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. 39 No. 10 · 18 May 2017

Search by issue:

Somerdale to Skarbimierz

The weasel phrase in Adrian Bowyer’s response to James Meek’s essay on Cadbury’s move to Poland is ‘just might’, as in ‘legislative solutions … are unlikely to produce significant change, but a popular technological solution just might’ (Letters, 4 May). It’s a phrase used so frequently by technical boosterists that it is worth thinking through its implications.

First, it suggests that trying to solve social problems through technological innovation can be done at such low cost and with so little risk that even a remote chance of success is worth striving for. Second, it represents that risk solely in terms of success or failure of the technology in effecting the desired change: the idea that failure (or, indeed, success) might have unpredictable deleterious effects is ignored. Third, it excludes from consideration any new social and political contexts which may arise from the introduction of technology. Finally, it sets up an opposition between technological innovation, which is putatively low-cost and low-risk, and properly social or political changes, which are presented as laborious and ineffective. Given the choice, who wouldn’t plump for the promise of technology?

The problem is that technological changes have unforeseen, sometimes profoundly negative social and political consequences, often because of the ways in which they intersect with social and political issues. The consequences of increasing automation in manufacturing are an obvious example. Another is the introduction of the world wide web, which is cited by Bowyer as an incontrovertible good, but which has brought about far-reaching changes in our relations with each other whose effects we have as yet only begun to discern.

Ignoring the social consequences of technical innovation while implicitly assuming that its effects can only ever be benign, Bowyer is free to muse on a sort of William Morris future in which happy individual consumers produce from their allotments a wealth as indeterminate as it is deracinated. As usual with technological proposals, social bonds are regarded as retrograde and to be destroyed wherever possible.

Michael Richards
London N5

Adrian Bowyer is to be congratulated on his invention of the self-replicating 3D printer RepRap, and also for the generosity of its open-source licensing, which tackles one of the chief blocks to universal access to production: the monopoly over intellectual property rights. He is, though, too sanguine about the capacity of this technology to bring about a situation in which all a producer will have to pay is ‘the cost of access to an allotment’. As the current housing crisis shows, if all the land is owned by just some of the people, they will be in a position to charge as much rent as its users can pay. Ownership of land in perpetuity, without concomitant responsibilities and duties, is a state-created right. If inequality is to be reduced, this property-right must be transformed into a use-right, for which the steward of the land would pay rent to the community. Unless landowners were suddenly to start behaving with the same generosity as the open source movement, this would require political action not technological change.

Julian Pratt
Brixham, Devon

Thank you, James Meek; after 75 years you have cured me of Cadbury’s, once and for all.

Peter Greenhill
Claremont, Ontario

Chomsky Says

Jackson Lears writes that, on the Chomskyan view, evidence for innateness is the ease with which children ‘learn’ their first language, contrasted with the difficulty adults face in ‘acquiring’ a second one (LRB, 4 May). He is perhaps using these terms interchangeably, but for Chomsky it is children who ‘acquire’ their first language and adults who ‘learn’ a second. In the Chomskyan worldview, language acquisition is rooted in biology whereas language learning is not.

Didier Goyvaerts
Brasschaat, Belgium

Look around

As a former student of R.W. Johnson’s and lifelong admirer of his work, including in the LRB, I appreciated Jeremy Harding’s noting the ‘commendable’ features of Johnson’s life and works, including his giving up a top position at Oxford to go home to South Africa and try to make a difference (LRB, 4 May). But much of the review was quite unfair, and Johnson deserves better – especially in the LRB. For example, Johnson didn’t write (and doesn’t believe) that Mandela was ‘pernicious’ or a ‘terrorist’. That’s too serious a charge to allow past an editor’s pencil. And noting ties between the ANC and the South African Communist Party hardly makes one a racist, or Mandela less an inspiration. Yes, Johnson is critical of the ANC in Mandela’s wake and worried for South Africa’s future. But look around; who wouldn’t be?

Eric Redman
Seattle

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The rise of mass incarceration in the US in the early 1970s was ‘fuelled’, Adam Shatz writes, ‘by white fear of black crime’ (LRB, 4 May). ‘But the fear of crime wasn’t confined to whites,’ he continues. ‘Blacks in inner cities had far more reason to be afraid: they lived in poor areas where crime was more widespread, and where the police were often absent.’ This ‘absence’ can be seen as a direct response by the state to episodes of working-class revolt. The ghetto uprisings of the 1960s and 1970s in the US were followed by heroin and crack epidemics; the same pattern occurred in Northern Ireland, and after the Brixton, Liverpool and Handsworth riots of 1981. A strategic decision was taken not to police these areas. A counter-economy of drug distribution was allowed to take root, and the conditions for revolt were undermined by addiction and anti-social behaviour and criminalisation. It was decided to allow communities to be given over to drug addiction as a means to peace and quiet. In Ireland, groups like Direct Action against Drugs and Republican Action against Drugs were criminalised by the state more determinedly than the dealers they sought to challenge. At the same time, such anti-drugs organisations failed to recognise that harassment of street dealers was no more than an attempt to put the genie back into the bottle: what was required was massive funding for rehabilitation and decriminalisation of drugs.

Nick Moss
London NW10

Hitler’s Shakespeare

Readers interested in the connections between Shakespeare and fascism, discussed in Richard Wilson’s illuminating piece, may have come across Hirt’s Englandkundliches Lesebuch für die Oberstufe an Oberschulen, an English-language textbook published in Germany in 1942 and intended to introduce German schoolchildren to the culture over which it was assumed they would soon rule (LRB, 4 May). Hirt’s Englandkundliches Lesebuch (‘English Studies Reader’) had a picture of Stratford-upon-Avon on its cover and celebrated Shakespeare’s poetry along with other aspects of English culture. Many English people, the book claims, are secretly fascists; what a shame their country has been taken over by the Jews.

Hitler’s enthusiasm for Shakespeare is well known (he was the only enemy playwright not proscribed by the Nazi regime), but unlike Chesterton and his fellow fascists in the Shakespeare Club, whose love of Timon of Athens is scrutinised by Wilson, Hitler found in Coriolanus a truer reflection of his worldview. German school textbooks contained passages pointing out the resemblance between the Führer and the play’s protagonist and after the war the American occupation forces banned performances of it.

Emily Short
Durham

Women in Power

Alex Bellamy discusses the low correlation between women’s socio-economic development and the numbers of women in national parliaments (Letters, 20 April). I was confused by the conclusion of the letter as it appeared on the page: ‘What isn’t clear is what Beard sees as the purpose of women having greater power.’ I assume the implication is that women’s power is ineffective. This ignores the wider picture that in the UK it is only 98 years since Nancy Astor took up her seat: that’s three or four generations in which we expect those who have followed her to have effected a transformation.

Rather than conclude that the 22.5 per cent of MPs who are women – that’s the world average – have shown that an entire gender is incompetent, it would be better to review the data once, say, that average rises to at least 50 per cent. Then you could also see what impact women’s representation has had on, say, climate change, crime or war. The United Nations, whose report Bellamy is drawing on, itself still hasn’t achieved gender parity.

The other possible inference to be drawn from the statistics is that effective power lies elsewhere, in which case Bellamy’s final sentence should have read ‘greater power within the national legislature’. Mary Beard, in the article to which Bellamy is responding, is quite clear that the ‘purpose’ of women having greater power – should we need to justify it to men, which we don’t – is to redress an injustice and broaden society’s expertise.

Libby Ruffle
Woodbridge, Suffolk

The Last London

A footnote to the debate on involuntary baptism in the Regent’s Canal (Letters, 4 May). I was excited to discover that one of the more challenging passages for cyclists, the blind sweep under Mare Street Bridge, had been improved by the provision of ‘community’ bells, to be pinged by pedestrians. make yourself heard. Solid brackets on both approaches supported domed clangers. The instinct for self-preservation overrode the fear of disturbing rough sleepers on their ratty ledge. Or breakfasting flat-dwellers beside their glass-enclosed pool. Before anyone could actually push through the peloton to sound a confident warning both bells were stolen.

Iain Sinclair
London E8

Iain Sinclair responds to those (women, presumably) who ‘challenge’ him on the inadequate ‘headcount of female characters (or influences)’ in his writing, which he then defensively enumerates (Letters, 4 May). He describes the tone of the challenge as ‘fierce in the conviction of its own entitlement and originality’. His own tone suggests a man tired of having to repeat himself to a child, as he makes clear that the challenge is not in fact original but invariable. Sinclair won’t himself have felt the exasperation of those who continue to have to make claims for their own representation – whether addressed to him, to the LRB (Sarah Walker’s letter in the Letters, 16 March), or to a society that permits the failures of representation evident in the work of both. The ‘conviction’ of such challenges is not to do with originality. That they still need to be repeated is precisely part of their urgency.

Mary Hannity
London SE15

What’s Left?

I have been slow to acknowledge Sheila Fitzpatrick’s kind remarks about my edited volume Historically Inevitable?, on the Russian Revolution (LRB, 30 March). But I was brought up short by her reference to my ‘free-market triumphalism’ over the demise of communism. Would she similarly accuse me of ‘round earth triumphalism’ over the lack of people who now believe that our planet is flat?

Tony Brenton
Cambridge

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.