A Regular Grey

Jonathan Parry

Tohave one brother killed by an African animal would be a misfortune. To lose two, at different times, is surely remarkable. Such was the distinction of Sir Edward Grey, who served as foreign secretary from 1905 to 1916. A lion got his brother George, who was hunting in British East Africa in 1911: excited for the kill, he galloped too near his prey, missed and was mauled. Charles, having...

 

Risk-Free Assassinations

Andrew Cockburn

Amidthe death and destruction of the current conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, one shining success story has emerged: the Turkish-designed and manufactured Bayraktar TB2 drone, widely credited with stellar results against Armenian forces. ‘Thanks to advanced Turkish drones owned by the Azerbaijan military, our casualties on the front shrank,’ Azerbaijan’s...

Diary

America is a baby

Patricia Lockwood

On Election Day,​ as soon as the polls closed, I had to watch the three-hour-long 1972 movie musical 1776. You almost certainly haven’t seen it, so I’ll summarise it for you. The year is – well, you know that part – and the flies of patriotism are buzzing in the room in colonial Philadelphia where the Second Continental Congress is refusing to debate a proposal for...

 

The Corbyn Project

James Butler

Broad scope and lofty ambitions can conceal ambiguities and faultlines. Was the goal of the project primarily to wind the clock back, to undo the changes Kinnock and Blair had wrought within the party, and Thatcher in the country as a whole, by returning the trade unions to a central position in Labour and chasing a romanticised version of the postwar settlement? Or was it to bring the post-2008, post-austerity generation which had been so enthused by Corbyn into formal, institutional politics? Could the two ambitions be bridged? Why was it important to change the party’s structure, and how could it happen? Was it intended to put decision-making power back into the hands of union leaders or give it to individual members? How could the middle layers of the party be brought on side? When talking about ‘the project’, who was included? Corbyn and his staff and advisers in Westminster, or the wider circle of activists and party members, or supporters in the country generally? During the last 18 months of his leadership, Corbyn himself, the one man who had sufficient power to impose clarity on any of these questions, seemed barely involved.

 

Consumptive Chic

Kate Retford

Emma Hart, on the right, dancing the tarantella with a friend (1796).

In​ the 1770s, Ann Frankland Lewis began producing watercolour paintings of fashionable women’s dress. She continued creating these images for more than thirty years, charting the extraordinary changes that were taking place. They meticulously chronicle the demise of the early 18th-century mantua dress: the...

Close Readings

Podcast

Close Readings

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford’s ‘revolutionary … ★★★★★’ (The Times) podcast about British and American poets from the long 20th century.

 

Cyberpunk’d

Niela Orr

Late​ in the evening, early this century, Washington Square West, Philadelphia. Washington Square West overlaps an area identified by W.E.B. Du Bois in The Philadelphia Negro as the Seventh Ward, the site of many places famous in Black history: Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church; the Institute for Coloured Youth; the home of Frances E.W. Harper, one of the first Black American women to have her...

 

Baroque Excess

Erin Maglaque

FernandBraudel’s wife, Paule, remembered sitting with him on a wintry day at a café in Dubrovnik in the 1930s, watching a boat laden with firewood slowly coming into the port. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘we are in the 16th century.’ It was this sense of historical time that gave Braudel’s masterpiece, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age...

 

DeLillo tunes out

Andrew O’Hagan

DonDeLillo has been a catastrophist for so long that we only really get excited when life’s catastrophes go way beyond his predictions. That happened with 9/11, when the attack on the Twin Towers and their collapse in broad daylight made his warnings suddenly appear to have been too vague in meaning and too small in scale. His subsequent fictional account, Falling Man, seemed from...

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