Quantum Influencers

Adam Mars-Jones, 7 April 2022

The absence of historical context in Benjamin Labatut’s When We Cease to Understand the World makes these supposed geniuses seem like dullards. How could Einstein not immediately grasp the reality of...

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It isn’t surprising that two of the most interesting authors to write about the migrant crises of the last ten years were subjects of earlier waves of displacement. In a recent interview, Hoda Barakat...

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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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Diary: Putting on Kafka’s Tux

Patricia Lockwood, 24 March 2022

If this were written in the 1990s it would be called ‘Kafka’s Tuxedo’, and in order to illustrate it, we would have resurrected Chagall for a single night so that he could paint Kafka as an empty...

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The Fog of History: On Olga Tokarczuk

Fredric Jameson, 24 March 2022

We have been approaching the figure of Jacob in a spirit of reverence, with hushed voices, as in church, as though he had a religious task or mission. What we have failed to understand is that the Messiah...

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How tf was I privileged? ‘Fuccboi’

Christian Lorentzen, 10 March 2022

The novel is about something more interesting than sex. It’s an account of a highly specific crack-up, and a largely self-inflicted one, though a few of the usual suspects, among them capitalism and...

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Stay Home, Stay Stoned: Diane di Prima

Andrea Brady, 10 March 2022

Diane di Prima’s poems combine spontaneous analysis of political conditions with a compendium of survival skills. She offers spiritual guidance and pragmatic advice for social action. When you go to...

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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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On Typing

Jo-Ann Wallace, 24 February 2022

I typed Mrs Dalloway from beginning to end. There is something surprisingly intimate about entering text in this way. I knew that by typing up the novel I would refamiliarise myself with it. I didn’t...

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On Caleb Femi

Amber Medland, 24 February 2022

In​ 1765, at the age of eight, William Blake had a vision while walking on Peckham Rye. He saw ‘a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough’. If Blake had...

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The voice in Joyce Carol Oates’s novels often sounds like a teenage girl speaking on the phone: the torrent of words strung together without subordinate clauses, the dramatic pauses, the sentences littered...

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Giant Eye Watching: Pola Oloixarac

Adam Thirlwell, 10 February 2022

Ideas in Pola Oloixarac’s novels are allowed to expand in unexpected habitats. Her characters give complicated lectures, get lost in unwinnable arguments, write arcane texts: they invent theories the...

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My Year of Reading Lemmishly

Jonathan Lethem, 10 February 2022

Stanisław Lem was incommensurable – to SF, to literature, to himself. He was so many different writers – five, at least. I had too much to read. I risked missing the centenary in mute tribute.

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Poem: ‘Pine Processionaries’

A.E. Stallings, 27 January 2022

Warmer and warmercreep the late Januarys,disturbed beauty ofprecocious flowers,the ease of a year’s first swim.Pulsing in their silktent in the tree’s crotchthe pine...

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Snail Slow: Letters to John McGahern

Colm Tóibín, 27 January 2022

Despite the autobiographical elements in his fiction, John McGahern wasn’t especially interested in exploring his own psyche. He rowed in familiar waters because the cadences in the prose and the resonant...

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On Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

David Wheatley, 27 January 2022

Eiléan​ Ní Chuilleanáin’s poem ‘Translation’ describes a work scene in a convent laundry. Over the bustle of cleaning and ironing, one voice rises...

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On the fifth day, we took him to the Kingto be received. The Queen was beside herself.She intoned constantly under her breath,part-lullaby, part-charm, words bubblingout of her mouth like water...

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What’s the hook?

Helen Thaventhiran, 27 January 2022

Hooked is most interested in the kinds of aesthetic experience occasioned by works that ‘strike’ us forcibly. Rita Felski describes a writer being ‘hammered by’ Matisse, of Thelma and Louise striking...

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