The Current Issue

October 2021, Issue 501 Richard Vinen on coal in Britain * Owen Bennett-Jones on Kashmir * Steven Nadler on Spinoza * James Blitz on Michel Barnier’s Brexit diary * Richard Davenport-Hines on Chips Channon’s diaries * Miranda Seymour on Catherine Dior * Jane Ridley on the royals & spying * Dennis Duncan on Isidore Isou * Anoosh Chakelian on Labour’s red wall * Dmitri Levitin on philology in the Renaissance * Frances Wilson on heroines in folklore * Tim Blanning on George III * James Stourton on the postwar country house * Keith Miller on Jonathan Franzen * Leo Robson on Sally Rooney * Sheena Joughin on Elizabeth Strout  and much, much more…

Steven Nadler

Spinoza’s Religion: A New Reading of the Ethics

By Clare Carlisle

‘Are you religious?’ and ‘Do you believe in God?’ are notoriously difficult questions to answer. The problem, of course, is that one is not sure what is being asked, and especially what is meant by ‘religious’ and ‘God’. Must one even believe in God, in whatever sense of the term, in order to be religious? Could not an atheist-, someone who is not merely agnostic about the existence of a deity but who positively denies that there is any such thing, nonetheless sincerely and legitimately claim to be a religious person? In her wonderful new book, Spinoza’s Religion, Clare Carlisle addresses these questions from the perspective of... read more

More Articles from this Issue

Richard Vinen

The Miner’s Lament

Coal used to be everywhere in Britain. Without it, there would have been no foundries, no trains and no gas lamps. Just after the First World War, there were over a million miners. They exercised a powerful influence on the labour movement even, and perhaps especially, after they had left the mines. Anyone looking at strikes in Birmingham factories will come across men who had started their working lives underground in South Wales and migrated to escape unemployment... read more

Owen Bennett-Jones

Kashmir at the Crossroads: Inside a 21st-Century Conflict

By Sumantra Bose

In the summer of 2020, soldiers from China and India engaged in unarmed combat in an icy Himalayan river. Some of the men used rocks to crush their opponents’ heads and, according to one version, the Chinese pushed Indian captives off a cliff. At least twenty Indian soldiers and four Chinese were killed. For a couple of reasons, this highly newsworthy clash between two nuclear powers received scant... read more

Keith Miller


By Jonathan Franzen

In a daring break from precedent, Jonathan Franzen’s new novel is a hefty, fine-grained composite portrait of a somewhat unhappier than average American family at a moment of tremendous social change. There is a fair bit of exposition but important things are left unsaid. Often, a chapter opens with some brief scene-setting remarks about the weather. Large subjects – sex, drugs, rock, roll, the sanctity or otherwise of marriage, the heritability of... read more

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