Diverted Traffic

Diverted Traffic has made it past 100, and survived the first wave – thanks for sticking with us! In August and beyond, we’ll continue to send our anti-news newsletter, but there will be some changes (let’s call it the new normal): the frequency will be reduced, to three times a week; references to plagues, pandemics and quarantine might be permitted, from time to time; and not every article will be brought in front of the paywall, though at least half of them still will be. Sign up here and please continue to send thoughts and suggestions for pieces you would like to see featured to: 

Diary: On the NHS

E.P. Thompson, 7 May 1987

Thales, according to gossipy Plato, was walking abstractedly, watching the stars, when he fell into a well. I did that a few weeks ago, being preoccupied with the most elevated thoughts when I...

Who Owns Kafka?

Judith Butler, 3 March 2011


An ongoing trial in Tel Aviv is set to determine who will have stewardship of several boxes of Kafka’s original writings, including primary drafts of his published works, currently...

Diary: Tamagotchi Love

Sherry Turkle, 20 April 2006

I take my 14-year-old daughter to the Darwin exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition documents Darwin’s life and thought, and somewhat defensively presents the...

If It Weren’t for Charlotte: The Brontës

Alice Spawls, 16 November 2017

I should make the first of what I hope need be only a few confessions. We are in the business of history, but also of opinion, of trying to read the characters of the dead. I am not a 19th-century scholar, a Brontë expert, a Brontë fan even.

Forms and Inspirations

Vikram Seth, 29 September 1988

The first writing I did – apart from school essays and articles for the school paper – was some poems I wrote when I was unhappily lovestruck at University. They were in very free...

In Hyperspace

Fredric Jameson, 10 September 2015

Science fiction is not the only mass-cultural genre (or subgenre) whose relationship to ‘high literature’ and to modernism in particular presents problems.

Bear, Bat, or Tiny King? The Rorschach Test

Deborah Friedell, 2 November 2017

The stories about the Rorschach getting it right are almost invariably about disturbed people caught out by the test, only extremely rarely about a healthy person being exonerated.

Sounding Auden

Seamus Heaney, 4 June 1987

I want to explore the relation between the kind of poetic authority which W.H. Auden sought and achieved and what might be described as his poetic music. By ‘poetic authority’ I mean...

The Divine Miss P.

Elaine Showalter, 11 February 1993

Who is hotter than Mary McCarthy? Smarter than Susan Sontag? Funnier than Harold Bloom? Well, if you take her word for it, it’s Camille Paglia, come to set the world straight on the burning...

The Strange Case of John Bampfylde

Roger Lonsdale, 3 March 1988

If John Bampfylde has any continuing public existence, it must be as the man on the right in this unusual double portrait by Joshua Reynolds. An interested enquirer might learn that Bampfylde was...

Diary: On Being Stalked

Helen DeWitt, 21 August 2014

Someone who indefatigably comes to your house when you have crawled away in exhaustion is a social monstrosity but also, quite possibly, simply caught in a wrinkle in time.

Tseeping: Alain de Botton goes on a trip

Christopher Tayler, 22 August 2002

In the fifth chapter of The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton goes on a trip to the Lake District. He takes his girlfriend, ‘M’, and a paperback copy of The Prelude. Applying his talent...

Bad Books

Susannah Clapp, 4 August 1988

On 3 October 1922 Percy Thompson, a shipping clerk and old member of the Stepney Elocution Class, was stabbed to death in the street near his home in Ilford. His wife, Edith, was with him; her...

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