian appear to peel away from each other; on the horizon lies the North Sea. There are several islands out in the firth and, as usual, a number of ships were riding at anchor. The ships were connected to the oil industry: the Grangemouth refinery is...

 

Genre Trouble

Fredric Jameson

Our interest in historical works always seems dependent on something extra-aesthetic: on the questions posed by the history books, for example (what were Hitler or Stalin really like?); on this or that current fad (Nazi materials, of course, exert a seemingly perennial fascination); on our historicity in general as it has developed since the French Revolution, and been sated by offerings from Walter Scott to Ken Burns, Tolstoy to Margaret Mitchell, Hilary Mantel to Ben Pastor. Pastor seems to have invented a new way of combining the whole and the part in what TV producers might call the limited series. Yet it might chasten us to remember that as a result of our increased historicity today all novels are historical (when not, indeed, science-fictional): all carry with them the fatal chronological questions ‘Before what?’ and ‘After what?’ Perhaps, then, it might be preferable to shift from the horizontal to the vertical: to see what it is that Bora’s ‘history’ is made of, what it offers us. For novels are put together out of all kinds of raw material; they don’t really have the purity of the older genres.

 

I was Poil de carotte

Richard Taws

Appearances​ mattered to Jules Renard: both his own and those of his fellow creatures. Photographs show him beady-eyed and whiskered, gussied up for the city or else slightly overdressed for Chitry-les-Mines, the village in the Nièvre in northern Burgundy where he spent his childhood, and to which he often returned. But though he moved in artistic metropolitan circles, mixing with...

Fresh Thinking

Fresh Thinking

Read the world’s best writing – from some of the world’s best writers. Subscribe to the LRB today.

At the Courtauld

Edvard Munch

Celia Paul

Edvard Munch​’s paintings have been described as ‘confessional’. The term implies narcissism, but Munch’s talent is empathetic. As a brother to three sisters, his insight into female experience was personal. He understood women and girls. He watched them closely.

Munch’s mother died of TB when he was five. His older sister Sophie died, also of TB, when he was...

At Modern Art Oxford

Ruth Asawa

Eleanor Nairne

Writing of​ Ruth Asawa’s first solo exhibition in New York in 1954, the critic Parker Tyler described her sculptures as inviting the viewer ‘to be as still as they are or to tremble when they tremble’. He was responding to what had become her signature works: biomorphic forms woven from industrial wire, hung from the ceiling like lanterns. The first of these on display at...

 

Inhabiting the Oil World

Laleh Khalili

The​ #IdleNoMore movement against Keystone XL – a long-planned pipeline that would have carried petroleum from the oil sands of Alberta and the shale fields of the Dakotas to refineries in Illinois and Texas – began in December 2012. Three years later there were more protests, this time against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which crosses the Standing Rock Sioux...

Book lights

Back by popular demand, these stylish lamps from the LRB Store fold open like a notebook. One for bedtime readers.

Read More

LRB x World Weather Network

For the next year, the LRB is collaborating with the World Weather Network, a constellation of weather stations set up by 28 arts organisations in oceans, deserts, mountains, farmland, rainforests, lighthouses and cities around the world, through which artists and writers will share observations, stories, reflections and images responding to their local weather and the effects of the climate emergency.

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences