Diary: On Quitting Academia

Malcolm Gaskill, 24 September 2020

I still can’t decide whether I’ve retired or just resigned, or am in fact redundant and unemployed. I’m undeniably jobless at 53, able-bodied (I hesitate to say ‘fit’), with...

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Jansson had many euphemisms for lesbianism: ‘rive gauche’, as if all Parisian women were at it; ‘borderliner’; a ‘new line’, ‘tendency’, ‘attitude’....

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Diary: My Summer with Boris’s Mother

Wynford Hicks, 10 September 2020

It’s not often I hear news of her, though I know she’s a painter. I did read an interview she gave to Tatler five years ago. ‘I was engaged to somebody called Wynford Hicks,’ she...

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The Suitcase: Part Three

Frances Stonor Saunders, 10 September 2020

‘Where’s Daddy?’ I asked. ‘He’s gone away for the summer.’ There was a van outside our house and men were lifting furniture into it and other things wrapped in blankets....

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‘The new art is really a business,’ Warhol said in 1969. ‘We want to sell shares of our company on the Wall Street stock market.’ This didn’t endear him to some. ‘You’re...

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The realm of writing, for Nathalie Sarraute, remained the neutral, the anonym­ous, the impersonal, expressed as the pre­-conscious and pre-­personal undercurrents of the mind, which she named...

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Whatever Made Him: The Bauman Dichotomy

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 10 September 2020

Do we need biographies of public intellectuals? Is knowledge about a scholar’s life relevant to an understanding of their work? The Polish-Jewish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman thought not, and sedulously...

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The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders, 13 August 2020

A map is a memory: it’s a representation, a re-presenting of something that has been. It may look good on paper – and that’s already a fiddle, a projection of a sphere onto a plane –...

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Early Kermode

Stefan Collini, 13 August 2020

So when had all that started to happen, when did the smart London weeklies and monthlies begin to commission reviews from the little-known young lecturer who, recruited by D.J. Gordon, had moved to the...

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Art Lessons

Peter Campbell, 13 August 2020

If a botanist or architect had taken the pictures she might have been noticing kinds of plant and kinds of building. I was more interested in the way the world offers itself up as a series of ready-made...

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He​ had two days to prepare. We’d been thinking about it for a year. Four thousand infantry had to be organised. Eight hundred cavalry. Mules, carts, munitions, medical services. A cannon....

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The Suitcase

Frances Stonor Saunders, 30 July 2020

Childhood is lived not in history but in geography, in the slow, systematic mapping of place. Every child is a pioneer, surveying with great seriousness a world in which everything is new under the sun. Slowly,...

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Forster in Cambridge

Richard Shone, 30 July 2020

At six I knocked on his door and heard his light-toned ‘Come in.’ At first I could see no one in the large, high-ceilinged room with its mass of Victorian furniture, books and pictures against...

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Diary: In Ashgabat

James Lomax, 30 July 2020

Phillips had been waiting for me to arrive for half an hour. He was desperate to talk to someone, even if that person had been sent to investigate him for fraud. ‘Let’s go for a drink after...

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Ooh the rubble: Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill, 16 July 2020

Churchill ran into the kitchen during an air raid and told her to get into the shelter, but Landemare, who was making a delicate pudding, refused: ‘If I’d’ve turned it out it’d’ve...

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He was a heretic who remained on the left, never a Cold War renegade who sang the virtues of capitalism or colonialism. Had he done so, many avenues would have opened up for him in the West. His books...

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Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood, 16 July 2020

My mind had moved a few inches to the left of its usual place, and I developed what I realised later were actual paranoid delusions. ‘Jason’s cough is fake,’ I secretly texted a friend...

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Michael Tippett’s freewheeling creative spirit had started to rub the British classical music establishment up the wrong way. He was going rogue at a time when much British music sounded stiff, rule-bound...

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