This Guilty Land: Every Possible Lincoln

Eric Foner, 17 December 2020

Today, Abraham Lincoln is widely revered, while many Americans, including some historians, consider John Brown mad. Yet it was Brown’s strategy that brought slavery to an end. In a note written shortly...

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Diary: America is a baby

Patricia Lockwood, 3 December 2020

‘You’re not the only one,’ a friend assured me, and sent me screenshots of other people who couldn’t change their dresses or remove their ties until the official call came. At best,...

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What did Kissinger do in power that has given him such an extraordinary afterlife? He was a consummate showman, a master of the on-the-record and the off-the-record briefing, a darling of the paparazzi,...

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A Regular Grey

Jonathan Parry, 3 December 2020

To​ have one brother killed by an African animal would be a misfortune. To lose two, at different times, is surely remarkable. Such was the distinction of Sir Edward Grey, who served as foreign secretary...

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The Importance of Being Ernie

Ferdinand Mount, 5 November 2020

Ernest Bevin’s vigorous scepticism and his quick understanding of what other people were actually like – a rare quality in politicians, that race of incurable solipsists – went with an...

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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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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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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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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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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: 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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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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