Anatomist of Evil

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

When Hannah Arendt looked at the man wearing an ill-fitting suit in the bulletproof dock inside a Jerusalem courtroom in 1961, she saw something different from everybody else. The prosecution, writes Lyndsey Stonebridge, ‘saw an ancient crime in modern garb, and portrayed Eichmann as the latest monster in the long history of anti-Semitism who had simply used novel methods to take hatred for Jews to a new level’. Arendt thought otherwise. Adolf Eichmann was on trial after being captured by Israeli agents in Argentina and brought to Israel to face charges of being a leading organiser of the Holocaust. Arendt was there to report on the trial for the New Yorker.

Postcolonial Pains

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Posters went up in my part of London a few weeks ago advertising a talk on Frantz Fanon and decolonisation. As the war rages in Israel and Gaza, Fanon is once again invoked, as he has been many times since his death in 1961, for his insights into the plight of the colonised and the […]

Masters of None?

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Academics like few things more than to complain about the state of their profession. A recurrent gripe is that their fields have descended into hyper-specialisation, with an overload of knowledge – books, articles and now various forms of digital material – leading to the death of the great generalists of yesteryear, who were able to leap bravely

Cherchez la Femme?

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Armand D’Angour’s Socrates in Love is a terrific read. Part novelistic fantasy biography, part deeply serious, source-based reconstruction, it will appeal in varying ways and measures to readers of different tastes and personal predilections. At one level it is an – I think probably doomed – attempt at Sherlock Holmes-style detection. At another level it […]

When Knowledge Met Power

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Denis Diderot, at Catherine the Great’s insistent invitation, spent the autumn and winter of 1773–4 in St Petersburg. It was the worst time of year for an ageing philosopher, underdressed, plagued by catarrh and colic and determined not to be the cause of unnecessary expenditure or trouble. Catherine had already ‘bought’ him by purchasing his […]

Going for Gold

Posted on by David Gelber

‘Historians of alchemy’, wrote Herbert Butterfield in 1949, ‘seem to become tinctured with the kind of lunacy they set out to describe.’ Seventy years on, readers may believe that this gloriously rude assessment needs no updating. But what, then, are we to make of the fact that the greatest scientific hero of them all, that model of geometric rationality, Isaac Newton, devoted a great proportion of his life to the pursuit

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March