‘The London Review of Books is something new,’ the LRB’s founding editor Karl Miller wrote in our first issue, published 40 years ago. ‘This, for the first time, is it.’
Now, for the first time in a decade, the same can be said of our website! As the final flourish of our 40th anniversary year, we have relaunched lrb.co.uk with something completely new. We very much hope you like it.
For a full calendar month, there won’t be a paywall of any kind anywhere on the site. This means that not only all 24 of this year’s issues, but also our entire archive, dating back to 25 October 1979 and containing almost 17,500 articles, will be free to read, for everyone, without limits, until midday on Wednesday 15 January. Merry Christmas!
Where to start? Why not on our new subject hub pages, where you’ll find selections of some of the best pieces we’ve published, as well as other curated collections of brilliant articles linked by particular themes.
You might read Bridget Riley on her lines or Isaac Bashevis Singer on his life and times; Norman Stone’s famous denunciation of E.H. Carr or Frank Kermode’s famous defence of Paul de Man; Derek Parfit on why the universe exists or Amia Srinivasan on what it’s like to be an octopus; Wynne Godley on the Maastricht Treaty or Edward Said on the Oslo Accords; Adam Phillips against self-criticism or Mary-Kay Wilmers against Freud.
You might read Christopher Hitchens on Isaiah Berlin, Terry Castle on Susan Sontag, Pankaj Mishra on Niall Ferguson or Terry Eagleton on Richard Dawkins; Oliver Sacks on the man who mistook his wife for a hat or Mary Beard on the public voice of women; William Empson on fairy flight in A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Barbara Everett on the fatness of Falstaff; Clive James on Judith Krantz or Michael Hofmann on Milan Kundera; Ian Hamilton on football or Colm Toíbín on his balls; Sally Rooney on an Irish problem, Raymond Williams on Cambridge English, Judith Butler on the right to criticise Israel, or Eliot Weinberger on what he heard about Iraq; Tariq Ali in North Korea or Perry Anderson on Brazil, China, India, Italy, Russia or Turkey.
You might read Patricia Lockwood on the communal mind of the internet or Richard Rorty on the contingency of language, selfhood or community; or pieces by Blair, Brown, Foot, Ed Miliband and Seumas Milne, or David Runciman on all of the above; or James Meek on housing or Marina Warner on higher education, Jeremy Harding on mercenaries or John Lanchester on the banks; or Eric Hobsbawm on war and peace or Anita Brookner on dressing and undressing; or Seymour Hersh on Osama bin Laden, Andrew O’Hagan on Julian Assange, Jacqueline Rose on Oscar Pistorius or Jonathan Coe on Boris Johnson.
You might read memoirs by Jenny Diski, Lorna Sage, David Sylvester or Allon White; or 35 instalments of Alan Bennett’s diary; or stories by Martin Amis, Angela Carter, Hilary Mantel or Salman Rushdie; or poems by Hughes and Heaney, Anne Carson and Jorie Graham.
All we ask for in return is that you tell us about your best discoveries, and maybe what you like and don’t like about the new site too, by using the hashtag #LRFREE or the feedback form in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.
Elsewhere on the site, you’ll find a much-improved selection of interesting things to watch and listen to, including ten seasons of LRB Winter Lectures; events at the London Review Bookshop featuring Paul Auster, Karl Ove Knausgård, Édouard Louis and Alice Oswald; films about the meaning of ‘God’ and the lost art of paste-up; the first series of Mark Ford and Seamus Perry on 20th-century poets; and some particularly excellent episodes of Talking Politics.
Wherever possible, we’ve pulled together information that was previously a bit all over the place, from events listings and online shopping links to contributor pages, which now feature everything written about a particular writer, as well as everything written by them – by popular demand.
And perhaps most important of all, everything, truly everything, has been comprehensively redesigned better to reflect the austere elegance of the paper – from masthead and multiple columns through to drop caps and fonts.
We hope you like what we’ve done with the place and look forward to reading your responses.