Writing about superstition by Matthew Sweeney, Hilary Mantel, Malcolm Gaskill, Patricia Lockwood, Theodore Zeldin, Katherine Rundell, Peter Campbell, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Angela Carter, Ian Penman...
Psychology & Anthropology
If a whistle-blowing report on the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock Clinic was needed, I wish I’d written it myself. It would have highlighted the isolation of a group of conscientious clinicians who were trying to cope, in the absence of adequate support, funding and external expertise, with complex clinical, empirical, legal and procedural challenges while an upheaval in cultural narratives of sex and gender took place across the country. GIDS became the scapegoat in a society that needs to look more boldly and intelligently at how we should accommodate a great many new forms of pressure for change.
The idea that it is impossible to know what non-human animals are feeling or thinking can serve as cover for their exploitation, domination and extermination. Do we really know nothing of how animals . . .
How long can you be absent before you are declared dead? Do you have any civil rights during this interval – which some societies set at the biblical seven years – or are you merely . . .
Frances Stonor Saunders, 3 March 2016
We construct borders, literally and figuratively, to fortify our sense of who we are; and we cross them in search of who we might become.
Adam Phillips, 5 March 2015
Lacan said that there was surely something ironic about Christ’s injunction to love thy neighbour as thyself – because actually, of course, people hate themselves. Or you could say that, given the way people treat one another, perhaps they had always loved their neighbours in the way they loved themselves.
Richard Lloyd Parry, 6 February 2014
I met a priest in the north of Japan who exorcised the spirits of people who had drowned in the tsunami.
Jonathan Coe, 18 July 2013
Boris Johnson has become his own satirist, safe in the knowledge that the best way to make sure the satire aimed at you is gentle and unchallenging is to create it yourself.
Colm Tóibín, 19 August 2010
In 1993 John McGahern wrote an essay called ‘The Church and Its Spire’, in which he considered his own relationship to the Catholic Church. He made no mention of the fact that he had,...
Jeremy Harding, 3 February 2000
Refugees are not necessarily poor, but by the time they have reached safety, the human trafficking organisations on which they depend have eaten up much of their capital. In the course of excruciating journeys, mental and physiological resources are also expended – some of them non-renewable.
Sherry Turkle, 6 December 1990
Freud believed that psychoanalysis was so deeply subversive of people’s most cherished beliefs that only resistance to psychoanalytic ideas would reveal where they were being taken...
Mary-Kay Wilmers, 18 April 1985
Psychoanalysts have a difficult relationship with the rest of the world – or, as they sometimes call it, ‘the goyim’. Janet Malcolm’s two very striking books of reportage,...
Podcasts & Videos
Adam Phillips, 18 August 2020
Adam Philips reflects on the ways we hate ourselves, in his 2015 LRB Winter Lecture.
Alan Bennett, 8 April 2021
Alan Bennett finds similarities between Love Island and the Bloomsbury set.
Jacqueline Rose, 18 August 2020
Jacqueline Rose discusses the full range of her work with Justin Clemens at the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival.
More Psychology & Anthropology in the LRB
John Foot, 4 March 2021
In September the Uruguayan footballer Luis Suárez turned up at the Università per Stranieri in Perugia to take an Italian test. This tough language exam, a requirement for anybody...
Francis Gooding, 4 March 2021
The idea that racism is scientifically bogus, or that gender is neither binary nor fixed, or that all ways of living have their historical roots: these things eventually became axioms in the humanities...
Deborah Friedell, 18 February 2021
For researchers interested in schizophrenia, the Galvins seemed like a bonanza: figure out why six of the twelve children got sick, but not the other six, and maybe you could get somewhere. A pharmaceutical...
Mike Jay, 4 February 2021
In the late 1950s, the CIA’s schemes included using an aerosol to lace the air with LSD in the Havana studio where Fidel Castro made his radio broadcasts, sprinkling Castro’s boots...
Gavin Francis, 21 January 2021
When the police bring Sue Black a bag of bones and ask what she makes of them she starts out with four questions: Are they human? Are they of forensic interest? Who was this person? Do they tell us anything...
James Butler, 21 January 2021
It began with the beheading of a god. In a dispute over theological primacy, Brahma – traditionally identified as the creator – insulted Shiva. The offended deity poured all his...
Hazel V. Carby, 21 January 2021
Race, Isabel Wilkerson claims, is ‘a recent phenomenon in human history’, deriving from the Spanish word raza (in the context of the Atlantic slave trade), and ‘caste’ the much...
John Lanchester, 17 December 2020
That feeling of similar-but-not-quite is present all through the history of our engagement with the Neanderthals: when we look at them we are looking at a distorted reflection in a mirror. As with a mirror-gazer,...
Susan Pedersen, 19 November 2020
Fathers sat down to a kipper or a boiled egg at breakfast (and gave one favoured child the top); their dependants ate porridge. Kind fathers sometimes shared tidbits; others avoided the whole drama...
Jacqueline Rose, 19 November 2020
Freud is offering a philosophy of grief. He helps us understand why what is happening among us now can feel as much an internal as an external catastrophe. Death in a pandemic is no way to die.
Amia Srinivasan, 2 July 2020
Cultural conservatives aren’t trying to protect language from politics; they are simply sanguine about the politics that language already has.
Michael Hofmann, 21 May 2020
The author is obviously in love with his subject, taking it everywhere with him, seeing it wherever he goes. ‘Most of the people I know are bilingual’ is his delightful shrug.
Lauren Oyler, 7 May 2020
The internet’s contribution to language has been to give us more ways to communicate without saying anything at all :(
James Lasdun, 20 February 2020
Beyond a few tabloid stories, the Westboro Baptist Church didn’t really hit the news until 2005, when its members started picketing funerals of soldiers killed in the Iraq War, with signs...
William Davies, 5 December 2019
Once democracy and public argument are premised on the logic of the platform, it simply doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, so long as they remain engaged and engaging. President Trump is the...
Misha Glenny and Callum Lang, 7 November 2019
Once you’ve placed your order, you should expect to pick up the drugs at the designated rendezvous point within an hour or so. If you find yourself having to wait any longer you may want to choose...
Lisa Cohen, 7 November 2019
‘About clothes, it’s awful,’ the protagonist thinks in Jean Rhys’s novel Voyage in the Dark (1934). Everything makes you want pretty clothes like hell. People laugh at...
Sign up to our newsletter
For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.