An Incomplete History

London Review of Books: An Incomplete History invites readers behind the scenes for the first time, reproducing a fascinating selection of artefacts and ephemera from the paper’s archives, personal collections and forgotten filing cabinets. There are letters, notebooks, drawings, postcards, field notes and typescripts, many of them never published before. Fragments by legendary contributors are contextualised with captions and back stories by LRB writers and editors, as well as introductory essays by Mary-Kay Wilmers and Andrew O’Hagan. The result is an intimate account of forty years of intellectual life, which sheds new light on great careers, famous incidents and some of the history going on in the background. Buy it now

Beyond Nietzsche and Marx

Richard Rorty, 19 February 1981

Russell and Wittgenstein and Heidegger and Sartre are dead, and it looks as if there are no great philosophers left alive. At the end of his book, Alan Sheridan hesitantly stakes a claim for...

The first issue of the London Review of Books appeared on 27 September last year, and the present issue is the 14th we have produced. The journal was started when some newspapers were in...

Self-Amused: Isaiah Berlin

Adam Phillips, 23 July 2009

Isaiah Berlin was returning from Paris in 1952 when the aeroplane – ‘it was an Air France: Air Chance is a better name’ – ‘caught fire and scenes of extraordinary...

A Falklands Polemic

Tam Dalyell, 20 May 1982

Never underestimate the importance of fortuitous timing in the development of events. Governments and nations can get onto a motorway, and then find to their alarm that they are on a journey on...

First Chapters

Ursula Creagh, 3 June 1982

In the first chapter of this book, a chapter which concerns the time of our marriage, Alvarez has cast me in a variety of roles, from Jungle Jane to Giant Sloth. It may come as a surprise to him to find me among his critics.

Queen Famine’s Courtier

Paul Delany, 3 February 1983

A poetic career as long as an average life-span – from 1908 to 1975 – should provide plenty of grist for the biographer’s mill. But here, as in other respects, Robert Graves is...

Diary: One of Two Versions

A.J.P. Taylor, 2 August 1984

It is some time since I wrote a diary here. It will be seen I have had plenty to write about. I should explain that there are two versions of a period of my life. One is the version of other...

If​ his English teacher hadn’t been so snootily discouraging, it’s unlikely that Tony Harrison would have gone on to write as much as he has: by my calculation, 13 plays, 11 films...

Diary: Sport Poetry

Ian Hamilton, 23 January 1986

Today, Live Soccer returns to ‘our screens’ after a six-month haggle between TV and the Football League. It’s Charlton versus West Ham in the Cup and we are being exhorted to...


Paul Foot, 4 August 1988

When something awful or unexpected happens in public affairs, we are usually referred to the ‘cock-up theory of history’. This is preferred by realists to the ‘conspiracy theory...

Under the Sign of the Interim

Perry Anderson, 4 January 1996

Mathematically, the European Union today represents the largest single unit in the world economy. It has a nominal GNP of about six trillion dollars, compared with five trillion for the US and...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 23 October 2014

People​ said things about Karl, but not often to his face. He might like the things or he might not, and that did not always depend on whether they were intended as compliments or the opposite....

Oedipal Wrecks

Michael Mason, 26 March 1992

Kurt Vonnegut will be 70 this year. At this age he would indeed be a remarkable writer if his latest book – which is a collection of occasional pieces in the vein of the earlier Wampeters...

Diary: Hitchens

Jeremy Harding, 31 March 2011

I heard a few bars of Chris Corner’s song ‘I Salute You Christopher’ a day or so before the new IAMX album, Volatile Times, was released. The song, which appears on the album,...


Martha Gellhorn, 12 December 1996

What is the use in having lived so long, travelled so widely, listened and looked so hard, if at the end you don’t know what you know?

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