Helen Thaventhiran

Helen Thaventhiran is a fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge.

Things Ill-Done and Undone: T.S. Eliot’s Alibis

Helen Thaventhiran, 8 September 2022

Emily Hale​ was Eliot’s ‘Raspberrymouth’. That’s what he called her in the love letters they began exchanging in 1927, a correspondence that intensified in the early 1930s, and continued through the awkward years of their disentanglement after the death of his first wife, Vivien, in 1947. Eliot’s love for Emily, his ‘Tall Girl’, retained all the shy...

What’s the hook?

Helen Thaventhiran, 27 January 2022

‘In daily life,​ we regularly rely on hinges, clamps, buttons, zippers, Velcro, laces, knots, stitches, tape, stickers and glue,’ Rita Felski writes. ‘What are their aesthetic equivalents?’ In Hooked, she examines the way we connect to novels, films, paintings and music, and argues that our enthusiasms should be an integral part of conversations about art. Only this...

The Terrifying Vrooom: Empsonising

Colin Burrow, 15 July 2021

Reading an Empson essay is like being taken for a drive by an eccentric uncle in a terrifyingly powerful old banger. There are disturbing stains on the upholstery and an alarming whiff of whisky in the...

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