Diary: The only girl in the moshpit

Joanna Biggs, 5 November 2020

I am the feminist killjoy of Caitlin Moran’s nightmares, scratching my biroed objections all over the book, making a reading list for her in my head. She wrote her first book to eliminate people...

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Short Cuts: Black Forest Thinking

Andrew O’Hagan, 22 October 2020

Stosslüften requires that a window be opened wide at least once a day to give a room a thorough blast; querlüften needs crosscurrents of air, which means windows open at opposite...

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The life of Eliot’s letters to Emily Hale is played out against office gossip, the views from windows, ‘the noise of type-writers’, the business of the day. If, as Eliot told her, a letter...

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China after Covid

Wang Xiuying, 22 October 2020

Since China tamed the virus and normal life resumed, the CCP has bestowed its highest honours on key scientists and doctors. Political commentators, like middle-class consumers, are in high spirits. The...

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Each of us is a snowball: Squares are best

Susannah Clapp, 22 October 2020

Ideal for snoopers, snip­ers, novelists, cartoonists and daydreamers, squares offer the chance of peering out in several directions without someone across from you peering back. They mix urbanity and...

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Goldfish are my homies

John Lahr, 22 October 2020

Fish sleep with their eyes open: not our kind of sleep, more like our kind of daydream. Awake but not awake, just like me; living to eat and conserve energy, just like me; devoid of answers, just like...

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Thom Gunn in New York

Michael Nott, 22 October 2020

Of all the ‘different varieties of New Jerusalem ... I’d only return to one,’ Gunn wrote, ‘For the sexual New Jerusalem was by far the greatest fun.’ ‘He was very interested...

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Diary: At the Mexican Border

Carlos Dada, 8 October 2020

I had just arrived in the town of Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas, not far from the Guatemalan border, when I heard that a boat had capsized. On the morning of 11 October, a fisherman had spotted...

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Diary: On Quitting Academia

Malcolm Gaskill, 24 September 2020

I still can’t decide whether I’ve retired or just resigned, or am in fact redundant and unemployed. I’m undeniably jobless at 53, able-bodied (I hesitate to say ‘fit’), with...

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Jansson had many euphemisms for lesbianism: ‘rive gauche’, as if all Parisian women were at it; ‘borderliner’; a ‘new line’, ‘tendency’, ‘attitude’....

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Diary: My Summer with Boris’s Mother

Wynford Hicks, 10 September 2020

It’s not often I hear news of her, though I know she’s a painter. I did read an interview she gave to Tatler five years ago. ‘I was engaged to somebody called Wynford Hicks,’ she...

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The Suitcase: Part Three

Frances Stonor Saunders, 10 September 2020

‘Where’s Daddy?’ I asked. ‘He’s gone away for the summer.’ There was a van outside our house and men were lifting furniture into it and other things wrapped in blankets....

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‘The new art is really a business,’ Warhol said in 1969. ‘We want to sell shares of our company on the Wall Street stock market.’ This didn’t endear him to some. ‘You’re...

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The realm of writing, for Nathalie Sarraute, remained the neutral, the anonym­ous, the impersonal, expressed as the pre­-conscious and pre-­personal undercurrents of the mind, which she named...

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Whatever Made Him: The Bauman Dichotomy

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 10 September 2020

Do we need biographies of public intellectuals? Is knowledge about a scholar’s life relevant to an understanding of their work? The Polish-Jewish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman thought not, and sedulously...

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Early Kermode

Stefan Collini, 13 August 2020

So when had all that started to happen, when did the smart London weeklies and monthlies begin to commission reviews from the little-known young lecturer who, recruited by D.J. Gordon, had moved to the...

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Art Lessons

Peter Campbell, 13 August 2020

If a botanist or architect had taken the pictures she might have been noticing kinds of plant and kinds of building. I was more interested in the way the world offers itself up as a series of ready-made...

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He​ had two days to prepare. We’d been thinking about it for a year. Four thousand infantry had to be organised. Eight hundred cavalry. Mules, carts, munitions, medical services. A cannon....

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