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The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

Piketty’s Revolution

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

The LetterDonald Hall
Close
Close

   At college in my junior year,
I had a nervous breakdown,
  or so I told Dr
Coluccio in a long letter
  I typed at my desk
in Eliot House. Anxious, exhausted,
   fretful, I explained
that I needed to quit school, certainly
   to get away from Harvard.
I spoke in desperation: I
   couldn’t sleep or study
or write; my life was impossible,
   painful, insupportable
I didn’t tell him I’d broken
   with Freda, then gone with
Rosalind and split up with her, then
  Priscilla. I typed,
making many errors, and intended
  to hand-deliver my letter
right then, but when I finished,
   I felt overwhelmingly sleepy.
         I woke after two hours
  entirely calm and cheerful
and quickly crumpled the letter.

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