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. 19 No. 21 · 30 October 1997

Search by issue:

The Beauty of Hedgehogs

Looking at the ‘audacious’ publicity vision of the completed Millennium Dome which accompanied Iain Sinclair’s exhaustively (and agreeably) hostile account of the project (LRB, 2 October), I was nonplussed to find it repeatedly referred to as a ‘Teflon Hedgehog’. A hedgehog projects an energetic, deep curve against any horizon, to say nothing of the wickedly lively face jutting out at one end, and the dense texture of rippling spines covering all the rest. Hedgehogs are beautiful. No: another image altogether, virtual not natural, sprang to my mind, even before I started reading. It was the sight which met the eyes of Gregor Samsa on that fateful morning when he found himself transformed into a gigantic cockroach and tried to come to terms with what he saw – the ‘domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments’, the ‘numerous legs which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk’, and so on. The more I ponder it, the more appropriate does Kafka’s image of the utterly alienated seem as the shape with which to greet the dawn of the third millennium.

Annemarie Heywood
Windhoek, Namibia

Sympathy for the Devil

‘Both critics,’ Michael Wood writes in his review of the translations of The Master and Margarita (LRB, 16 October), ‘say that Bulgakov knew that manuscripts do burn, as he had burned some of his own’ – a reference, presumably, to Bulgakov’s burning of his diary in 1929. Bulgakov himself probably had in mind Pushkin’s half-successful attempt to burn the compromising Chapter 10 of Eugene Onegin, an attempt which has left us with only one complete verse and only the first four lines of most of the others. But enough remained to hang him had the authorities been so inclined – and enough was lost to give his readers chagrin. But there is a further twist to the story that Michael Wood does not mention and one which, in happier circumstances, Bulgakov would have enjoyed. Although Bulgakov burned his diary, the KGB had, unknown to him, already photocopied it and stowed the copy away in their archive, where it was found, sixty years after the burning, by Vitaly Shentalinsky. A course of events confirming Bulgakov’s view of the devil as a ‘force forever intending evil, yet ever doing good’.

David Longley
University of Aberdeen

Am I alone in finding the two translations Michael Wood reviews so unpleasant? Much of the time they read as if the translators only had a second-hand knowledge of English. Even allowing for the fact that familiarity acclimatises, I am much happier with Michael Glenny’s 1967 translation. At hundreds of points it is Glenny who scores. Simple things like the opening chapter being called in Glenny ‘Never Talk to Strangers’ – the natural form of the parental admonition – whereas Penguin’s translators, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, give ‘Never Talk with Strangers’. There is also the apparently perverse word choice of both the Penguin and the Picador versions: ‘a cavalry ala’ against Glenny’s ‘a squadron of cavalry’, for example (the only meaning for the word ‘ala’ in both my paper and CD-ROM dictionaries is ‘a membranous outgrowth on a fruit’). Which reads better: ‘how about the price of a drink’ (Glenny) or ‘how about a little pint pot’ (Pevear and Volokhonsky)? And how about ‘bending double’ (Glenny) as opposed to ‘mugging’ (Pevear and Volokhonsky)? Mugging?

Conrad Cork
Leicester

Nussbaum v. Unger

Peter Singer’s response (Letters, 16 October) to my review of Peter Unger’s book is strange, for he defends the aspects of the book that I praised and says nothing in defence of those that I criticised. I did not hold the non-originality of Unger’s examples against him, I simply pointed it out. I said that Unger’s ‘discussions of the distinction between duties to rescue and duties to aid, and his general diagnosis of irrationalities in our thinking about people at a distance, are both ingenious and cogent,’ and added that ‘Unger is a resourceful thinker who complicates the examples in interesting ways and adds others of his own.’

My complaints against the book lay elsewhere. I objected to Unger’s crude discussion of philosophical method, to his failure to grapple seriously with the arguments of others, to his failure to engage with non-utilitarians or to defend his own narrow utilitarian framework, and, especially, to his total failure to confront institutional and political issues that must be taken account of in any good analysis of duties to aid. I mentioned seven questions, all commonplace in recent political philosophy, that need to be addressed in any such work, and noted that Unger is silent about six of them. The non-addressed questions include such basic ones as: what would a good theory of global justice look like, and how would it describe the basic entitlements of individuals and nations? What should be the goal of our efforts: to maximise the sum of satisfaction? To maximise human functioning and capability? To maximise the access of individuals to certain basic resources? To ensure to as many people as possible a certain basic level of satisfaction, or of capability, or of resources? To maximise the situation (on any of these dimensions) of the least well off? (Those are two of the six.) Unger makes claims that he cannot make plausibly without consideration of such familiar questions.

Unger makes, very seriously, a practical recommendation – we should all give most of what we have to Oxfam – that, if followed, would be disastrous. This fact is hardly irrelevant to the assessment of what he has accomplished. Philosophy of this sort cannot afford to be naive armchair rumination. Irresponsible speculation brings philosophy into discredit in just those circles where good philosophy may possibly do some good (a fact that Singer, a practical philosopher very concerned with fact, must know well). Even when ideal theory is in question, philosophy must confront economic and political realities. Many fine modern writers on international justice and the relief of hunger are aware of this. Unger is not.

Martha Nussbaum
University of Chicago

The Casement Affair

Colm Tóibín, in his interesting discussion of Roger Casement’s Black and White Diaries (LRB, 2 October), leaves out two additional reasons for believing that the Black Diaries with their account of homosexual activities are genuine. One is that in New York in 1914, Casement employed a young companion, Adler Christensen, a Norwegian sailor. Christensen went with him to Germany and remained with him for the next two years until he left on his last secret journey to Ireland. It was not unusual in those days for a man of means to employ a manservant to travel with him, but Casement was not wealthy, Christensen had no experience as a servant, and his behaviour in Germany was such that the German authorities found him an embarrassment. The second is that Casement was addicted to writing. As a British consular official he wrote two or three dispatches a week of several thousand words and ten and twenty-page letters. He wrote countless articles and poems, under a pseudonym when he could not use his own name, published and unpublished. If such a man had a secret life, with passions and excitements that he could not reveal, it is very likely that he would record them.

Norman Moss
London W12

Who was Henri Perron?

R.W. Johnson asserts that Simone de Beauvoir’s novel The Mandarins contains a ‘barely disguised and hostile portrait’ of Camus (LRB, 16 October). Beauvoir herself invariably denied that the character of Henri Perron was intended to resemble Camus. She claimed that Perron, along with the novel’s other main protagonist, a woman, represented particular aspects of her own personality and that superficial resemblances such as his appearance and profession could apply equally easily to some of her other acquaintances in the arts and media. As Beauvoir was quite capable of being disingenuous, her denial doesn’t have to be accepted at face value. Nevertheless, the background and attitudes she gives Perron are very different from those of Camus, particuarly Perron’s critical sympathy for the Communists and the fact that at the close of the novel he returns to a political alliance with them. On these grounds her denial is probably to be taken seriously. If, on the other hand, her model was Camus then the assertion that it is a ‘hostile portrait’ is nonsense. The novel is written partially from Perron’s point of view and presents him as a principled journalist and writer trying, though with difficulty, to come to terms with the politics of post-Liberation France – which does indeed make it unlikely that Beauvoir, given the hostility with which she came to view Camus, was thinking of him when she created the character.

Willie Thompson
Caledonian University

Hero of Neutrality

As Owen Bennett Jones’s piece on Switzerland (LRB, 21 August) makes clear, neutral is no longer synonymous with clean, right and law-abiding. Neutral countries are supposed to breed neither heroes nor villains, but Switzerland did manage to have one hero, in the very unlikely person of Paul Grüninger, who in 1938 was the chief of police in the Canton of St Gallen, which shares a border with Austria. After the Anschluss Jews were very eager to get out of Austria, but the official Swiss response was to close the border and deny them admittance to Switzerland. Paul Grüninger chose instead to falsify the admittance applications of anything between six hundred and three thousand Austrian Jews by back-dating the applications to the period before the border was closed. As he said at the time, he could not live with the policy and valued morality above bureaucratic orders. In 1939 the 48-year-old police chief was fired from his job and a subsequent judicial procedure stripped him of all pension rights. He died in 1981, and after many unsuccessful attempts on the part of those who felt he had been wrongfully treated, the St Gallen Government finally granted him a complete rehabilitation in 1995.

Tony Woolfson
Zurich

Stingless Drones

‘How,’ asks Helen Vendler (LRB, 16 October), in a thorough demolition job on Andrew Motion’s new biography of Keats (and with reference to the ‘Ode to Autumn’), ‘can Motion have been persuaded to think of the bees as exploited and overworked labourers? Can a poet so misread another poet? And if so, why?’ The answer to these questions seems to be simple. Surely he was ‘persuaded’ by yet another poet’s ‘Song to the Men of England’, also written in the year of Peterloo, and evidently with direct reference to the massacre:

Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?

It’s not surprising, perhaps, that this rousing proto-Marxist agitprop should stick in Andrew Motion’s mind, as in many others.

Christopher Small
Edinburgh

Pooka

Frank Kermode (LRB, 16 October) laments that his reading of Peter Carey’s novel required ‘what one hasn’t got: a dictionary of 19th-century underworld slang’. I am surprised he has managed so long without something I have always considered good value. ‘Bilboa’ is explained in both Partridge’s Dictionary of Historical Slang and in the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (reprinted by Follet in 1971). ‘Esclop’ appears only in Partridge and neither refers to ‘racehorse’ or ‘pooka’ (‘pooja’ being nearest, and not far from his guessed meaning). I hope Kermode is not without Gamini Salgado’s Cony-Catchers and Bawdy Baskets, with its wealth of 16th-century roguery.

Paul Eustice
Worthing

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.