London Review of Books

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Hey, guys, I'm about to renew my subscription to the LRB and I get 2 free 6-month subscriptions to give to friends. As all my friends are philistines, are any of you interested. First come, first served, I guess.

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Sunday, 22 December 2013 22:46 (five years ago) Permalink

I'd definitely be interested if nobody else is but I would be obliged to send you a couple of books in return.

Ramnaresh Samhain (ShariVari), Sunday, 22 December 2013 22:59 (five years ago) Permalink

That's awfully kind, but I'm in Australia and it might bankrupt you!

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Sunday, 22 December 2013 23:01 (five years ago) Permalink

Rats! Well if you'd like a book token or something. I was just about to take out a subscription so I'd be very happy to compensate you.

Ramnaresh Samhain (ShariVari), Sunday, 22 December 2013 23:19 (five years ago) Permalink

my friend gave me his gift subscrip for the second year in a row so i'm good. pretty great read

flopson, Sunday, 22 December 2013 23:50 (five years ago) Permalink

I let my subscription lapse about a year ago but I'd be up for another six months of it. Let me know and I'll send my address.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 23 December 2013 01:00 (five years ago) Permalink

Cool. ShariVari and xyzzzz, if you want to send your names and postal addresses to me at my email (click my name below) I'll put you in for the subs.

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Monday, 23 December 2013 01:34 (five years ago) Permalink

James - email sent, let me know if you haven't got it and I'll try again.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 23 December 2013 09:24 (five years ago) Permalink

Just got it--cheers!

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Monday, 23 December 2013 09:27 (five years ago) Permalink

I've also sent my details. Thank you so much.

Ramnaresh Samhain (ShariVari), Monday, 23 December 2013 09:29 (five years ago) Permalink

No worries--I'll put in my sub today with both your details.

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:30 (five years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Subscribed a year back since it seemed a great magazine and I wanted to try to engage a bit with international literary criticism instead of only reading Danish literary reviews. Unsubscribing now since I can't make through these articles - not totally unlike when I first stumbled upon ilx, I find it very difficult to understand the position of the "sender". I recognize names of famous writers/philosophers/journalists, some of them I know well enough to get where they're coming from, but most of the writers I don't know, and I feel there's a lot of irony and implicit assumptions that are lost on me.

Maybe if I kept reading, I'd become a genius on every subject imaginable, maybe I'd have to be a genius to read it in the first place.

The subscription was very cheap, could easily afford another year, but it's hard on my literary conscience when unread magazines stack up, and when I skim a ten page article on Isis.

Uhm, so, any experience, advice?

niels, Thursday, 20 August 2015 19:41 (three years ago) Permalink

I think you'd eventually get their position after a few years..its not about becoming an expert.

I let that subscription I gained from James lapse. I was fine with it and read almost all of the issues however I just want to read more novels + poetry. The free stuff they have on their site tends to cover a big piece on Syria/ISIS/Eurozone/ and further on or further in (LOL Labour leadership). Plus I find v little in the LRB's take on fiction as I have different tastes (although Jenny Dinski's stuff on Lessing is p/good).

I'll ocasionally buy it. Amd Funnily enough I have bought the last two issues to specifically read one piece each, altogether 20K+ words, on Dmitri Furman. LOL me.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 20 August 2015 22:11 (three years ago) Permalink

my friend gave me free subscrips for a few years but i let it lapse as well

i know what you mean niels, i sometimes felt like it was pitched at an unreasonably high level of familiarity with the subject matter

read some great stuff in the lrb though. keeping abreast of new books was great for my reading list, too

flopson, Thursday, 20 August 2015 22:34 (three years ago) Permalink

I'm a lifer w/ it, I'd say. I usually run about 2-3 issues behind and catch up in bursts.

ime there's a 'I definitely should read this important-looking article' thing to overcome - I stall on issues when I fall into that. Skim and skip when you want - you can usually decide whether you're in or out after 2-3 columns of an article, and when you get to know its patterns and regulars it gets easier.

woof, Friday, 21 August 2015 00:03 (three years ago) Permalink

Cool, maybe I'll have at it again at some point - or I'll pick it up in airports when travelling, a lot of disposable quality reading material for the price.

niels, Friday, 21 August 2015 07:50 (three years ago) Permalink

I'd never read it till last christmas when I got a subscription, was immediately smitten with the naked political bias, the petty infighting of the letters page, and the 'reviews' where the reviewer spends the majority of the time demonstrating their superiority in the subject, barely mentioning the book in question. I'm a born dilettante so will happily read scholarly pieces on subjects I could never sustain interest in for a whole book. I don't kid myself that I'm learning anything, it's purely a transitory pleasure. Diski's stuff - on her cancer as well as on Lessing - is worth the entry price alone imo.

ledge, Friday, 21 August 2015 08:02 (three years ago) Permalink

haha, that's a p great take, maybe I should revel more in the fun of it instead of being offended at not "getting it".

niels, Friday, 21 August 2015 08:04 (three years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Just got round to Diski's last piece (vol 37/ no.24), she's finally revealed with a dramatic flourish the end game of her grand scheme - singlehandedly demolishing Doris Lessing's entire reputation.

ledge, Saturday, 26 December 2015 11:09 (three years ago) Permalink

Is that why non-subscribers can't read that installment? ;-)

(can you paste it somewhere?)

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 26 December 2015 11:51 (three years ago) Permalink

For a limited time only:

ledge, Saturday, 26 December 2015 12:06 (three years ago) Permalink


xyzzzz__, Saturday, 26 December 2015 12:40 (three years ago) Permalink


things that are jokes pretty much (nakhchivan), Saturday, 26 December 2015 13:16 (three years ago) Permalink

I had, and I think she had, a sense that she knew it all. She had been pals with R.D. Laing and lived some crazed years with Clancy Sigal. She had read a bunch of Pelican books on the sociology and psychology of behaviour. We all did then, they sat on bookshop shelves like a university course: Laing, David Stafford-Clark, Erving Goffman, Vance Packard, Michael Argyle, C.J. Adcock, Viktor Frankl. And more and more. They were all over the house, on tables, on the floor. She bought them, I bought them, Peter and his friends bought them. Somehow they were cheap enough for the smallest allowance. All these were read and taken in. How could you not cope with a difficult adolescent with all that under your belt?


xyzzzz__, Saturday, 26 December 2015 15:22 (three years ago) Permalink

This was so good - and makes me want to read more Lessing next year. I must be attracted to people with shitty reputations.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 26 December 2015 16:10 (three years ago) Permalink

I've only read The Grass is Singing, about which I have little to say, and Shikasta, which I found unpleasant and gave me a picture of its author (personal interpretation obv) which has correlated remarkably strongly with the one built up slowly and carefully by Diski.

ledge, Saturday, 26 December 2015 17:15 (three years ago) Permalink

i don't know much about lessing and haven't read any of her stuff, but i love when LRB gets scurrilous. one of the best and strangest stories i ever read was Andrew O'Hagan on abandoning a job ghostwriting an autobiography of Julian Assange

flopson, Sunday, 27 December 2015 01:41 (three years ago) Permalink

Weirdly that article is being made into a movie

as verbose and purple as a Peter Ustinov made of plums (James Morrison), Sunday, 27 December 2015 10:06 (three years ago) Permalink


flopson, Sunday, 27 December 2015 17:27 (three years ago) Permalink


Sufism lasted, as far as I can tell, for the rest of Doris’s conscious life. In later years she never spoke to me about ‘the work’, as it was called. I wasn’t sure whether this was from disappointment about the teaching or from her understanding that I was a failure and therefore to be kept in the dark. She told me when Shah died of heart failure in 1996, but only for my information. No questions allowed. No weeping, no distress. After all, we were all here on borrowed time, waiting for the penny to drop. Shah set up groups and organisations and Roger, our small daughter and I often spent a Saturday or Sunday first in his house in a leafy village not too far from London and then at Langton House near Tunbridge Wells, another suburb of perfect respectability. The house was, I suppose, formerly the old landowner’s house, large and walled, with outbuildings and a huge garden. Things were various. People in groups went at weekends to manicure the gardens and on Saturday night to have a group meal and listen to Shah’s table talk, which was, if you listened properly, Doris said, his real teaching. There were public lectures, generally on historical or philosophical topics. The lecturers were academics or highly regarded journalists and writers, who, as far as I know, had nothing to do with the Sufis, or even knew that they were speaking under their aegis, but were paid to lecture by the Institute for Cultural Research, set up by Shah.

Thomas M. Disch reviewing a book by Peter Washington:

Shah managed to connect with one of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky's most devoted disciples, Captain J. G. Bennett. Now an old man and a spiritual orphan, Bennett was persuaded in the 1960s to turn over a valuable English estate at Coombe Springs, which had served for many years as a Gurdjieff-style Prieure. When the other trustees of the estate balked, Shah was adamant: there must be an outright gift or nothing at all. Bennett tried to negotiate, but the more conciliatory his behavior, the more outrageous Shah's demands became. The new teacher wanted to know how Bennett could have the nerve to negotiate with the Absolute. Once the Absolute had got his way, "Shah's first act was to eject Bennett and the old pupils from their own house, banning them from the place except by his specific permission. His second act was to sell the property to developers for £100,000 in the following year, buying a manor house at Langton Green near Tunbridge Wells in Kent with the proceeds."

alimosina, Wednesday, 30 December 2015 00:13 (three years ago) Permalink

Real estate -- secret key to the Universe

alimosina, Wednesday, 30 December 2015 00:14 (three years ago) Permalink

27 June. Shortly after the East Coast franchise has been sold off to a tie-up between Virgin and Stagecoach I am sitting at Leeds station when a notice is flashed up on the Sky screen: 'Hello Leeds. Meet Virgin trains. We've just arrived and we can't wait to get to know you.'

And take you for every penny we can.

You couldn't make it up.

lem kip öbit (wins), Thursday, 31 December 2015 15:05 (three years ago) Permalink

It strikes me these days how much the LRB carries about the classical world. Can feel like 1-2 articles about Ancient Rome per issue.

I don't read Diski but did you notice that the short cuts piece on the Piers Gaveston Society was taken down from the website? Possibly for legal reasons. (I hated the article.)

the pinefox, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 11:35 (three years ago) Permalink

Still there for me:

Basically written by hedonismbot, demystifying to the point of mundanity.

ledge, Wednesday, 6 January 2016 12:36 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I'm ambivalent about Lessing but I can recommend the Golden Notebook. I also liked her short essayistic collection Prisons We Choose to Live Inside.

I don't know how many people remember, but Lessing went to Afghanistan in the 80s and wrote a book celebrating he Mujahideen. I remember seeing it on remainder tables (late 80s or early 90s) and I wish I had bought a copy. I would like to read that some day. I'd be surprised if she didn't have some contact with the CIA.

I think I was reading LRB a lot about ten years back. I appreciated their coverage of Israel's aggression against Lebanon in 2006. I do feel a bit lost at times, in LRB. It all seems terribly British, though I guess I find the flavor a little more palatable than TLS. (I like that end of the year issue of TLS though, where lots of writers talk about what they have been reading in the past year.) I still glance at it from time to time and I think I like its reviews of philosophy, history and social science works best. Often it's choice of what literature to cover bores me, but then I hardly do any literary reading, so my opinion is pretty useless on that.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 22 January 2016 19:11 (three years ago) Permalink

(Since I haven't read her Mujahideen book I probably shouldn't be saying it was a celebration of them, but that's the impression I remember getting from glancing at it.)

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 22 January 2016 19:27 (three years ago) Permalink

i can recommend the golden notebook (incidentally my wife was less complementary, enigmatically remarking while reading it that "you might as well be reading something written by a man", whatever she meant by that) but the overall oeuvre of lessing im not so sure about. some clunkers for sure. there's a book of hers called the fifth child which is basically "we need to talk about kevin" ten years earlier and without the massacre dénouement. it's just as poor as the shriver book.

we started to read it in high school - it was part of the syllabus - but the book was so universally disliked, including by the teacher that we changed to a different book. I had already finished it by that stage, unfortunately.

Cornelius Pardew (jim in glasgow), Friday, 22 January 2016 20:30 (three years ago) Permalink

Every female friend I've ever mentioned Lessing to has either had no opinion or a negative opinion. On the other hand, my mother was a Lessing enthusiast though, at least up to the science fiction phase, though I think at that point she still respected her for doing what she wanted with her work.

I had a professor in college who said that Lessing could not "write an English sentence" (if I remember the phrase correctly).

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 22 January 2016 20:45 (three years ago) Permalink

Another thing about LRB: a lot of times the article titles are as obscure to me as a goon crew or lex thread title on ILM.

"What Lord Essington Didn't Find in the Forest"

And I am left wondering if I should be interested in this or not.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 22 January 2016 20:49 (three years ago) Permalink

When I worked in a bookshop Lessing was highly thought of by a lot of women who would have thought of themselves as 2nd-gen feminists. Not that they bought anything new by her, but they looked back fondly on her heyday.

I've liked a few of her books, and some of her stories, but she's very hit and miss for me.

like Uber, but for underpants (James Morrison), Friday, 22 January 2016 22:54 (three years ago) Permalink

(I like that end of the year issue of TLS though, where lots of writers talk about what they have been reading in the past year.)

I like that as well. TLS' coverage of translated literature is far, far better than the LRB.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 22 January 2016 23:00 (three years ago) Permalink

As for Lessing The Golden Notebook is all-time and that piece of Diski's points to The Children of Violence series so that's where I'll go next.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 22 January 2016 23:05 (three years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Diski died this morning, sadly. Ominously, no pieces by her had appeared recently.

🐸 a hairy, howling toad torments a man whose wife is deathly i (James Morrison), Thursday, 28 April 2016 23:28 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Nifty thing of 100 de-paywalled 'diary' articles from various places/events around the world:

James Morrison, Friday, 19 August 2016 00:49 (two years ago) Permalink

definitely one of those times when i regret not having a subscription to the lrb: vaneigem on bosch

no lime tangier, Thursday, 1 September 2016 08:55 (two years ago) Permalink

word can someone pastebin that

r|t|c, Thursday, 1 September 2016 10:34 (two years ago) Permalink

may the almighty lord's blessing rain on you vigorously

r|t|c, Thursday, 1 September 2016 10:55 (two years ago) Permalink

^seconded :-D

no lime tangier, Thursday, 1 September 2016 11:39 (two years ago) Permalink


xyzzzz__, Thursday, 1 September 2016 20:32 (two years ago) Permalink

Haven't finished yet, but this is quite powerful so far.

Federico Boswarlos, Sunday, 23 September 2018 14:20 (four months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

I don't know that we need another trawl through the horror of Plath's life, but there's no doubting this was luridly compelling:

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 12:52 (two months ago) Permalink

I was reading that yesterday - and I would've avoided it because I know of the new details this is providing (namely Ted's physical assault, and Sylvia's discovery of letters to Assia and her reaction - think this one is new), but then again I wanted to see how this read after I engaged with Plath's work this year (went on a run of Letters Home, Bell Jar and of course the Complete Poems). Also the writer did input details of her own life in it, which (post-Janet Malcolm) every commentator of Plath should do now. A law should be passed.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 18 December 2018 13:03 (two months ago) Permalink

I found the autobiographical elements (almost intentionally?) clumsy - an unnecessary, first-draft, framework that could easily have been removed. Malcolm's is still the definitive account for me.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 16:04 (two months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Awful article!

the pinefox, Monday, 7 January 2019 09:59 (one month ago) Permalink

James Wolcott on Saul Bellow

:( :( >:( >:(

(i haven't read it yet)

mark s, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 13:22 (one month ago) Permalink

tag yrselves, i'm sister jane

(the bit where bellow hard-slaps a girlfriend at a meal lots of ppl are at? i want to do this to wolcott for his adjectives)

mark s, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 15:32 (one month ago) Permalink

single good line is alfred kazin's, lol at the trio of ghastly literary fail/fakesons bellow accrued: james fkn wood, leon fkn wieseltier, martin fkn amis

mark s, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 15:42 (one month ago) Permalink

We're all sister Jane.

Loved the Nobel dinner!

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 21:32 (one month ago) Permalink

i think it's the basis of the film festen :0

mark s, Thursday, 17 January 2019 15:26 (one month ago) Permalink

I never got around to seeing this film about a wife who is married to a recipient of the Nobel in lit. Has some echoes though.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 18 January 2019 10:26 (one month ago) Permalink

reading the bellow article now - didn’t realise it was for the second volume of the zachary leader biog. his biog of k amis was monumentally tedious and long-winded and it sounds like james wolcott suffered similarly here.

feels like he aims for academic exhaustiveness which does not aid or prioritise insight (his amis insight was at best leaden at worst just tone deaf and rong). but it’s not clear which market he’s going for - the bookshop window or the academic $$$, either in price or style.

the perfect opposite example of this being chesterton’s wonderful short biog of browning. not much use as an academic aid to triangulating the exact social, career and geographical grid reference of the subject at any given time tho i guess.

Fizzles, Saturday, 19 January 2019 12:41 (one month ago) Permalink

oh god it’s all coming back reading this. his use of biographical detail to explain fictional context, not in itself an unreasonable thing to do, is incredibly hamfisted. almost denudes the notion of imaginative fiction of any worth whatsoever.

Fizzles, Saturday, 19 January 2019 12:45 (one month ago) Permalink

since almost any brief acquaintance with bellow and those round him makes you think "these are bad ppl and they shd feel bad", this seems a v unhelpful approach

disclaimer: i have read no bellow and judge him entirely thru the lens of the self-promotional stanning of martin amis

mark s, Saturday, 19 January 2019 13:02 (one month ago) Permalink

wow, he went to agent andrew wylie (“the jackal”), jilting his former female agent. this is interesting ofc because Mamis did the same thing to Pat Kavanagh triggering that split with her husband Julian Barnes. what a tedious shitshow.

as wolcott says “what was it with this guys?”

Fizzles, Saturday, 19 January 2019 13:09 (one month ago) Permalink

since almost any brief acquaintance with bellow and those round him makes you think "these are bad ppl and they shd feel bad", this seems a v unhelpful approach

disclaimer: i have read no bellow

the pinefox, Saturday, 19 January 2019 13:54 (one month ago) Permalink

This is entertaining.

I think I have to agree with it.

(I have read one Bellow - DANGLING MAN)

the pinefox, Saturday, 19 January 2019 13:54 (one month ago) Permalink

g00blar to thread?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 19 January 2019 19:38 (one month ago) Permalink

I have read a lot of Bellow, but he was still a colossal shit

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Saturday, 19 January 2019 22:05 (one month ago) Permalink

To be fair I don't think anyone who's read Bellow's books could be surprised to learn he was a bit of a jerk in real life. It's not like his book persona is that different. The Wolcott piece was entertaining, and it did a nice job of skimming some juicy bits from a super-long bio which I'm sure I'll never read but I do think he overrates Ravelstein quite a bit. By the logic of the piece, it had to be some kind of masterpiece to prove the doubters wrong, but I don't think it would convince anyone who wasn't already predisposed to like late-period Bellow.

o. nate, Sunday, 20 January 2019 02:17 (one month ago) Permalink

These biographies never leave much space for making a case for the fiction (why are we reading this biog in the first place?) I guess you wouldn't get to it unless you liked a lot of the fiction already but for someone reading a long form review like that all you get is some entertainment over gossip -- and reading something for a laugh is as fine a reason as any. Just noting on the gap between that and the imagined importance of it beyond well er, this guy wrote some nice sentences and some people in Sweden gave him a prize for it. Oh, and he sold a lot of books once.

Of course the review might have cut that stuff out but it doesn't look like it.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 20 January 2019 10:30 (one month ago) Permalink

they should just cut all of wolcott's adjectives out, it wd improve his writing by a million percent

also they shd put drawing pin on his chair

mark s, Sunday, 20 January 2019 11:02 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, I've read a fair share of his stuff and am tempted to say "I'm shocked, shocked to find out that people are saying bad things about him." In fact there was an interesting takedown I came across whilst perusing James Atlas bio a year or so ago, let me see if I can find it.

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 January 2019 19:16 (one month ago) Permalink

Here's some background on that:

14. Last fanciful plot point was perhaps Bellow's dig at Kramer's well known homophobia.

— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) November 8, 2014

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 January 2019 19:29 (one month ago) Permalink

Aargh, I wanted to link to the whole thread, not that particular post but anyway

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 January 2019 19:29 (one month ago) Permalink

1. A Twitter Essay on Saul Bellow, Hilton Kramer, Joseph Epstein & the Perils of the Roman à clef (for @BrentNYT & @matthunte)

— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) November 8, 2014

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 January 2019 19:30 (one month ago) Permalink

He managed to convince himself and others that he was a diffident, reclusive artist even as he sat for journalists and television commentators; nearly every interview with Bellow—and there were many over the years—began by claiming that he granted few interviews. Many years later, in a malicious story entitled “Another Rare Visit with Noah Danzig,” Joseph Epstein described a long interview with a fictionalized Bellow, noting that “over the years there would be no fewer than 235 such ‘rare visits’ in print.” Epstein scarcely exaggerated. Bellow ignored most letters requesting interviews, claiming not to have received them, but he was gregarious and loved to discourse on his favorite subjects to just about anyone who would listen. In the sixties, he gave sixteen interviews; in the seventies, he gave even more.

This is where I first came across it in Atlas’s book.

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 January 2019 19:33 (one month ago) Permalink

That Epstein piece is hilarious. I don't know if it captures Bellow exactly or not, but it definitely captures someone.

o. nate, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 01:40 (four weeks ago) Permalink

I read this Bellow article. I suppose it zips along but I don't like it or trust it much.

He is right, though, to point to the bizarreness and wrongness of Bellow as 'literary father'. Though did Wood really buy into that (as Amis did), or was he more simply someone who admired Bellow's writing? Which would be OK as far as it goes.

I think I agree with xyz about the ultimate triviality of it.

But this is a relatively enjoyable issue of the LRB.

the pinefox, Thursday, 31 January 2019 10:38 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Would love to read this relatively enjoyable issue of the LRB but I subscribed three weeks ago and have received nothing but a barrage of emails telling me what's in the issues they haven't sent me and how great the LRB is.

Wee boats wobble but they don't fall down (Tom D.), Thursday, 31 January 2019 11:07 (two weeks ago) Permalink

tom ime if you get in touch with their subs dep you will immediately receive three copies of every issue you’ve missed. if that helps.

Fizzles, Friday, 1 February 2019 00:06 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?, Katrina Marçal. In the mood for a good whodunnit.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 1 February 2019 10:17 (two weeks ago) Permalink

argh wrong thread

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 1 February 2019 10:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

tbh i have rock scribewars* beef against wolcott and i think his writing is annoying and terrible

*©TEwing on this very site once upon a time very long ago

mark s, Friday, 1 February 2019 11:25 (two weeks ago) Permalink

(or apparently on some other site)

mark s, Friday, 1 February 2019 11:26 (two weeks ago) Permalink

so: I haven't embarked on the perrython beyond the first sentence (critique so far: "teratology" is phoning it in frankly) but the petrarch piece is terrific, if only for joining the dots between ciecero, chaucer, anne boleyn, the marquis de sade and 70s film-maker luschino visconti (or ancestor of same, with identical name, in which the aristocratical clue is)

not sure i'd given petrarch a single thought since the very mild nerdly abreaction against a gag in the young ones where rick invokes abt "petrarchian sonnets" (s/b "petrarchan", come on elton). the actual most fun paragraph in this absorbing and useful piece is:

Petrarch’s Italian love lyrics, and what Celenza calls the ‘dreamy, haunted persona’ he adopts in them, had a huge influence on English poetry. This is somewhat ironic, as he doesn’t seem to have thought very highly of the English. A passing reference to ‘British barbarians’ (barbari Britanni) suggests he associated them with the Germanic vandals who sacked Rome. Even worse, they are ‘timid barbarians’ — a reference to the slavish scholastic admiration of Aristotle in Oxford and Cambridge.

mark s, Saturday, 2 February 2019 15:58 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i mean luchino (i checked this and then failed to change it, come on elton)

mark s, Saturday, 2 February 2019 15:59 (two weeks ago) Permalink

also cicero not ciecero lol

mark s, Saturday, 2 February 2019 16:07 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Its really good and yes loved the connections. I scored a paperback of a collection of Petrarch in English a few weeks ago which covers much the same ground as in the latter half of that piece.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 2 February 2019 18:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Cancelling my subscription. Joined on the 10th January and have received nothing so far, took them 4 days to reply to an email I sent them asking why I hadn't received any issues yet. I'll read this thread instead.

Wee boats wobble but they don't fall down (Tom D.), Thursday, 14 February 2019 15:55 (six days ago) Permalink

So they've been sending my issues to the wrong address - they've got one digit of my postcode wrong. It's possible that I got it wrong when I filled out the online form - except confusing a 1 for a 7 on a keyboard is unlikely, especially if you've typed it hundreds of times. More likely is that someone has physically written the postcode and mistaken a 7 for a 1 - what century are we in again, LRB? Anyway, they've cancelled it.

Wee boats wobble but they don't fall down (Tom D.), Saturday, 16 February 2019 16:50 (four days ago) Permalink

... now I come to think of it, they already had my address as I had a yearlong subscription a couple of years ago! Clowns.

Wee boats wobble but they don't fall down (Tom D.), Saturday, 16 February 2019 16:54 (four days ago) Permalink

this feels characteristic still. i assume its still haemorrhaging cash. in its funding as well as its subs dept it feels a bit like a (very welcome) artefact from a past age and you do wonder what will happen when mk wilmers goes.

Fizzles, Sunday, 17 February 2019 09:06 (three days ago) Permalink

What is your evidence that it is losing money?

If you don't think it is efficient under the current editor, then I don't see why you should think that it would be more imperilled under another editor. Wouldn't it, logically, be more efficient and more viable?

Either way, as I have said on this board before -- I have never seen any evidence of what its finances are. The only thing I have ever heard, anecdotally, is that its subscribers have increased; and clearly its empire has grown with BM lectures, films, etc.

the pinefox, Sunday, 17 February 2019 11:08 (three days ago) Permalink

mk wilmers is the money behind it as well as the editor - hence the concern that when she goes her personal interest and financial backing of it won't be passed on to anyone.

For all its success, the London Review of Books struggles to make money. It owes its continued existence to the generosity of Wilmers herself, who regularly siphons in cash from a family trust fund.

Fizzles, Sunday, 17 February 2019 11:24 (three days ago) Permalink

I'd like to support them but they make it difficult by bombarding you w/ emails, needily begging for yr attention, then fucking it up when you give in and subscribe. I don't know why they have a 24-48 hour policy for replying to emails, though it's 48+ hours in practice, what is their subscription department doing all day? TBF the subscription department is probably somebody with a grand sounding title, who works two days a week, and somebody's teenage son or daughter on an unpaid internship.

Wee boats wobble but they don't fall down (Tom D.), Sunday, 17 February 2019 11:46 (three days ago) Permalink

serried ranks of subs richly paid to sit around all day in no way altering copy by j. lanchester, a. o'hagan etc

i did once apply but was headed off by whoever responded saying p much saying "it's an intern thing really, you're way overqualified" -- which is a pity bcz i'd have enjoyed innocently cutting all the perrywords

mark s, Sunday, 17 February 2019 12:31 (three days ago) Permalink

What is your evidence that it is losing money?

I thought I linked this last time we discussed the LRB's finances, but the evidence is the accounts:

See notes 2, 8, and 11 in "accounts for a small company made up to 31 March 2018". It isn't a going concern without the interest-free loan from "a company under the control of LRB's parent undertaking". And that went up from £4,627,377 last year to £6,851,563 this year.

I am not an accountant - could be misunderstanding that. But it seems pretty clear.

woof, Sunday, 17 February 2019 12:54 (three days ago) Permalink

I doubt that I have competence to understand that page, but I agree, it looks like substantial evidence (of whatever the case may be). I had never seen it or heard of it before.

I literally did not know that such public information about companies existed online, though I had an idea that one could go and request it somewhere.

the pinefox, Sunday, 17 February 2019 20:47 (three days ago) Permalink

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