Tenth Anniversary: Four Editors Remember

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Anne Smith Founding Editor 1979-1981 I used to say to journalists who interviewed me about the start of Literary Review that I did it because the TLS was on strike and no-one else seemed to care enough about books to try to fill the awful gap it left. I would add that even when it […]

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Public Lending Right as an Insult

Posted on by David Gelber

February is the month when the Public Lending Right computers eventually produce the sums they have been mulling over since June. The result is that 17,594 registered authors share between them the sum of £3,072,000. This should give the authors an average of £174.61p each, to compensate them for the free gift of their work […]

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December 1989 Pulpit

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

The Betjeman society, dedicated to celebrating the memory of the country’s greatest – perhaps its only seriously excellent – poet of this century, is planning to hold an afternoon thé dansant at the Waldorf Hotel, Aldwych on Saturday 16th December, from 3.30 pm until 6.30 pm, for those who can stand the pace. The organiser, […]

November 1989

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

The height of the literary prize season, when everybody – or nearly everybody – is talking about books, might, perhaps, be a good time to talk about politics instead. In six years as a political correspondent – first for Spectator, then for Private Eye – the only useful thing I learned was that even fewer […]

History Lesson

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

For historians this is the best and worst of times. Our numbers have boomed over the last forty years and the subjects we tackle have multiplied to match. The output of rubbish, of course, has grown proportionately; but the good scholarship – convincingly imagined, richly researched, vividly evoked, fascinating and new – has exploded.

The Fruits of Old Age

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Nobody objected to proposals in the House of Commons for a Warm Homes Bill providing increased grants for old people to insulate and heat their homes in winter. It may seem an entirely benign suggestion but I wonder if the Commons are out of touch with public opinion. What the Warm Homes Bill Campaign is […]

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Posted on by Tom Fleming

Looking through Bloomsbury’s Spring catalogue a month or so ago, l found myself reflecting, in more than usually despondent terms, on the way in which fiction gets reviewed in this country. Seen en masse, books are rather sickly things – especially the sort singled magazine books pages, if not one by David Park or Christopher […]

Another Approach to Criticism

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

The growing success of Greenwich’s infamous Dome – at any rate among schoolchildren at half-term – has led to calls for those who criticised it in the first place to eat their words. My friend and colleague Richard Ingrams has a robust answer to this suggestion. Even if the project can succeed in paying for […]

In Eliot’s Footsteps

Posted on by David Gelber

Dr George Steiner, the international literary polymath and extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, recently published an uncharacteristically accessible manifesto in the page six ‘Why, oh Why?’ spot of the Daily Mail in which he announced that the age of the book was coming to an end. He welcomed this development for two reasons: that […]

Too Early for Us to Be Thankful

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The news of William Rushton’s death came just as the magazine was waiting to go to press, its departure delayed by a random and capricious power cut which removed all electricity from Lexington Street but practically nowhere else. The staff of the Literary Review were sitting around in Andrew Edmunds wine bar, shivering over some […]

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Towards a Discreet Form of Censorship

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

It was only two days after the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction ceremony at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand that Mr Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, revealed that he also has written a salacious novel. A couple of fruity extracts were released at the same time to whet our appetites. Might Gingrich have […]

Nobody Loves Them, Nobody Cares

Posted on by David Gelber

In the new boastful atmosphere being encouraged by Tony Blair, where Britons are supposed to take pride in the notion that we make the best vacuum cleaners, the best pop music, design the best cushions, nobody has had much to say about the nation’s writers. In fact, it was noticeable that once again in this […]

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Woe be Unto Thee, O Moab!

Posted on by David Gelber

My December sermon from the pulpit, as a few people may remember, ended with a paean of praise and thanks to Stephen Fry, who kindly agreed to present the prizes at the Literary Review’s annual award for Bad Sex in Fiction – won this year by Nicholas Royle, whose original and stimulating novel The Matter […]

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No Literary Mafia in This House

Posted on by David Gelber

Several people have enquired why we carried no review of Stephen Fry’s autobiography, Moab is my Washpot (Hutchinson £16.99), in a magazine which boasts of its efforts to cover all the month’s worthwhile books at the beginning of the month they are due to appear. They will be puzzled to see no review even in […]

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