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. 33 No. 13 · 30 June 2011

Search by issue:

The Goodwin and Giggs Show

Stephen Sedley might have asked himself whether it wasn’t in Parliament that the right calls were made in the Goodwin and Giggs cases, not among the judiciary (LRB, 16 June). We now know that Goodwin told the court he was primarily concerned with damage to his business reputation if it emerged that he had conducted an affair with a senior colleague that he hadn’t disclosed to his board or his chairman. This potential breach of RBS governance rules did not merit the benefits of a privacy injunction, let alone a super-injunction. The present situation – in which the woman’s identity is concealed but not Goodwin’s, and the secrecy relating to the injunction itself has been removed – is the correct outcome, but one only arrived at after the use (or abuse, in Sedley’s view) of parliamentary privilege. If the original decision in the Goodwin case had simply followed the precedent set by Justice Tugendhat when he discontinued John Terry’s privacy injunction once he had concluded that its main purpose was to protect the footballer’s image rights (and the attendant income) rather than his private family life, there would have been no need for parliamentarians to become involved.

David Elstein
London SW15

How is anarchy possible?

As John Hall remarks in his intellectual biography of Ernest Gellner, I was a student of Gellner’s at the LSE in the late 1960s-early 1970s, and came to know him quite well (LRB, 2 June). My PhD thesis in social anthropology was based on fieldwork in north-east Morocco. Lawrence Rosen’s suggestion that Gellner sought out his fieldwork site in the Moroccan High Atlas in order to pursue the issue of ‘how is anarchy possible’ puts the cart before the horse (Letters, 16 June). Long before he developed his ideas about segmentation and tribal politics, Gellner was captivated not only by the mountains but also by ‘the Berber villages of the central Atlas, each building clinging to the next, the style wholly homogeneous, the totality crying out that this was a Gemeinschaft’. He knew at once that he ‘wanted desperately to know, as far as an outsider ever could, what it was like inside’ (his italics). He sought, as a self-avowed ‘urban, cerebral, mobile, rootless and uneasy intellectual’, to enter into a ‘community’. This came first; the notion that the social and political life of these Berber communities was based on a measure of order and trust, which Gellner identified in terms of a combination of segmentation and rule by saints, came later, during the fieldwork itself and as a result, in part, of his reading of Evans-Pritchard’s studies of the Nuer of Sudan and the Sanussi of Cyrenaica.

David Seddon
Brockdish, Norfolk

Although I did not know Ernest Gellner well, I was taken aback by Stefan Collini’s reference to his ‘working hours’. I’m not sure he ever kept such hours. The feelings he had about the ‘Narodniks of North Oxford’ he had in only slightly milder form about many social scientists too. That is, you could watch them go to work, do their sociology or economics or anthropology or comparative history and then come back home; and that, of course, was where the things that mattered were: wife, children, mortgage, car, social status and lifestyle. It is very easy for any academic after a while to feel that his subject is a set of intellectual games, gambits and petty politics that he plays before getting back to the real world. Gellner suspected this was how the comfortable gentlemen of Oxford philosophy lived, but he had the same suspicion about many others. He generated, to a degree unequalled by any other social scientist I have met, a feeling of ‘look, what we are doing is trying to figure out how the modern world works and this is a deadly serious task, in fact it is the most serious thing there is.’ He was never really off duty. Collini sounds a little too English to feel quite comfortable with that Germanic intensity and seriousness.

R.W. Johnson
Cape Town

My father, Ray Pahl, an emeritus professor of sociology at Essex, and a friend of Ernest Gellner’s in the 1960s, told me – this was my last conversation with him: he died at the beginning of this month – that the reason Gellner went to the Atlas Mountains to do his research was not his romantic affinity with mountains, as Collini suggests; instead, it was on the suggestion of his doctoral supervisor, Paul Stirling, whose seminal book, Turkish Village, advocated fieldwork conducted at close quarters with a particular social group.

My father was planning a longer letter to the LRB before he died. In it, he would no doubt have mentioned that he introduced Gellner to George Soros, who funded many intellectuals working in Eastern Europe at the time. Soros subsequently fell out with my father, but not with Gellner. ‘You shafted me not in the back, but in the stomach,’ my father joked to Gellner some time later.

Kate Pahl
University of Sheffield

In Love with a Fairy

John Pemble invites us to find ‘remarkable’ Lytton Strachey’s admiration for W.S. Gilbert, ‘the most eminently Victorian of them all’, after he saw a production of Iolanthe in 1907 (LRB, 16 June). ‘It’s impossible to believe that a lord chancellor in love with a fairy can be anything but ridiculous,’ Strachey wrote that year to Leonard Woolf in a letter quoted by Pemble, ‘but one goes, and when the moment comes, it’s simply great.’ But Strachey was not praising Gilbert or even Sullivan. He was singling out for praise an actor who played the lord chancellor in that production, Charles Herbert Workman – a late Victorian certainly, but not so very eminent.

Michael Holroyd
London W10

Poor with Words

Tim Parks criticises Graham Swift for letting characters in his new novel, Wish You Were Here, use words such as ‘inducement’, even though they are meant to be ‘poor with words’ (LRB, 2 June). Parks goes on to wonder whether Swift ‘can only write about his own mindset if he imagines it in these “ordinary" folk, people as different from himself as possible, even at the risk of the story’s not seeming entirely authentic?’ This could be a useful guess about Swift’s personal pathology, but I’m not sure it supplies us with a good rule for how novelists should treat their ‘ordinary’ characters. Swift would hardly be alone in giving his characters inner monologues they would find difficult to express in reality. Reading Philip Hensher’s The Northern Clemency recently, I’ve been struck by the highly sophisticated thoughts of its children, housewives and suburban adulterers, many of these thoughts couched in language that the narrator himself might use. The same could be said of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, a saga of provincial family angst that has plenty in common with The Northern Clemency.

To allow yourself a wider vocabulary than your characters, even as you grant the reader access to their interior lives, is not to disrespect their authenticity; it is simply to acknowledge a complexity of thought that outstrips the character’s eloquence. We all have notions and feelings that we can’t express. Part of what a good novelist does is to bring these to the surface and give form to what remains outside consciousness for the vast majority of people.

Dai George
Harrow, Middlesex

God and Human Behaviour

‘We find that people who have religious convictions are on the whole morally worse than people who lack them,’ Galen Strawson writes in the LRB of 2 June. I thought this was fairly startling and looked forward to seeing letters in the next issue challenging Strawson and asking for some evidence. But no: for readers of the LRB, Professor Strawson’s view must be fairly uncontroversial, because there were no letters on the subject in the following issue. By a happy coincidence, I have been sent a complimentary copy of the New Statesman in which Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi, quotes some American research which seems to show that religious people – defined as those who regularly attend a place of worship – are more likely to behave in virtuous ways than non-religious people. What, I wonder, would constitute evidence one way or the other? Some parts of Galen Strawson’s review seem to suggest that religious belief on the part of educated people is in itself evidence of moral deficiency. That looks suspiciously like rigging the scales.

Anthony Buckley
City College Coventry

Diehards

Jackson Lears asserts that 50,000 civilians were killed during the American Civil War, and that these casualties were deliberately inflicted (LRB, 19 May). The figure originated with James McPherson, who in a footnote in his Battle Cry of Freedom suggested that ‘a fair estimate of war-related civilian deaths might total 50,000.’ Non-combatant casualties were not inflicted as a result of policy; rather, civilians died from malnutrition, disease and exposure. Two-thirds of the soldiers who died in the Civil War also died from these causes rather than on the battlefield; that some indeterminate number of civilians perished in the same way is not surprising. The US issued emergency rations to hundreds of thousands of Southern civilians, black and white, not only during the war but after it.

Lincoln required ‘unconditional surrender’ only in the sense of demanding the restoration of the Union. Both sides recognised that compromise on this issue was impossible. Lincoln insisted on emancipation only when it became a military necessity, and even at the very end of the war advocated compensating slaveholders.

Despite what Lears and many others claim, the North did not valorise wage labour as an ideal, or even consider it a form of freedom. Lincoln spoke for everyone when he equated freedom with the ownership of productive property. People who remained hired labourers for life did so ‘because of either a dependent nature which prefers it, or improvidence, folly or singular misfortune’. African Americans were denied land not on the basis of any idealisation of wage labour but because of racism.

Nor was Union policy vengeful or vindictive. The defeated Confederates were treated with unprecedented leniency: they were quickly restored to their full civil and political rights, and admitted to both Houses of Congress. Lincoln’s pledge of ‘malice toward none, with charity for all’ was meant exclusively for the white Southerners, not for their human chattels; one cannot easily compromise between a group of people willing to kill in defence of slavery, and slaves pining for freedom.

When Lears asserts that only a few diehard neo-Confederates claim that the war was over states’ rights rather than slavery, he should mention that tens of millions of white Americans are today proud Confederate loyalists. The Republican Party is dominated by these zealots. The Republican governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has claimed that his state retains the right of secession. And Alabama has just enacted a law requiring that all immigrants carry papers documenting their legal status at all times, thus re-establishing the pass system formerly imposed on slaves and free blacks, which today’s Confederate states would reinstate if they could.

Clifton Hawkins
Berkeley, California

XX/XY

To give further credence to Hilary and Steven Rose’s discussion of the arbitrariness of gender construction, the idea that ‘young boys should be able to urinate standing up’ is only appropriate in certain parts of the world (LRB, 28 April). When the Bedu with Thesiger in Oman had seen a British soldier urinating, the next day the men asked Thesiger ‘what physical deformity he suffered from which prevented him from squatting’.

Marielle Risse
Dhofar University, Oman

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.