Memory Safari: Perpetual Reclamation

Daniel Trilling, 8 September 2022

Poring over family stories to give meaning to our lives is something most of us do. For the descendants of people who have survived traumatic historical events, it takes on an added intensity – and,...

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Think outside the bun: Quote Me!

Colin Burrow, 8 September 2022

The most bizarre aspect of the ‘quotation’ as we now understand it is that words uttered by King Lear when he’s mad are ascribed to Shakespeare, and that words attributed with some irony to a character...

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Yoga, whose New Agey message wouldn’t have been out of place in the 1970s, is about the struggle to accept the fact that you can’t mute your ego, either in the interest of peace and love, or in the...

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Diary: Hoardiculture

Jon Day, 8 September 2022

Hoarding is a modern malady. The excessive accumulation of objects was once considered a moral failure or a species of sin, but it was still thought to be fundamentally rational: in a world without much...

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Jules Renard was a brilliant noticer of things. Distinguishing quirks and concrete observations usually take precedence over broader typologies. ‘The man of science generalises,’ he wrote, ‘the artist...

Read more about What! Not you too? I was Poil de carotte

Finished Off by Chagrin: Monarchs and Emperors

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 21 July 2022

For minor kings and junior dynasts, the extra-European world was a place to amass wealth or responsibilities denied them at home. But they didn’t get to perform these fantasies of empire under conditions...

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E Bada! What Isou Did to Language

Rye Dag Holmboe, 21 July 2022

Words, Isidore Isou thought, had done great damage throughout history. By breaking them down and exposing them as a collection of arbitrary symbols, he hoped to make space for a new language to emerge....

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Goofing Off: Hrabal’s Categories

Michael Hofmann, 21 July 2022

Bohumil Hrabal’s books are cycles, rips, rondos, fugues. They are like bandages, swatches, masking tape; improvised in layers, courting repetition, bluff, deferring, concealing, insatiable and endless....

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That Ol’ Thumb: Hitchhiking

Mike Jay, 23 June 2022

‘Isn’t it dangerous?’ was always the first question you were asked by those who had never done it, but I don’t recall the issue ever coming up with fellow travellers. It was in everybody’s interest...

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Sylvia Townsend Warner’s diaries and letters demonstrate over and over again how important it was to her that she immerse herself in a milieu or environment. She felt identity above all as a relation....

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Lea Ypi recovers the sensory world of communist Albania: its privations, its ecstasies, but also its banalities. Young people in Albania fretted over what to wear to school just like children elsewhere....

Read more about For the Love of Uncle Enver: Albania after Hoxha

Dining Room Radicals

Rosemary Hill, 7 April 2022

For Joseph Johnson, who was often described as being quiet at his own table, Henry Fuseli perhaps fulfilled that social role best described as ‘the unacceptable friend’, saying what Johnson could or...

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Unnerved by death threats and assassination plots, Robespierre acquired a trio of bodyguards armed with clubs. In the end, however, his undoing was not the work of a murderous stranger but of his adversaries...

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Walter de la Mare was something of an antiquary who sought out odds and ends from the past, and in their quirky way his collections can feel as obsessed with the strata of history as the great masterpieces...

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The Hierophant: Servant King

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 10 March 2022

The​ Queen’s Dolls’ House, designed by Edwin Lutyens, was put on display at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924. A twee descendant of Victoria and Albert’s Crystal...

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Serious Mayhem: The McLaren Strand

Simon Reynolds, 10 March 2022

The Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren declared, ‘were anti-music and anti-business’, yet ‘God Save the Queen’ outsold Rod Stewart twice over. This was his knack, and his downfall: to take the uncommercial...

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Diary: Out of Sir Vidia’s Shadow

Paul Theroux, 24 February 2022

Ihad​ planned to become a doctor – I imagined working in a hospital in a tropical country like Dr Schweitzer. I graduated in 1963, but being unable to afford medical school I joined the...

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Diary: Scratched on a Stone

Philip Terry, 27 January 2022

Taking a leap in the dark – and is this not what the bounding horses lining the ceiling of Lascaux’s axial gallery ask us to do? – Jean-Luc Champerret proposes that the grids act as frameworks for...

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