Milman Parry, Albert Lord and Nikola Vujnović toured the villages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, interviewing and recording the guslari they met there. Some sang tales from legend; others told of the assassination...

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Systemite Pop: The Children of God

Tabitha Lasley, 23 September 2021

The Children of God called themselves several different things: the Family of Love, the Family, the Family International. These name changes suggest something of a branding problem. Indeed, by the time...

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Diary: Wild Beasts

Fraser MacDonald, 23 September 2021

There’s a more general disquiet among the unlanded residents of the areas that are increasingly deemed ‘wild’. For them, beavers or wild cats aren’t the problem. They question why the laird gets...

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A Little Holiday: Ben Hecht’s Cause

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 23 September 2021

Although Hollywood had a Jewish drama of its own, Jewishness wasn’t openly expressed and Jewish themes were neither the subjects nor the subplots of films. Success couldn’t buy you access to country...

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How can a libertarian be comfortable cosying up to sovereign wealth funds, the military-industrial establishment and the security state? One possible answer is that Peter Thiel is not a libertarian at...

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A Few Heroic Men: Naoroji’s Tactics

Priya Satia, 9 September 2021

Imperialism was the foundation of Britain’s power and wealth, and so criticism of it was integral to campaigns for liberty. It was not only Indians and the Indian diaspora who looked to Dadabhai Naoroji...

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Diary: Watch the World Burn

Ben Jackson, 9 September 2021

Climate change doesn’t provide the same clarifying moments as a pandemic, and if we expect COP26 – or a summer of heatwaves – to be such a moment, we will be disappointed. The question is how to...

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I ain’t afeared: In Her Classroom

Marina Warner, 9 September 2021

According to Black Teacher, Beryl Gilroy created her own programmes of learning, devised idiosyncratic projects and sensed where her lessons could eventually lead her pupils – she wasn’t just wiping...

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Short Cuts: Charity Refused

Malcolm Gaskill, 9 September 2021

Nextdoor works like a neighbourhood watch scheme, but laced with all the toxic gossip once exchanged at the village pump, or by the fireside as women span and their menfolk brooded, puffing on clay pipes....

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As William Blake finds eternity in a grain of sand, so Walter Benjamin’s Surrealist gaze finds momentous meanings in the trifling and discarded. In the same way, he believes that every moment of time,...

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Kings and Kinglets: Cassiodorus

Michael Kulikowski, 12 August 2021

Ancient​ Latin literature has reached us along an improbably narrow path. Two millennia of rats, fire and floods were as nothing compared with three historical bottlenecks. Only one of these...

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Diary: A Free Speech Agenda

Sophie Smith, 12 August 2021

Those who portray themselves as beleaguered defenders of academic freedom also enjoy less tangible benefits: it’s possible for them to configure good faith criticism – the substance of academic life...

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One French City

Lydia Davis, 12 August 2021

The city is built on a gentle slope, an outcropping of limestone, with the amphitheatre close to the top. There are perspectives up, and down, and, from the top, out over the countryside. And even as you...

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Barbara Pym’s comedies are disenchanted romances. Her spinsters often marry but do so with their eyes open. Men, they realise, are best treated as children – helpless and often peevish. Eligible bachelors...

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Diary: Young Hong Kongers

Simon Cartledge, 29 July 2021

Looking back at the Hong Kong protests now – especially at the hundreds of hours of video footage on YouTube and elsewhere – I find it hard not to marvel at what happened. I’m also shocked by it....

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Swish! Swish! Swish! The Mani Olive Harvest

Patrick Leigh Fermor, 29 July 2021

Everything gathers here. Animals stamp and neigh and collide and rear, swift hands disentangle them; strong backs are bent double under the sacks. Greetings are shouted and gossip has to be exchanged in...

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Diary: Class 1H

Ian Jack, 15 July 2021

As names were called, children stood up from the benches and gathered at the front, until an entire class had been assembled. A, B, C, D, E and F were called, and I was still there, waiting with around...

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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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