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. 32 No. 21 · 4 November 2010

Search by issue:

Narco Bourgeoisie

Though Ben Ehrenreich gives a solid summing up of the current state of play in the war between the Mexican drug cartels, he doesn’t quite capture the extent to which narco culture has confused class dynamics in the country (LRB, 21 October). The cartels are able to sustain themselves because options for Mexican farmers, since Nafta, are scarce: many really do have no choice but to sign up to the drug industry, with the result that now 97 per cent of inhabitants of the region round Badiraguato are involved on some level. But it’s not just the poor who are susceptible to being lured into the world of drug trafficking. Yudit del Rincón, a congresswoman and vocal critic of Calderón’s drug policies, has expressed concern that her teenage sons – born into comfortable lives in the suburbs, future members of the political class – ape the behaviour of drug lords, listen to their music, wear gold chains and so on. No wonder, when the singers of narcocorridos, songs celebrating the escapades of key figures in the drug trade, are among Mexico’s most popular performers: the group K-Paz De La Sierra, for instance, whose lead singer was assassinated by cartel members in 2007, sold thousands of records, would command $100,000 a show, and were rewarded with two Grammys. In a country riven with corruption, this counts as a serious problem: Mexico’s middle classes aren’t just dazzled by the narcos, they’re being groomed to support them.

José de Pietro
London N7

What has evil to do with kitsch?

I am interested in the subject addressed in Glen Newey’s review of Terry Eagleton’s On Evil (LRB, 23 September). Among the reasons for this are my past exposure to evil: as a lead negotiator on the Cambodian Peace Agreement, thus dealing with the Khmer Rouge; and as executive chairman of the UN Special Commission to disarm Iraq, thus dealing with the Saddam regime. I am shocked that you allowed Newey’s piece to go unscathed – in particular its appallingly pretentious penultimate paragraph. Truly, why did you let through such sentences as ‘Evil could be seen figuratively as an intolerance of kitsch’? Mr Newey is possibly a kitsch representation of an academic, but sadly not funny, when dealing with such a serious subject.

Richard Butler
New York

Glen Newey writes: Of course one can say that the enormity of acts like those of the Khmers or Saddam overwhelms any attempt to make sense of them. In line with that claim, talk about the mindset of evildoers, as I suggested, seems to require double vision about whether or not they belong to the moral community. If so, it is forlorn to try to pin down a specific psychology of evil, such as the nihilistic one that Terry Eagleton highlights in On Evil. Some, like sadists, want to seize value rather than annihilate it. Appropriators and annihilators share the psychic basis of envy, the sense that the self is threatened because value lies outside it, and must therefore be introjected or destroyed. But if attitudes to evil are double-minded, and so literally incoherent, talk about its ‘psychology’ can only be taken metaphorically. My suggestion that it be seen as intolerance of kitsch was meant not as a joke but as a metaphorical account of it. Kitsch objects shut out viewers from value, reducing them to voyeurs. That provokes the urge to reassert the self by reappropriating or destroying value. Sadists, again, try to solve the problem of envy by depriving the other of value, and reclaim value for themselves in so doing. However, if evil-doing is nobody’s state of mind, such descriptions cannot be literally true. Doubtless that is frustrating for moralists, but the philosophical problem goes as far back as Plato.


Colin Kidd, in his essay on Adam Smith, notes that in the last decade there have been a number of attempts by liberal thinkers to ‘liberate him from the monopolistic embrace of conservatism and big business’ (LRB, 7 October). But Smith was hardly in need of such liberation: he was rescued some 40 years ago by Marxist thinkers of the Braudelian ‘world systems’ school. Their account of the origins of capitalism was an explicit attempt to fuse Marx’s ideas on modes of production and Smith’s insights into the workings of markets and trade. Not for nothing did Robert Brenner, in a 1977 critique of this school in New Left Review, refer to their arguments as ‘Neo-Smithian Marxism’.

Gavin Townsend

Get a real degree

Mark McGurl, quoted by Elif Batuman, argues that the ‘ultimate commitment’ of the discipline of creative writing ‘is not to knowledge but to what Donald Barthelme called “Not-Knowing"’ (LRB, 23 September). If this is McGurl’s view, it runs counter to the spirit of an exchange recorded by John Barth in his introduction to Not-Knowing, a posthumous collection of Barthelme’s essays and interviews, in which Barthelme, asked by a student how to become a better writer, suggests reading the entire history of philosophy ‘from the Presocratics up through last semester’. The student worriedly replies that Barth has already advised his class to read all of literature, ‘from Gilgamesh up through last semester’.

‘That too,’ Barthelme agrees, and adds: ‘You’re probably wasting your time on eating and sleeping. Cease that, and read all of philosophy and all of literature. Also art. Plus politics and a few other things. The history of everything.’ Barthelme’s fiction presumed an encyclopedic historical consciousness and proceeded from, as he put it elsewhere, the effort ‘to attain a fresh mode of cognition’. His fiction, with its multiple references and allusions to the histories of literature, art, philosophy, architecture and politics, certainly bears the traces of his own study of the history of everything, as well as a melancholy recognition of how useful that study might ultimately prove to be; asked why he wrote the way he did, he liked to reply: ‘Because Samuel Beckett already writes the way he does.’

Alex Johnston

Just Misbehaving

As Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen points out, bipolar disorder was thought until recently to afflict perhaps 1 per cent of the adult population (LRB, 7 October). It is also true that, over the last decade and a half, it has come to enjoy such popularity, in one or another of the fast-growing number of ‘variants’, that no one feeling a bit better today than yesterday can hope to avoid the diagnosis. Certainly, Big Pharma’s preoccupation with the ‘bottom line’ is one of the factors behind what some psychiatrists, myself included, consider a misuse of second generation anti-psychotic medications as ‘mood stabilisers’ to treat so-called bipolar disorder. However, at least two other aspects of the situation should be considered.

First, we psychiatrists are, for the most part, fond of thinking ourselves members of an enlightened and entitled fraternity, a virtual priesthood of the sensitive. Consequently, we tend to dismiss the six most important words in the diagnostic manual: ‘not better explained by another diagnosis’. The unruly child, the child who hits or bites others, the child who breaks things or who ‘curses viciously in anger’, is likely to be called almost anything in an attempt to avoid saying that he has a ‘conduct disorder’. To diagnose a child with bipolar disorder is, in other words, to say that he is unfortunate rather than odious. Child psychiatrists who go along with this tend not to linger over the inconvenient fact that historically the diagnosis has been applied only to adults.

Second, bipolar disorder, in at least one of its many ‘variants’, is very responsive to traditional and relatively cheap treatment. Consequently, medical insurers have welcomed the diagnosis and seldom denied authorisation for the treatment regimens proposed by psychiatrists. As almost anything can be opportunistically miscast as a sign or a symptom of bipolar disorder, it ought not to be much of a surprise that the diagnosis came quickly to enjoy ‘most favoured’ status when applied to patients of any age.

Alan Arikian
Mechanicsville, Virginia

Remember the referendum?

Gordon Edwards reminds Bruce Ackerman of the real aim of the 1975 referendum (Letters, 21 October). James Cameron had a wonderful way of summarising his opinion that it was neither important nor unimportant, but more like being asked ‘whether one wanted one’s appendix put back’. I think he meant that for reasons of comfort, convenience and minimal future medical intervention we had to vote in favour of staying in.

Lawrence Hanlon

The Highest Fruit

Boleslaw Bierut, who in Slavoj Žižek’s account appears to have died as Khrushchev was making his speech at the 20th Party Congress, in fact died on 12 March 1956, a full two weeks after Khrushchev’s turnaround, and much speculation surrounds the cause of his death (LRB, 21 October).

More important, Alexander Fadeyev shot himself on 13 May 1956, more than two months (not ‘a few days’) later. Nor is Fadeyev’s case quite that of a ‘brutal manipulator’ who lost whatever faith he had in the objective value of the regime. As it happens, authentic manipulators thrived in the heyday of Khrushchev’s ‘cult of personality’ because they knew how to turn the new rhetoric to their advantage. In contrast, Fadeyev’s final letter to the Central Committee spells out the reason he took his life: ‘Literature, this highest fruit of the new regime, has been humiliated, oppressed, exterminated. The self-satisfaction of the Leninist neophytes … earned them a complete lack of trust on my part. The things you can expect from them are much worse than from the satrap Stalin.’ The letter was published in 1990 in the 15th issue of a magazine whose name may strike many in today’s Russia as old hat – Glasnost.

Oleg Gelikman
Laguna Niguel, California

What about Edith?

Colin Galloway points out, as an example of an English king who married someone other than a woman from France ‘or one or other of those not quite so French areas such as Flanders’, that Henry I married Edith, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland (Letters, 21 October). So he did, just as Edward I married Eleanor of Castile, or Richard II Anne of Bohemia. But all of them also married women from France or adjacent areas: in the case of Henry I, Adeliza of Louvain.

Helen Cooper


Tom Paulin writes that Larkin continued to use Yeatsian compound adjectives despite his rejection of Yeats in favour of Hardy (LRB, 21 October). He may also have borrowed ‘blent’ from Yeats. The second verse of ‘Among School Children’ has ‘it seemed that our two natures blent/Into a sphere from youthful sympathy.’

Robert Jones

Memories of Frank Kermode

I am not at all surprised to learn that Frank Kermode kept a cannabis plant on his desk in 1977 (Letters, 7 October). By all accounts, trying to deal with the English faculty board in Cambridge at that time would have sent any sane man potty.

Roger Tingle
Sauternes, France

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.