Thomas Jones

Thomas Jones edits the LRB blog, and presents the LRB podcast, from Orvieto.

Asummerstorm in the Ligurian Sea can blow up out of nowhere. The Shelleys moved to the Bay of Lerici, halfway between Pisa and Genoa, at the end of April 1822. The place they rented, Casa Magni, was a former boathouse between the fishing village of Lerici and the even smaller hamlet of San Terenzo. ‘The sea came up to the door,’ Mary Shelley later wrote. ‘A steep hill...

From The Blog
2 June 2022

On 2 and 3 June 1946 a referendum was held in Italy with a simple choice on the ballot: ‘republic’ or ‘monarchy’. On a turnout of 89 per cent – with not quite universal suffrage; men over 21 and women over 25 – the republic won with 54.3 per cent of the vote. 

From The Blog
2 February 2022

In 1982, when James Joyce, had he lived, would have turned a hundred, William Empson wrote a piece for the London Review of Books on ’the ultimate novel‘, which begins with some backhanded praise for Hugh Kenner – ‘it is wonderful how Professor Kenner can keep on about Ulysses, always interesting and relevant and hardly repeating himself at all’ – and then almost immediately takes issue with a ‘new idea’ of Kenner’s that ‘urgently needs refuting’. According to Kenner, Stephen Dedalus ‘is practically blind all through the book’; Empson demonstrates not only how that can’t be true, but also how Kenner came to fall into error. ‘The explanation is simple,’ Empson writes. But ‘this is not quite the end of it …’

From The Blog
15 October 2021

The bespoke recording apparatus that Milman Parry took to Yugoslavia in the summer of 1935 – manufactured by Sound Specialties Inc of Waterbury, Connecticut, it had two turntables and a toggle for switching instantaneously between them – got me wondering about the history of such devices. Parry used his equipment for recording rather than playback, but it’s the same principle that later allowed generations of DJs to keep a dancefloor grooving indefinitely.

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