Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close

Letters

Vol. 13 No. 10 · 23 May 1991

Search by issue:

Old Literature and its Enemies

Claude Rawson’s response to Alvin Kernan’s proposition that ‘the old literature is stone dead’ (LRB, 25 April) seems paradoxical: he denies that it is true, and asserts that literature is being killed off by Stanley Fish and a Marxist-feminist-multiculturalist ‘thought police’. Professor Rawson conflates diverse matters.

We should distinguish ‘literature’ as a. a body of texts and b. a way of thinking about those texts. A decade or so ago (for instance, in the controversy in these pages about Re-Reading English) it was observed that the second of these, the received idea of literature, no longer carries conviction for some people. One basis of this idea is literary appreciation; it is invoked James Wood, who wants ‘to laugh and cry out with simple pleasure’ (Letters, 25 April – I am not attributing this approach to Rawson).

However, the body of texts often called literature is not dependent on the idea of literature; indeed, as Raymond Williams pointed out, the texts to a notable degree predated the idea. Rawson is right to say that very many people remain deeply engaged with this body of writing; indeed it has been importantly extended through the retrieval of work by women and other subordinated groups. But some readers, including many feminists, Marxists and multiculturalists, are addressing such texts in ways they find far more exciting than literary appreciation. In fact, I would argue, these ways may even be more appropriate to writer’s intentions, which have often involved vivid commitment to issues far wider than literary appreciation.

And then there are those who write more about theory than about texts. I do not myself regret this, but either way it should not be confused with the foregoing conclusions.

Finally, Stanley Fish should not be conflated with multiculturalism, feminism and Marxism. Fish has consistently attacked the relating of literature to political concerns, or indeed to anything at all. Probably that is why James Wood reviewed him so enthusiastically in the Guardian recently.

Even so, we might heed the circumstances in which Fish is working. The New Right Duke Review for April 1991 gives this distinguished scholar-critic top marks in a ‘public nuisance index’, placing him in a ‘Hall of Shame’ as having ‘a consistently boorish manner’ and having been, ‘over an excruciatingly long period of time, the national embarrassment of Duke University’. It suggests that Fish is a defender of Hitler and the Nazis, declaring that he ‘enjoys mental masturbatory techniques’ and the ‘hypocracy’ (sic) that characterises the liberal.

Apparently over 50 per cent of students at Duke believe that the Review is making a positive contribution. Rawson need not be so fearful that the Left is effecting a ‘thought police’: the threat to intellectual seriousness is from the right.

Alan Sinfield
Sussex University

Congratulations to Claude Rawson: his account of the illnesses attacking the study of English literature in universities is courageous and necessary. I’m puzzled, though, by his remarks about Bernard Bergonzi’s Exploding English. My understanding of Professor Bergonzi’s book is that he notes, as a matter of empirical observation, that the literary canon is bound to grow, but he also says that while we expand the canon we must not distort it, and that the great literature of the past must retain its priority. It seems to me that he and Claude Rawson are really on the same side.

In his argument with Derrida Claude Rawson could have invoked another philosopher and literary figure, Iris Murdoch, who has this to say (in an interview) about feminist and other current threats to the canon: ‘We [women] want to join the human race, not invent a new separation. This self-conscious separation leads to rubbish like “black studies" and “women’s studies". Let’s just have studies.’

John Batchelor
The University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Bardbiz

Having spent a little time in Sinfield’s ‘knowing study at Sussex’ this year while on an MA course in Renaissance literature, I must take issue with some of your Bardbiz correspondents – James Wood (Letters, 25 April) is one – who impute joylessness and arrogance to cultural materialists. I am a woolly liberal and a poet, and cannot always agree with my tutors on writing, cultural production, individualism and some other topics. But I have not met ‘arrogant rectitude’: rather, a delight in debate, a welcome for essays which dissent from the views expressed in their public works (has Wood read carefully Sinfield’s writings enthusing over Macbeth, interpreting Sidney?), a questioning of visiting speakers who take up an ideologically pure stance from a materialist point of view, and an encouragement of the belief that to attempt to explain is not to dehumanise. I recognise some of Wood’s worries about the value placed on poetry, and have been quarrelling amicably with Sinfield over this since October. But criticism is not the same ball game as writing: Wood implies it should be. The questions he says are not discussed are discussed.

What is literary debate about? Everyone coming to the same conclusions on questions whose importance has been settled beforehand? Or openness to the possibility of new questions becoming relevant; and free debate on old questions still found important by Marxists and others alike? It was Alan Sinfield who said, in our second seminar of the autumn: ‘We don’t have to agree – we really don’t.’

Penny McCarthy
London SE3

The Name of the Rose

A.D. Nuttall, in a splendid review of Anne Barton’s The Names of Comedy (LRB, 25 April), may be right to say that Juliet’s remark about a rose-by-any-other-name is unquoted there because it is too well known. Another reason may be that Shakespeare did not write it. What he did write is:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet,

which makes the point, perhaps even more sharply than in the familiar misreading, that (like Aristotle and Aquinas before him) he was a Saussurian before his time. But then Saussure publicly disavowed having discovered the arbitrariness of the sign, which he called an uncontested principle. It is a passage his modern disciples prefer not to read.

George Watson
St John’s College, Cambridge

Hands at an open door

Dennis Brown (Letters, 25 April) makes a point of claiming to discover a connection between Eliot’s ‘Journey of the Magi’ and Pound’s ‘Exile’s Letter’ which he has not ‘seen made elsewhere’. Such a connection is noted in the fifth edition, 1990, of my Student’s Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot, where I also identify the dialogue that Eliot maintained with Pound through his poetry.

Brian Southam
London NW11

Anglophobics

Douglas Johnson’s interesting and suggestive judgment (LRB, 25 April) that Admiral Darlan was not a simple Anglophobe is supported by Darlan’s readiness to act with, indeed even to entertain, Admiral A. B. Cunningham, Eisenhower’s Naval deputy in Algiers. Cunningham, it will be remembered, had refused to open fire on the French squadron in Alexandria in 1940 and had not concealed his whole-hearted opposition to the policy that had been forced on an equally reluctant Admiral Somerville at Mers el Kebir. The whole question is discussed in my book Fisher and Cunningham, published last month. As to Darlan’s assassination, I wonder if a better or clearer account of this affair can be found than that given by Jean Lacouture in the first volume of his life of De Gaulle, now available in Patrick O’Brian’s admirable translation.

Richard Ollard
Bridport, Dorset

Oops

Re Robert Alter’s review of the Confessions of Saint Augustine (LRB, 25 April) do – you mean that I’ve been imagining this division between my body and my soul for forty years just because some inadequate translator rendered the Hebrew nefesh (self) as the Latin anima (soul)? Ye God(s)!

Diana Hendry
Bristol

My Suggestion

In his review of After Hours with P.G. Wodehouse (LRB, 4 April) E.S. Turner quotes Richard Usborne’s words to the effect that Herbert Jenkins told him ‘that Wodehouse had advised them to put me on the job of writing Wodehouse at Work.’ While it is certainly true that P.G.W. agreed to the invitation, the fact of the matter is that the initial suggestion came from me. At the time (mid-1954) I was working as an editorial assistant at Herbert Jenkins and happened to read Usborne’s Clubland Heroes, which I greatly enjoyed. I took the book to Derek Grimsdick, the chairman of the firm, and suggested that Usborne be invited to compile a similar study of Wodehouse’s characters to that of the Buchan, ‘Sapper’ and Dornford Yates characters which he had produced for Clubland Heroes. After reading the book, Grimsdick agreed with my proposal and wrote to P.G.W. outlining the idea and recommending Usborne as the author. As Usborne himself says, Wodehouse was not overwhelmed by the plan but agreed the invitation should be extended, which it duly was by Grimsdick over lunch at Quaglino’s. Certainly, no other author was ever contemplated or invited to produce Wodehouse at Work. It was simply that Usborne seemed to be the best person for the job, and so it proved. Furthermore, it is probably fair to add that, as P.G.W. was still persona non grata in many circles in the mid-Fifties, an invitation to a more established literary figure might well have fallen on stony ground. The terms offered were certainly modest, although princely by Jenkins’s standards, which is why I left the company not long afterwards, unable to live on the salary they were prepared to pay me, or, perhaps, felt that I deserved. This meant, sadly, that I never worked on Usborne’s book.

Bruce Coward
Dartmouth, Devon

I do wish to say that having E.S. Turner’s ‘Turbot, sir’ is by itself worth a year’s subscription.

Nicolas Freeling
Grandfontaine, France

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.