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. 34 No. 6 · 22 March 2012

Search by issue:

Homer Inc

Edward Luttwak begins his brilliant essay on Homer with the mistaken premise that the Iliad has always been preferred to the Odyssey, ‘from antiquity and the Byzantine millennium to the Terminal 2 bookshop’ at San Francisco airport (LRB, 23 February). The preference for the Iliad, in English translation at least, ended rather before Luttwak’s visit to San Francisco earlier this year. As I point out in my prefatory essay to the forthcoming catalogue of the Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana to be published by the University of Chicago Library,

this preference continued to be reflected, in English at least, until the end of World War One. Not surprisingly, by the November armistice, the Western romantic notion of war, first expressed in Homer’s portrayal of aristocratic warriors engaged in glorious combat, was utterly shattered. On the battlefields of France and Belgium the sword and spear were superseded by a chilling impersonal mix of wire, gas and artillery. The tactics of modern warfare could no longer accommodate Homeric models. Reflecting this cultural turnabout, the line of translations reveals that during the three centuries between Chapman’s version and the November armistice, the Iliad was fully translated into English 38 times, compared with just 26 versions of the Odyssey. In the nine decades after 1918, only 16 complete Iliads appeared, compared to 25 Odysseys. Thus it seems to have taken almost three thousand years for the story of Odysseus’ long and difficult journey home to finally surpass, in general popularity at least, Homer’s pounding tale of war.

Michael Lang
Bethesda, Maryland

Although Edward Luttwak says ‘the Iliad can now be treated as a historical source, if only because of its many and surprisingly precise geographical references,’ there is a notable geographical inconsistency in Book One which should not be passed over. Achilles, arguing with Agamemnon, emphasises that the Trojans never did him damage because they never attacked his native land of Phthia: indeed how could they have, seeing the ‘endless miles that lie between us … shadowy mountain ranges, seas that surge and thunder?’ (I’m quoting from Robert Fagles’s translation.) The problem is that Phthia is fairly close to Homer’s Troy in the Hisarlik, about two hundred miles across the northern Aegean, at most two days’ sail, and much closer than just about all the other Achaean combatants.

Frank Tangherlini
San Diego, California

There were ten translations of the Iliad, Edward Luttwak writes: ‘one succinct W.H.D. Rouse prose translation and one Robert Graves, in prose and song, both in paperback; two blank verse Robert Fagles in solid covers; one rhythmic Richmond Lattimore … and three hardback copies of the new Stephen Mitchell translation’. I see one problem straightaway: Luttwak counts as ‘translations’ individual copies of the book; Fagles hasn’t done two separate blank verse translations of the Iliad. That means that there are five translators present in the well-stocked Terminal 2 bookshop. So he must be adding up copies of the books, calling each copy a ‘translation’. But that adds up to eight enumerated copies, not ten.

Robert Barrett
Santa Monica, California

Just as Close

Helen Deutsch’s statement that ‘Boswell was left nothing’ in Samuel Johnson’s will, although factually correct, is somewhat misleading in seeming to imply that Boswell was less intimate with Johnson than was Sir John Hawkins, who served as one of Johnson’s executors (LRB, 9 February). Boswell did feel anxious about his omission from Johnson’s will, as he writes in his journal for 28 December 1784 (‘I was a little uneasy that I was not mentioned in his will amongst other friends who had books left them “as a token of remembrance"’), but he consoled himself with the thought that he ‘had several books in a present from him, and many more valuable tokens’, among them, according to Irma Lustig and Frederick Pottle in Boswell: The Applause of the Jury, 1782-85, ‘a quantity of the original copy of the Lives of the Poets’. Lustig and Pottle continue: ‘In the Life ofJohnson Boswell pointed out that such intimate friends as Dr Adams, Dr Taylor, Charles Burney and Edmund Hector were also omitted from the codicil in which the small memorials were listed. According to John Hoole, who was present and recording the major provisions of the will, Johnson dictated them to Sir John Hawkins, under pressure from Hawkins, when he was suffering so acutely from asthma that he could scarcely speak.’

Boswell’s omission was surely the result not of any lack of affection on Johnson’s part but of the mental agitation of a dying man.

Rachel Careau
Hudson, New York

An Allegory

The eucalyptus tree at the end of my garden has four main upright members of varying thickness. Buds regularly appear on each, facing all directions, but only those facing away from the centre ever develop into branches. The others die off, being redundant. A series of violent storms in recent years has caused the whole tree to lean to the right, making it dangerous. Only the bole on the extreme left is truly upright. In order to prevent a catastrophe and defend the neighbouring apple tree and my greenhouse, I am going to have to cut away the majority of the material, leaving only the member on the extreme left and its leftward facing branches.

I fully expect it to grow new branches in other directions and become a beautiful, fully rounded organism again, albeit reduced in stature. But who knows how great it may become in the future?

Colin Kidd, please note (LRB, 8 March).

Lawrence Buckley
Crieff, Perthshire

Get out of the foothills

Ross McKibbin’s review of Mark McKenna’s life of Manning Clark doesn’t pick up on a huge lacuna in the new biography, which fails to discuss Clark’s extraordinary talents as a teacher (LRB, 23 February). The Clark known to those of us who were taught by him at the Australian National University is very different from the thin-skinned, jealous and ‘self-invented’ figure that McKenna presents.

Clark used to take us away with all his staff for weekends at his own expense to discuss the grand themes that concerned him and us; he invited us to dinner with luminaries of left and right, and encouraged us to ‘get out of the foothills and into the mountains’, no matter what our views. Certainly, he was mannered, romantic and a raconteur. And he was against the current of historical writing then and now. But ad hominem criticisms shouldn’t colour our assessment of his multi-volume history of Australia. Such idiosyncratic grand narratives were no more in vogue in the 1960s than they are today. He chose that form because he believed that what was being written as Australian history was deadening for both the intellect and the spirit. He had already shown in his early writings on convicts and in his documents that he could do what other historians did. By situating the story of the ‘discovery’ of Australia in the context of Pigafetta and Cheng Ho, he both opened up new horizons and gave us a sense of the limitations to a Rankean approach. Of course there were errors of detail. But then, as he reminded us, we would not still be reading Gibbon if errors of fact were of great concern.

Alastair Davidson
Ouroux en Morvan, France

Ours, or not?

An actor’s best lines are usually written by somebody else and Sean Penn may come to regret airing his lopsided views on the Falklands. But I was shocked by Jenny Diski’s unreconstructed Thatcher Basher rant on the subject (LRB, 8 March). I can never understand why people think there is anything embarrassingly imperialistic about the three thousand Falkland islanders wishing to remain British. There is nothing racist about their claim, and no disenfranchised, downtrodden Spanish-speaking mass yearning for enosis with the motherland.

Diski says that it is ludicrous for Britain to retain islands that are geographically much closer to Argentina than the United Kingdom. By the same yardstick the Turks have the right to continue to ignore UN resolutions and occupy over a third of Cyprus; Greece’s Dodecanese archipelago should also be Turkish and the Channel Islands should be surrendered to the French. They are certainly much closer to France than the Falklands are to Argentina.

Colin Smith
Nicosia, Cyprus

Shaving-Pot in Waiting

Rosemary Hill, in her review of Helen Rappaport’s Magnificent Obsession, refers to the ‘late and childless marriage of convenience between William and Adelaide’ (LRB, 23 February). It was not childless: two girls were born, but lived for only a short time, and there were several miscarriages. Also, to call Prince Albert’s father ‘Bavarian’ is eccentric in the extreme.

James Stevens Curl
Holywood, County Down

Reader, she married him (or did she?)

Charlotte Brontë didn’t straightforwardly kill off the fictional counterpart of her teacher, as Brian Bracken’s comment about the end of Villette suggests (LRB, 8 March). Brontë herself described the ending as a ‘little puzzle’. This seems to have been taken as an invitation to see through what should puzzle nobody. Villette has been said to be the earliest English novel which seriously contemplates lasting unhappiness for its heroine. It certainly contemplates it, but I don’t believe that’s the issue.

The book is wholly narrated by Lucy Snowe, but she isn’t a fully reliable narrator, burying material particulars behind calculated vagueness, before filling in the details much later. But neither conscious lying nor total concealment seems to be her way. Right up to the last pages, she writes with cool detached observation of everyone else’s passions, not speculating on what she does not actually observe, and seems consistently baffled by evidence that she has passions of her own. At the end of the book, she gives a breathless account of a shipwreck involving her fiancé, but stops short of actually reporting, or inventing, his death. Instead, the narrator declares that she will not do such violence to the reader’s feelings as to shut out the possibility of a happy ending, and so the book comes to a close. Plainly, in claiming to spare the reader’s feelings, Lucy is announcing an unhappy ending and demanding sympathy for her own unacknowledged pain in a characteristic passive-aggressive style. It is only a ‘puzzle’ for people who think of this as a gentle hint, and not as the literary equivalent of hitting the reader over the head with a frying-pan.

The account of the shipwreck is insistently presented as a work of her own imagination. This is the story of how a disastrous marriage came about. Reader, I married him – and so much the worse! It is Mme Paul Emanuel who kills off M. Paul Emanuel, if only in her imagination.

Bernard Leak
Lichfield, Staffordshire

Two Cheers for Nixon

Like Christian Lorentzen, I remember the first candidate I voted against: Richard Nixon, in 1972 (LRB, 23 February). It’s a sign of how far we have fallen from that low point that I may just reverse myself and write in Mr Nixon’s name this year. After all, he signed the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Social Security reforms that took dog food off seniors’ menus. It’s hard to imagine Barack Obama (for whom I voted in 2008) pushing very hard to enact similar legislation.

Now that I’ve begun to think along these lines, I can see that I would prefer Ol’ Creepy to any major party nominee for the last thirty years. The fact that he’s dead only adds to the allure; the dead can no longer bomb Hanoi.

Cliff Story
Portland, Oregon

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.