In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

‘Trick Mirror’

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myselfYsenda Maxtone Graham
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
Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September, 978 1 4721 2686 3
Show More
Show More

Rather​ D.J. Taylor than me, when it comes to untangling the unbelievably complicated and messy love lives of the so-called Horizon circle: the people who clustered adoringly around Cyril Connolly during his years as editor of the short-lived literary magazine (1939-50). Was Connolly still carrying on his affair with Diana Witherby when he started his affair with Lys (while still married to Jean and while Lys was still married to Ian)? Was Barbara Skelton having an affair with the Polish war artist Feliks Topolski when Peter Quennell came onto the scene, still married to his third wife, Glur, but making Topolski so jealous that the men resorted to fisticuffs over Barbara? What made Janetta, still married to Hugh Slater, fall in love with Kenneth Sinclair-Loutit, and would that relationship last?

Taylor wades deep into the cigaretty fug of that small literary circle awash with till-boredom-do-us-part love affairs conducted in rented accommodation. (The love affairs were usually shorter than the tenancies.) I had to take reams of notes to keep tabs on everyone’s current status. ‘J not actually married to K, has baby Nicolette, K going off to Balkans, now J falling in love with Robert Kee, who spends weekend at Ham Spray, F. Partridge approves,’ and so on. Sometimes it all seemed very distant and unimportant. And as for Frances Partridge’s approval, I think I would have gone a long way to avoid spending a weekend at Ham Spray (that Bloomsbury house near Hungerford where Lytton Strachey died and Dora Carrington killed herself) with Frances Partridge watching my every move and writing it all up in her diary, honed for publication.

Sometimes Taylor seems to feel as exasperated by the flighty characters he’s writing about as I do. Wryly, he describes the way the lives of the women in what he calls ‘wartime bohemia’ are ‘crammed with split-second desertions, lightning throwings-over, affections transferred from one man to another at the drop of a Cartier cigarette case’. He’s a thoughtful, witty writer, not a sycophant, and I take my hat off to him for bothering to get to the bottom of who fell briefly in love with whom and why. What binds his book together is his tenacious grappling with a phenomenon of womanhood between the 1930s and the 1950s: the so-called ‘Lost Girls’, a name coined (much later) by five-times-married Peter Quennell in his 1980 memoir, The Wanton Chase. The Lost Girls were the small group of love-seeking and work-seeking women floating around literary London in the late 1930s who were drawn into Connolly’s circle, and for whom happiness and stability seemed perpetually elusive. ‘What distinguished them – and used to touch my heart – was their air of waywardness and loneliness,’ Quennell said.

Their fragility comes across strongly in these pages; and it’s the undertone of sadness beneath all the sex and the partying that makes the book so poignant. Taylor is too truthful a writer to make crass generalisations but, in order to steer us towards the essence of the phenomenon he’s trying to put his finger on, he posits some general truths about the Lost Girls – the four main players being Lys, Janetta, Barbara and Sonia. Notably, he does not give their maiden names when he first introduces them: it’s as if they have been cast so far adrift from their roots by the time they arrive in this story that they’re already floating free, at the mercy of the prevailing winds of literary London. They are, in fact, Lys, née Dunlap, then Lubbock, then Connolly, then Koch; Sonia, née Brownell, then Orwell, then Pitt-Rivers; Janetta, née Woolley, then Slater, then Kee, then Jackson, then Parladé; and Barbara, née Skelton, then Connolly, then Weidenfeld, then Jackson.

There are several similarities between these four women: they were all born around the time of the First World War (Janetta, the youngest, was born in 1921); they all experienced some kind of personal trauma in their childhood that set them on a lifelong course of lostness; they had ‘pungent’ individual personalities; they all found themselves caught in Connolly’s slipstream, craving his attention and his praise; they were all highly intelligent, with little formal education; and they all had a taste for (to borrow the title of Diana Holderness’s recent memoir) ‘the Ritz and the Ditch’ – in other words, for the high life and the low life. They’d be dining at the Ritz (usually at someone else’s expense) and go straight from that luxury to spend a sleepless night in an unheated or rat-infested bedsit where (as Taylor sums it up) ‘boyfriend a is a peer of the realm while boyfriend b is a penniless painter.’ This, Taylor writes, was ‘the war-era bohemian life in which glamour and sophistication and something very close to poverty [were] inextricably combined’. All four at some point shared a bed with Lucian Freud; at least three of them slept with Arthur Koestler; and two of them married Derek Jackson, who had previously been married to Pamela Mitford and would eventually tot up six marriages.

Before I go on, I want to mention a paradox that I’d like someone to explain to me. On the one hand, divorce in the mid-20th century was still utterly taboo: some boarding schools wouldn’t even take pupils whose parents were divorced, and women who grew up in the 1940s and early 1950s have told me that they would have preferred to tell their friends that their father had died rather than admit their parents were divorced. On the other hand, the upper-class world was awash with shallow, short-lived marriages and the bewildered children of those marriages. It seems as if there was a small substratum of society that acted under different rules. I would have liked Taylor to analyse the taboo, or lack of taboo, about upper-class divorce and single parenting.

A quick run-through of the four chief Lost Girls. First, Lys. Her father emigrated to Wyoming after the Alaskan goldrush and married a Welsh schoolteacher. Lys was orphaned in her mid-teens and had to fend for herself. ‘Capable, industrious, and extremely good-looking’, she trained at Pitman’s secretarial college, modelled for Vogue, married a schoolteacher in her early twenties, separated from him, and would spend the war years as Connolly’s live-in lover, organiser and helpmeet, living in perpetual hope that Connolly would divorce his American wife, Jean, which he didn’t. Eventually Jean died, but by then Connolly was in love with Barbara Skelton, and Lys was a nervous wreck from having been, as she put it, ‘played around with so much’.

Was Lys ever so slightly dull? Taylor describes her as ‘ever humble and almost infinitely pliable’ with a ‘tendency to prattle’ – but she was beautiful, and Connolly seemed not to mind dullness in his women, as long as they admired and adored him: ‘People say she is dull,’ Connolly once remarked of a woman he was pursuing, ‘but she is interested in yours truly, and that is what yours truly likes.’ Connolly, it seems, not only looked like a teddy bear but talked like a teddy bear.

Downe House-educated Janetta and her mother, Jan Woolley, lived a hippy-ish life in Spain in the mid-1930s, before the Civil War forced them to return home. They’d both run away from a dull household: Jan had made the mistake of marrying (second marriage) a square soldier and later chaplain of Harrow, Captain Woolley (Janetta’s father), and immediately regretted it. The free-floating mother-and-daughter pair were semi-adopted by Ralph and Frances Partridge, spent Christmases at Ham Spray (it sounds like a scented furniture polish), and were thus drawn into the Connolly circle.

Barbara was the really sultry, sexy, chaotic, miserable one. Taylor throws us into the deep end of her misery, opening his chapter about her with a quote from Skelton’s 1941 diary: ‘Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself.’ That does just about sum Barbara Skelton up. Her emotional frailty is frighteningly visible in her every self-destructive act. She had, Taylor tells us, ‘a germ of temperamental excess’ that led her, at the age of four, ‘to attempt to run her mother through with a carving knife’. Later, an Armenian uncle put his hand down her nightdress and ‘invited her to search for sweets in his trouser pocket’ while out driving. She was expelled from her convent school. At the age of 15, she was allowed to go and live in a London YWCA hostel. At the age of 17 she was seduced by a millionaire friend of her father’s, who set her up in a flat in Marylebone, took her to France in a chauffeured car, and then took her back to London for a discreet abortion. Bored with being a rich man’s mistress, she left him, and modelled for Hartnell and Schiaparelli. At their wits’ end, her parents sent her to India in the so-called ‘fishing fleet’ to search for a suitable husband. She and a young officer called Charles Langford-Hinde did fall in love, and Langford-Hinde stowed away with her on the ship back to Britain, but he was discovered, arrested and thrown off the ship at Aden. He would die soon afterwards in an ambush at the North-West Frontier.

So, a nicely damaging early life for Barbara, setting her up for a wrecked adulthood. ‘The roster of [her] boyfriends in the early part of the war … runs comfortably into double figures,’ Taylor tells us. One of those boyfriends was the literary critic Peter Quennell, all too soon reduced to whimpering in his letters: ‘Barbara Darling! For the 100th time I feel completely wretched about you … Where are you anyhow?’ Not only was she emotionally absent: she also had a habit of physically vanishing. Another of the boyfriends would be King Farouk of Egypt, whom she met while working as a cipher clerk in Cairo in 1944. He liked to flog her with his dressing-gown cord on the steps of his palace. She was dangerously beautiful – the danger being for herself as much as for others. The ‘romantic pass-the-parcelling’ (another good Taylor encapsulation) left ‘ineradicable scars’. Barbara would never be able to have children after her several abortions.

You simply cannot believe that this short-tempered, melancholic, commitment-phobic woman would go on to marry Connolly, who had many of the same characteristics – but she did (in 1950), and it was a disaster. Connolly didn’t even get as far as the honeymoon before regretting it: he realised he’d made a mistake the moment he emerged from the register office. Five days after the wedding Barbara found him standing naked in the bedroom staring into space. What was the matter? ‘It’s marriage,’ he said. ‘I feel trapped.’ On New Year’s Day 1951, Barbara recorded in her diary that she woke at noon ‘with screams for food from Hubby who has put on an inch of jowl since Christmas’. There’s no doubt that, of the four chief Lost Girls, Barbara makes for the best copy.

Finally, Sonia, who comes across as a positive Cinderella by comparison, only marrying twice. As Taylor has already written in his superb bi0graphy of George Orwell (2003), the wedding of Sonia and George took place round a bed in University College Hospital, and Orwell would be dead from TB three months later. ‘A shrewd investment, or an act of self-sacrifice?’ Taylor asks. No one will ever know; but Taylor reminds us that Orwell then was not nearly as famous as he would posthumously become, and he surmises that Sonia married him because she loved him and felt genuinely sorry for him.

Another dose of Catholic damage in that childhood: Sonia was so revolted by the harsh Jesuitical training she’d received at the Sacred Heart Convent in Roehampton that for the rest of her life she spat in disgust whenever she saw a nun passing. Her father died on a golf course at the age of 36, and her mother escaped from a failed second marriage to run a dreary boarding house in South Kensington at which Sonia had to help out. After that she went on to the properly traumatic job of disinterring bodies from bombsites in a wartime first aid unit.

All four women were magnetically drawn into Connolly’s circle – or his ‘self-aggrandising wake’, as Taylor puts it. ‘To a bright but undereducated girl with literary or artistic ambitions’, he writes, Connolly’s ‘attention was worth having’. He took Janetta on road trips through France in his Armstrong Siddeley in the late 1930s, when she was a teenager, and, as she later said, he ‘took it for granted that he could share my bed’. Connolly romanticised these road trips in The Unquiet Grave (1944): ‘Peeling off the kilometres to the tune of “Blue Skies”, sizzling down the long black reaches of Nationale Sept, the plane trees going sha-sha-sha through the open window, the windscreen yellowing with crushed midges, she with the Michelin beside me, a handkerchief binding her hair.’

Sounds deliciously French and idyllic; but it wasn’t all like that. Janetta was revolted by the sight of juice trickling down Connolly’s white hairy fingers as he gorged on strawberries, and she ran off to have a fugitive love affair with an aspiring left-wing writer, Hugh Slater, coming home for an abortion paid for by her lifelong minder, Frances Partridge.

Both Lys and Sonia worked in the Horizon office in Bedford Square, their working lives immortalised in the photograph on the jacket of this book: the blonde and the brunette at their desks, dressed in demure wools and tweeds. The sign on the wall of the Ladies’ should have read: ‘You do need to be beautiful to work here.’ It was a looksist world for aspiring women writers in those days. Actually, Sonia was much more than a pretty face: she virtually solo-edited the magazine in the late 1940s, when Connolly was off on his travels in postwar France, hungry for praise and international adulation. But of the ninety or so contributors to the magazine over its 11-year existence, only seven were women.

There’s a hilarious sort of squawking Greek chorus running through the book, in the shape of Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford’s gleeful letters to each other commenting on the life and love affairs of the circle. After Taylor’s painstaking examinations of his characters’ changes of mind and heart, it’s pleasing to have these goings-on witheringly summed up, and belittled, by Waugh and Mitford, who saw the absurdity in everything and everyone. Here’s Waugh’s description of the Horizon office: ‘horrible pictures collected by Watson [Peter Watson, financial backer of Horizon] & Lys & Miss Brownell working away with a dictionary translating some rot from the French’. Here’s his summing up of Sonia marrying Orwell (Waugh and Mitford’s nickname for Connolly was ‘Boots’, short for ‘Smartiboots’): ‘Boots’s boule de Suif what was her name? Sonia something is engaged to marry the dying Orwell and is leaving Horizon so there will not be many more numbers to puzzle us.’ He was right. Horizon closed down in January 1950, bringing these bombastic words from Connolly: ‘It is closing time in the gardens of the West and from now on an artist will be judged only by the resonance of his solitude and the quality of his despair.’ Taylor calls those words ‘horribly disingenuous’: it was really Connolly’s own laziness that brought the magazine to a close.

Waugh was not all cynicism: he did say (later) that Horizon was ‘the outstanding publication of its decade’. Using the interludes technique, Taylor, too, stands back from the intricacies and paints a wider picture, giving us occasional side essays and thumbnail sketches of other Lost Girl-types, and summing up the 1940s style and the way the women of the 1940s spoke. The Lost Girls, he writes, had a liking for plain language: ‘sex was “fucking”; a homosexual “a bugger”; menstruation “the curse”.’ He surmises that their dreary office days – ‘a long, fatiguing afternoon in a badly ventilated office dense with cigarette smoke’ – ‘were relieved only by the promise of the evening’s entertainment’.

There’s also an excellent chapter on ‘The Lost Girls in Fiction’, in which Taylor locates Barbara Skelton both in the character of Virginia Troy in Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy, and (more fully) in Pamela Flitton in Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, where she is summed up by a wartime boyfriend: ‘She’s cross all the time. Bloody cross. Thrives on it. Her chief charm. Makes her wonderful in bed.’

The final ‘what became of them all’ chapter is a jaw-dropping chronicle of the choppy love lives of these women and their later marriages, with more withering summings-up. Here’s James Lees-Milne describing Janetta in 1990, by which time she’d married a Spanish interior decorator, her previous husband Derek Jackson having left her for her half-sister: ‘now a bad seventy, straight hair pulled back like a skull-cap, one drooping eye, raddled skin, hollow chest and bulging stomach’. You can hardly blame her for her raddled appearance, after everything she’d been through.

Marvellously, Taylor managed to visit the widowed Janetta in her nineties, in her final flat in Cadogan Place, in April 2016. We hear the actual voice of a very old Lost Girl, and it’s delightfully posh-sounding and denigrating. Expecting her to wax poetic about her fellow Lost Girls, Taylor is surprised when Janetta says, of Lys: ‘I mean, she was not this fascinating, intelligent, wonderful person. She really was a bit of a nightmare.’ But ‘she was a very good typist.’

Janetta puts her finger on the essence of the Lost Girl taste: the chief thing they couldn’t abide was anyone being ‘a bore’. Taylor devotes a whole interlude to the subject of bore-avoidance. Here’s 94-year-old Janetta on the subject. Of Connolly, she remarks: ‘Of course, he wasn’t a bore in any way.’ And then: ‘I think I was awfully lucky in knowing an awful lot of people who weren’t bores.’ All very well, but these great bore-avoiders (both the men and the women) did sometimes bore me with their pathetically short-lived passions.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

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.