Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website ( — 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.


Vol. 14 No. 19 · 8 October 1992

Search by issue:

Side by side with Strauss

Charles Fairbanks Jr (Letters, 10 September) defends Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man on the grounds that it asks a good question: are there powerful forces working for democracy in history? The sad fact is that good questions can receive poor answers. My review (LRB, 23 July) dealt with Fukuyama’s answers, and some of the methods by which he reached them. I was particularly concerned to explain how Kojève’s reading of Hegel fits into the Straussian scheme of things, because relatively few readers in Britain know about Strauss and his baneful influence in the USA.

The Straussian context also helps to answer a question that has puzzled reviewers: why is the conservative reception of Fukuyama’s book so enthusiastic? My review does not say that Fukuyama himself is a conservative, let alone that Kojève was. On the contrary, I wrote, ‘there are signs in Fukuyama’s book that he is not firmly convinced that Kojève got everything right,’ implying that it is not clear that the book is shaped by his Straussian education. That fact, I was suggesting, is the key to understanding both why it gives poor answers to a good question and why it attracted such acclaim. It was interesting to learn from Fairbanks that Strauss urged his students to vote for Stevenson in 1952. Even more interesting to learn that he told his students how they should vote.

M.F. Burnyeat
Robinson College, Cambridge


A little inaccuracy in Peter Campbell’s review of Hypertext by George Landow (LRB, 10 September) suggests a further reservation about the apparently comprehensive ‘docuverse’ proposed to us by computer technology. The English Poetry Full-Text Database does not comprise ‘the publication of all printed verse in English on compact disc’, but – as Chadwyck-Healey’s promotional literature makes clear – that of ‘the works of 1350 poets from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the 19th century … primarily the works of those writers listed as poets in the New Camridge Bibliography of English Literature’.

It is all too easy to forget the limits of any large databank of material, especially when they are hidden behind that strangely absorbing little screen. You can see the end of the encyclopedia, the inches of entries in a card index. The clear-headed user of an electronic dictionary or abstracting service may even remember, with Peter Campbell, that ‘even extended indexing limits the inquirer to the compiler’s notion of what is significant or the cataloguer’s summary of context.’ But the caveat will always apply to any electronic assemblage of data you can envisage, however vast, that cannot but have been both selected and indexed.

I recently saw demonstrated a dazzling education package on Twelfth Night by the Art of Memory, a Multimedia production company. Multimedia presents text, sound and video images, with, in this case, marvellously sophisticated linkages between them, like those described in the review. You could instantly switch from the text to access contemporary maps or images of the players, zoom in on details of the pictures, hear the text spoken and songs sung, and pause them at any point to consult the glossary. What struck me was that the medium may be so impressive and capacious as to imply a total control of the subject it can never really have. The quality, indeed, of what is input originally is crucial (that of the Twelfth Night seemed very high), but however good, it possesses a mystifying indeterminability: like an ideology, its limits are invisible. Admittedly, the interactive possibilities of these new media may alleviate this, particularly at research level, but as teaching resources, might not their very richness and unresisting responsiveness paradoxically engender intellectual passivity?

Elizabeth James
National Art Library,

Thinking Persons

Having been out of the country, I have just come across Professor John Ellis’s lengthy reply (Letters, 9 July) to my letter of 25 June. Ellis says he did not quote me out of context, but interprets ‘context’ in a way which shows him still incapable of extracting the plainest implications of an argument. Nobody, surely, can seriously suggest that the New Critics made no use of interpretative paraphrase. What is at issue between Ellis and myself is simply whether, in my book, I show ignorance of two caveats with which the official methodology of New Criticism hedged the practice: that there can be no appeal to meanings external to the text, and that no paraphrase can capture the full meaning of the text. In my letter I drew his attention to a passage (page 23-28) in which I argue that these two caveats are in principle inconsistent with one another: how, then, could I have been unaware of them? Nothing in Ellis’s reply addresses this rather simple point.

Ellis’s other ground of attack is that I put forward a supposedly ‘ “new" approach’ to Derrida which is not in fact new. He bolsters this by appeal to a passage on page 133 of Jonathan Culler’s On Deconstruction (at least, I take it that must be the passage he has in mind) in which Culler suggests, correctly, that Derrida’s arguments do not license talk of ‘an indeterminacy that makes meaning the invention of the reader’. Fair enough: the trouble is that my putative claim to be putting forward a new interpretation of Derrida is an invention of Ellis’s. On page vi of Inconvenient Fictions, I expressly renounce any claim to scholarship where Derrida is concerned, and acknowledge my debt to two Derrida scholars, John Llewellyn and Henry Staten, for ‘confirming my halting sense of what is central to Derrida’s position’. The only claim I would make for the book’s originality in this quarter would concern its attempt to show that some of Derrida’s arguments, once disentangled from a range of ‘exciting’ conclusions which have been taken to flow from them but to which they lend, in fact, no support, can be developed further in directions which lead towards a confluence of deconstruction with a range of views recently very widely considered to characterise an outmoded liberal humanism. Ellis could only begin assembling a case to back up his accusation of ignorance if he were to do what his review so signally failed to do: pay some attention to the book’s central claims and arguments.

Bernard Harrison
University of Sussex

Goodbye Columbus

I trust that the rest of Eric Hobsbawm’s interesting historical sweeps and comparisons (LRB, 9 July) are better anchored than his reference to Canada’s lack of effect upon the Old World: a way of stressing the salient example of the USA’s influence, in writing about the cultural consequences of 1492. Canada has always been outnumbered ten to one, didn’t have its own 18th or 19th centuries, and reached official ‘independence’ only in 1931 (by the Statute of Westminster – some place over there, isn’t it?). Canada is only now cobbling together its own constitution (patriated from Britain ten years ago), which, by the way, will grant the ‘inherent right of self-government’ to native (pre-Columbus) peoples – quite a distinct process from that of the USA. Could you ask Eric Hobsbawm to check back for comparison in two hundred and fifty years?

At another extreme altogether is his overlooking of what are surely the three most influential products of the New World: the car, the airplane, the telephone (credit Canada for a part in that one) – overlooked probably, intriguingly, because of their ubiquitous social presence. It is all very well to make us aware that ‘four of the seven most important agricultural crops in the world today are of American origin: potatoes, maize, manioc and sweet potato.’ But can you imagine a world where you couldn’t phone out to the chip shop and get home delivery? I mean, is that civilised, or what?

Gerald Noonan
Wilfrid Laurier University,

Grains and Pinches

If James Pierrepont Greaves’s community at Ham Common had been ‘far from Owenite’, as Jackie Letham alleges (Letters, 10 September), its appeal for such prominent Owenites as Thomas Frost, Robert Buchanan (or at least his wife) and Alexander Campbell would be inexplicable. The last of these actually lived in the community from 1842 for a couple of years, and promulgated Greavesian doctrine while still an active worker for Owenite socialism.

Michael Mason

Blake’s House

When William and Catherine Blake came back from Felpham in 1803, they moved into the first floor of 17 South Moulton Street, off Oxford Street. There they lived until 1821, there Milton was published and the 100-plate Jerusalem written and engraved. Of the many houses in London in which Blake lived, this is the only one left standing. The City of London has the freehold, a pension trust a 900-year lease and Reed Employment the current head-lease that will expire in the year 2013. The three upper floors are today vacant and awaiting a tenant.

Needless to say, we have a dream: that there shall be a Blake Centre in South Moulton Street. The Tate and the Fitzwilliam have done justice to the visual Blake, but nowhere does this unique polymath, the only artist/prophet in our history to write, draw, paint and engrave with equal facility, have a permanent home appropriate to the extraordinary diversity of his genius. We are advised by our president, George Goyder, co-founder of the Blake Trust with the late Sir Geoffrey Keynes and others, that a condition of a successful appeal is that the moneys shall be for purchase and not for rent. The pension trust, with its 900-year lease, tells us that it ‘is not in a position to consider the sale of its interest at this time’. If, however, the directors of the trust were to be persuaded that a sale was very much in the national interest, one can imagine that they might have second thoughts. So the object of this letter is to bring the matter to public attention. We hope that the response will be such as will enable us to take matters a stage further. It follows that this is not an appeal for money; we hope that that may be possible later. The Blake Society was founded some seven years ago, in and at the instigation of St James’s, Piccadilly, where Blake was baptised in 1757.

Peter Cadogan
The Blake Society,

Cognitive Closure

Colin McGinn, in reviewing my A History of the Mind (LRB, 10 September), complains that I ignore certain philosophical distinctions dear to his own heart – and puts it down to my unsophistication and naivety. But it is not so much that I don’t understand the distinctions he thinks so important as that I don’t believe there is any further mileage in them. As McGinn and other traditionalists writing about consciousness have amply demonstrated, ‘if a thing’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well’; and, rather than descend to his level, I have tried in my book to do what is worth doing. McGinn has recently invented the term ‘cognitive closure’ to refer to people’s inability to appreciate modes of argument that don’t fit into their preconceived ideas of how the world works. His review (but not the book which he so testily parodies in it) suggests he knows the condition only too well.

Nicholas Humphrey


At the risk of being called ‘an egotistical monomaniac’ once more by Alan Rudrum (Letters, 24 September), may I burden your pages again? I would like this time, instead of talking about myself, to offer some advice to Hugo Williams after reading his poem ‘Sex’ in the same issue. While I am relieved to find that he does know the basic facts of life, I think he could do with a little more knowledge of female phsyiology. The physical phenomena he writes about can be simply explained. There is an obvious reason why his heroine lacked lubricity – she did not fancy the man concerned. Perhaps he should have attempted sex instead with a woman who did.

Fiona Pitt-Kethley

Poor Bosnia

Any authority that might be claimed for Christopher Hitchens’s journalistic ramblings about Bosnia (LRB, 10 September) is surely vitiated by his belief that W.H. Auden was the ‘clearest voice’ and ‘greatest poet’ and Leon Trotsky the ‘greatest essayist’ of the Thirties. With friends like this, poor Bosnia hardly needs enemies. May we be spared these regular doses of Marxist medicine?

Jean Raison
London N19

American English

Nonne TU memento mori, VOS autem mementoTE mori (Letters, 24 September)? Post equitem sedet atra cura?

B.R. Cosin
London NW3


In my review of Thomas Keneally’s novel, Woman of an Inland Sea (LRB, 24 September), I wrote Dobell when I meant Drysdale.

C.K. Stead
London WC1

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.