In the latest issue:

Robespierre’s Chamber Pot

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

Two PoemsDavid Craig

Human versus Robot

It keeps on doing its best,
That reddish thing inside me
Pumping-pumping against
The obstinate, tortuous fankle
Of pulpy valves and tubeworms.

Are they up to it any more –
Thin-skinned, semi-elastic,
A labyrinth of Victorian sewers,
A sort of organic circuit board
That badly needs rewiring?

Titanium would do better,
A tiny refined-alloy sleeve
Inserted deep in the pulsing darkness.
It might be still better if they invented
In some far century to come
An entire person of titanium.

Watching the Angiogram

A creature struggles under ice,
Black spider twitching, bunching
Its spiny legs while shoals of its young
Come clustering round it, spawned
From its pulsating womb, or aliens
Crowding at us under the ice
Which is quaking beat-beat-beat,
Perfectly regular, the tissue
Of my X-rayed heart, that wounded muscle,
As the dye swarms through the dendron
Of its multiple branchings,
Flushes a narrowed valve, and keeps on trying
To make its umpteenth comeback.

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