Pieces about Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, Jane Boleyn, Christopher Marlowe and other royal bodies, by Hilary Mantel.
Biography & Memoir
Who cared if it was a low-budget British production, the sort that still tours provincial towns, advertised in newsagent doorways: to sit in the dark, to chew down a hotdog with scalding onions, to watch the action up close, hearing the rattling slam of the canvas and the hard slap of muscled flesh meeting, seeing the sweat casting up like sparks off a bonfire; to shout and laugh and jeer, to crush against the rail in hope of touching a wrestler’s hand or bicep – it was love.
On Christmas Day 1788, the king hid his bedclothes under the bed, put a pillowcase on his head and hugged the pillow, which he called Prince Octavius and said had just been born (Prince Octavius . . .
In 1942, Ralph Ellison had a meeting with Fredric Wertham, the director of psychiatric services at Queens General Hospital in New York. Ellison, who was eligible for the draft, didn’t want . . .
Ferdinand Mount, 4 January 2018
Only the hardest heart would repress a twitch of sympathy. To live on the receiving end of so much gush and so much abuse, to be simultaneously spoilt rotten and hopelessly infantilised, how well would any of us stand up to it?
James Wood, 20 February 2014
A panic suddenly overtakes me, and I wonder: how did I get here? And then the moment passes, and ordinary life closes itself around what had seemed, for a moment, a desperate lack.
Terry Castle, 17 March 2005
Afew weeks ago I found myself scanning photographs of Susan Sontag into my screensaver file: a tiny head shot clipped from Newsweek; two that had appeared in the New York Times; another printed...
David Sylvester, 5 July 2001
I cannot recall the crucial incident itself, can only remember how I cringed when my parents told me about it, proudly, some years later, when I was about nine or ten. We had gone to a tea-shop on boat-race day where a lady had kindly asked whether I was Oxford or Cambridge. I had answered: ‘I’m a Jew.’
Jenny Diski, 2 January 1997
I am not entirely content with the degree of whiteness in my life. My bedroom is white; white walls, icy mirrors, white sheets and pillowcases, white slatted blinds. It’s the best I could do.
Lorna Sage, 7 October 1993
Grandfather’s skirts would flap in the wind along the churchyard path, and I would hang on. He often found things to do in the vestry, excuses for getting out of the vicarage (kicking the swollen door, cursing) and so long as he took me he couldn’t get up to much. I was a sort of hobble; he was my minder and I was his.
Allon White, 4 May 1989
Faust, despairing of all philosophies, may yet drain a marsh or rescue some acres from the sea.
Frank Kermode, 16 March 1989
Paul de Man was born in 1919 to a high-bourgeois Antwerp family, Flemish but sympathetic to French language and culture. He studied at the Free University of Brussels, where he wrote some pieces...
Alan Bennett, 23 May 1985
On a bitter cold morning in January 1939 Auden and Isherwood sailed into New York harbour on board the SS Champlain. After coming through a blizzard off Newfoundland the ship looked like a wedding cake and the mood of our two heroes was correspondingly festive and expectant.
Writing about the House of Windsor by Paul Foot, Glen Newey, Jenny Diski, William Empson, Bee Wilson, Thomas Jones, Caroline Murphy, Rosemary Hill, Ferdinand Mount and Hilary Mantel.
Podcasts & Videos
Olivier Roy and Adam Shatz, 30 November 2021
In the second part of their conversation, Olivier Roy and Adam Shatz discuss the deculturation of Islam, and why it has led to the radicalisation of so many second-generation immigrants and converts
Bee Wilson, 8 April 2021
Bee Wilson talks through Alma Mahler’s life, music, relationships and anti-semitism.
Patricia Lockwood, 14 July 2021
Patricia Lockwood travels through the internet and wonders why we're talking like this.
Olivier Roy and Adam Shatz, 30 November 2021
In the first of two podcasts, Olivier Roy tells Adam Shatz about his experiences with the Gauche prolétarienne in the 1960s and his early travels in Afghanistan.
Will Self visits Prague for a walking tour in search of Franz Kafka’s genius loci. In the film, Will visits several Kafka sights as part of his research for a digital essay for the LRB, ‘Kafka’s...
Iain Sinclair, 8 April 2021
Iain Sinclair gives a tour around the area near his home in Hackney, London.
Anthony Wilks, 29 October 2021
Anthony Wilks visits poet George Szirtes to find out about the story of Szirtes’ mother, Magda, a Hungarian photographer who survived two concentration camps and escaped Budapest for England...
More Biography & Memoir in the LRB
Jenny Turner, 4 November 2021
Thinking is what Arendt probably claimed to have been spending whole days doing: ‘the two in one’, ‘the soundless dialogue ... between me and myself’. She would be thinking, and...
Elisabeth Ladenson, 21 October 2021
One of the last things Gertrude Beasley wrote before her disappearance in 1927 was an article called ‘I Was One of Thirteen Poor White Trash’. It came out in Hearst’s...
Patrick McGuinness, 21 October 2021
In Uwe Johnson’s work, perspective doesn’t come from a bird’s-eye view but from staying at eye level – from looking and never stopping. His characters are suspicious of any claim...
Rosemary Hill, 21 October 2021
Craxton liked small jokes, hiding the date of a painting in the label on a bottle of beer, or turning his signature into part of the pattern on a cigarette packet. His art had become a quest for colour,...
Thomas Jones, 7 October 2021
Milman Parry, Albert Lord and Nikola Vujnović toured the villages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, interviewing and recording the guslari they met there. Some sang tales from legend; others told of the...
Rosa Lyster, 7 October 2021
When people in Louisiana say that a city will disappear, they don’t just mean that it will be taken over by industry, or abandoned after one too many hurricanes or floods. They mean that it will...
Miriam Dobson, 7 October 2021
In Memory of Memory shows that the compulsive wish to remember and be remembered is in no way peculiar to the digital age. Maria Stepanova sees our obsession with genealogy websites, with social media...
Adam Shatz, 7 October 2021
Richard Wright wasn’t interested in the structures of support or mutual aid that enabled black people to survive as a collective. He was drawn to outcasts and desperados who had fallen through...
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 23 September 2021
Although Hollywood had a Jewish drama of its own, Jewishness wasn’t openly expressed and Jewish themes were neither the subjects nor the subplots of films. Success couldn’t buy you access to...
Fraser MacDonald, 23 September 2021
There’s a more general disquiet among the unlanded residents of the areas that are increasingly deemed ‘wild’. For them, beavers or wild cats aren’t the problem. They question why...
Tabitha Lasley, 23 September 2021
The Children of God called themselves several different things: the Family of Love, the Family, the Family International. These name changes suggest something of a branding problem. Indeed, by the time...
David Runciman, 23 September 2021
How can a libertarian be comfortable cosying up to sovereign wealth funds, the military-industrial establishment and the security state? One possible answer is that Peter Thiel is not a libertarian at...
Malcolm Gaskill, 9 September 2021
Nextdoor works like a neighbourhood watch scheme, but laced with all the toxic gossip once exchanged at the village pump, or by the fireside as women span and their menfolk brooded, puffing on clay pipes....
Ben Jackson, 9 September 2021
Climate change doesn’t provide the same clarifying moments as a pandemic, and if we expect COP26 – or a summer of heatwaves – to be such a moment, we will be disappointed. The question...
Terry Eagleton, 9 September 2021
As William Blake finds eternity in a grain of sand, so Walter Benjamin’s Surrealist gaze finds momentous meanings in the trifling and discarded. In the same way, he believes that every moment of...
Marina Warner, 9 September 2021
According to Black Teacher, Beryl Gilroy created her own programmes of learning, devised idiosyncratic projects and sensed where her lessons could eventually lead her pupils – she wasn’t...
Priya Satia, 9 September 2021
Imperialism was the foundation of Britain’s power and wealth, and so criticism of it was integral to campaigns for liberty. It was not only Indians and the Indian diaspora who looked to Dadabhai...
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