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. 30 No. 7 · 10 April 2008

Search by issue:

What Really Happened

Frank Kermode does not include in his discussion of the resurrection the gospel reference that gives the best clue about the death and resurrection of Jesus, namely John 19.34: ‘Forthwith came there out blood and water’ (LRB, 20 March). There can be only one possible explanation for this happening after the spear had been thrust into his side: Jesus had a large pleural effusion, which the spear released. This diagnosis explains a good deal that is otherwise puzzling in the gospel stories. Although he had previously walked everywhere, Jesus needed an ass for his final entry into Jerusalem. Also, he was unable to carry his cross, which other men of his age could carry easily. A pleural effusion this size would have been accumulating for some time. It would have been tuberculous, and so Jesus would have been getting steadily weaker. It isn’t surprising that he felt ‘he was not long for this world.’

The story in John implies that the soldiers were surprised to find Jesus dead so soon. With the effusion pressing on his heart and his body fixed upright he would probably have gone into severe heart failure, and would have appeared dead even though his heart itself was perfectly sound. The spear blow that was expected to finish him off might actually have saved his life by relieving the pressure on his heart. Being laid horizontally would have allowed the blood and fluids pooled in his legs to return into circulation, a process assisted by the coolness of the tomb. He might, in these circumstances, have regained consciousness and thus have seemed to be resurrected.

Dr Roger James
Portsmouth

Having Fun with Auden

Frank Kermode repeats Auden’s revisionist claims about the spiritual revelation he experienced one night in June 1933 at the Downs School in Malvern (Letters, 6 March). The poem published in postwar collections as ‘A Summer Night’ is a severely truncated and revised version of the untitled poem beginning ‘Out on the lawn I lie in bed’ from Look, Stranger! (1936). The postwar version drops four stanzas from the original, three of which make it clear that the revelation it celebrated was a secular, political one. It is completely consistent with the other ‘quasi-mystical’ but undoubtedly Communist poems in the same volume, in particular ‘Brothers, who when the sirens roar’ (dropped completely from Auden’s postwar oeuvre). Both versions of the poem record an experience of intense, almost ecstatic solidarity with his fellow teachers. But the omitted stanzas make a point of contrasting their privileged ‘freedom in this English house’, their ‘metaphysical distress’ and liberal ‘kindness to ten persons’, with the ‘wretchedness’ of ‘The gathering multitudes outside/Whose glances hunger worsens’ (not difficult to know who was meant by this in 1933). The mysterious ‘crumpling flood’ that will soon ‘force a rent’ through the ‘dykes of our content’, which survives in the final version, is not mysterious at all in the original. It is the coming revolution, in which Auden acknowledges that ‘we dread to lose/Our privacy.’ The idea that this poem offers a ‘vision of agape’, in which the young Auden experienced the first inklings of his wartime return to the Christian communion, is a cover story that he put forward with some insistence in his 1964 introduction to Anne Fremantle’s book The Protestant Mystics. Poets are entitled to tamper with their poetry, and even to rewrite their past, but we shouldn’t connive at their little white lies.

Stan Smith
Nottingham Trent University

Asian Anarchists

Pankaj Mishra writes that, at the time when Woodrow Wilson was igniting the Great American Century, ‘Marxism was … being studied and debated in many Asian cities and towns’ (LRB, 21 February). In fact, Asian radicals and nationalists were studying anarchist texts at least as energetically as they did The Communist Manifesto. The Indian independence fighter and socialist Bhagat Singh said that the Sanskrit phrase ‘vasudev kutumbakam’ (‘universal brotherhood’) had the same meaning as ‘anarchy’, and Har Dayal, the founder of the Ghadar movement, which campaigned for Indian independence, also founded the Bakunin Institute of California and tried to unite anarchism with Buddhism. (Gandhi also claimed to be an anarchist.)

In China, anarchism was the primary ideology of the left and the labour movement until well into the 1920s. Chinese students in Paris, Tokyo and America joined or formed anarchist societies and brought their new ideas back to China. Mao, who had been a member of the anarchist People’s Voice Society, himself admitted that it was not until 1920 that he became ‘in theory, and to some extent in action, a Marxist’. Sun Yat-sen, the Father of the Nation, thought it wise to declare that ‘the goal of the Three Principles of the People is to create socialism and anarchism.’ Ba Jin, one of the most influential Chinese novelists of the 20th century, described Emma Goldman as ‘my spiritual mother’ and formed his pen name from the first and last syllables of the names Bakunin and Kropotkin.

In the wake of the October Revolution, Marxist-Leninism gradually grew dominant in revolutionary independence movements in Asia and other parts of the colonised world. But this happened quite slowly: when, for example, the Cuban Communist Party was founded in 1925 with fewer than a hundred members, 128 anarchist unions and guilds also joined together to form the Confederación Nacional Obrera de Cuba, with two hundred thousand members. These groups had their roots in the Proudhonist mutual-aid societies and free labour associations established from the mid-19th century. Such matters surely belong among the topics that, as Mishra writes, ‘Communist study circles did not of course discuss’.

Felix Holmgren
Malmö, Sweden

Don’t Get above Yourself

In his review of Stefan Collini’s Absent Minds, David Simpson writes of George Orwell that ‘it’s a surprise to learn that the combined circulation of the three periodicals in which most of his essays appeared was only about half that of the publication you are now reading’ (LRB, 6 March). Simpson is repeating Collini’s mistake here. It’s true that Cyril Connolly’s Horizon and Humphrey Slater’s Polemic sold something in the region of 10,000 between them. But Tribune was on a roll when Orwell wrote his ‘As I Please’ columns for it between 1943 and 1947. It wasn’t certificated by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, but its print run was around 40,000 a week towards the end of this period. This is fewer copies than the LRB sells today, but a lot more than half its circulation, even if it’s peanuts compared with the readership A.J.P. Taylor reached by writing for the Sunday Express.

Paul Anderson
Ipswich

Balfour’s Bad Memory

Ferdinand Mount mentions Balfour’s forgetfulness about names (LRB, 20 March). That wasn’t the only indication of his poor memory. J.M.N. Jeffries, a Daily Mail journalist with very good sources in Whitehall, told the following story in Palestine: The Reality (1939):

Once during 1919, in Paris, after an important meeting of the Council of Ten, next morning [Balfour] was shown by a secretary (my informant) the minutes of the previous day’s meeting. He perused them distantly like a bill of fare, and then inquired: ‘Does this purport to be what I said yesterday?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ said the secretary, ‘it is an exact draft, taken down as you spoke.’ ‘Well,’ said Balfour upon some further inspection of the document, ‘I wish it to be understood clearly that these words I appear to have used do not represent the opinion of His Majesty’s Government.’ Then, after a pause, as he dropped the minutes indifferently beside him, he added: ‘Nor, indeed, do they represent my own.’

Karl Sabbagh
Newbold on Stour, Warwickshire

Arise, Sir Joh

Theo Tait makes a small but significant error in his review of Peter Carey’s His Illegal Self (LRB, 6 March). Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the premier, not the governor, of Queensland. He was elected (though by a minority of voters, thanks to the gerrymander); governors are appointed, on the advice of the government, by Australia’s head of state, the queen. As the premier, Sir Joh was at liberty to have himself knighted.

Gordon Kerry
Sandy Creek, Victoria

Language of Occupation

Yonatan Mendel translates the verb keter as ‘crowning’ (LRB, 6 March). Keter does mean ‘crown’, but the root verb ktr means ‘circle’, and the verb used in the military sense (lekhater) means ‘to encircle’, not ‘to crown’ (which would be lehakhtir).

Yael Lotan
Givatayim, Israel

Doomed Alliance

James Morone asserts that William Jennings Bryan’s speech at the 1896 Democratic Convention was the ‘high-water moment’ of American populism (LRB, 21 February). On the contrary, his speech signalled the movement’s death. Bryan was only very briefly a Populist and his one great triumph was to lead the Populists into the Democratic Party – the graveyard of American rebellions. Hardly a high point.

With a constituency of small farmers and labourers in the West, the People’s Party had been founded – as a third way – in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1892. Its candidate for president, James B. Weaver, received more than one million votes in that year’s election. The two great tests for Populism were to find common cause with labour in the growing cities and to win over the farmers and sharecroppers of the South. In the cities the alliance with labour failed to materialise, and in the South, as Morone shows, race was the stumbling block. He doesn’t mention the prelude to failure: the heroic battle to unite black and white farmers and sharecroppers against a land-owning white oligarchy. This doomed alliance was killed by the Democratic Party, the party of white supremacy in the South. When the Populist candidate for governor of Louisiana denounced lynching in 1896, 21 lynchings in Louisiana followed that year, a fifth of the total for the US. The defeat of Populism was a key step in the final victory of Jim Crow. Bryan himself steadfastly refused to distance himself from his segregationist supporters.

Cal Winslow
Mendocino, California

Tarradiddles

Christopher Campbell-Howes discusses Schumann’s musical puns (Letters, 20 March). Apart from the ‘sphinx’ letters in Carnaval, probably the best known is the late F-A-E Violin Sonata composed for Joachim, a collaboration between Schumann, the young Brahms and Schumann’s friend and colleague Albert Dietrich. Each movement of the sonata begins with the musical notes signifying Joachim’s ‘motto’: Frei aber einsam (‘free but lonely’). Brahms joked that his own motto was Frei aber froh – ‘free but happy’. Schumann’s two movements were among his last compositions. Two years earlier, in 1851, he had composed a violin sonata for his friend Ferdinand David which punned on the musical letters in ‘David’. Following hints in Schumann’s letters to Clara, Eric Sams proposed the existence of an astonishing number of musical ‘codes’ in the songs, most of them signifying Clara’s name in five notes weaving about C or A, in keys associated with her (C major, C minor, A minor), and in the falling fourth or fifth which ‘says’ or sings ‘Cla-ra’. Mendelssohn used this theme (D falling to A) to open the collection of Songs without Words that he dedicated to Clara in 1844, and Brahms echoed Schumann’s ‘Clara’ themes in the Andante and Intermezzo (Rückblick) of his F minor Piano Sonata, with an inscription describing two loving hearts musically in double stops.

Judith Chernaik
London NW3

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.