Non Fiction

Sylvia Plath wrote her last letter to the American psychiatrist Dr Ruth Beuscher a week prior to her suicide on 11 February 1963. In it, Plath castigates herself for being guilty of ‘Idolatrous love’, a concept she drew from psychoanalyst and philosopher Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. ‘I lost myself in Ted instead of finding myself ...

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When Alan Rusbridger was a young journalist on the Cambridge Evening News, he fell in love with a university leturer. One night, after they moved in together, there was a knock on their door. A reporter and photographer from the Sunday Mirror wanted to tell the story of their romance to the four million people who ...

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Gareth Evans diagnosed the affliction of leaving government as relevance deprivation syndrome. For those who worked in the Obama administration, leaving the White House must have presented deeper maladies: the bewildering success of a reviled political opponent and a profound sense of missed opportunities. Two recently released memoirs by former Obama staffers grapple with this reality in very different ways.

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When I went to live in London in 1970, the dissolution of the British Empire had yet to reach its final stages. (While Fiji became independent that year, Hong Kong would not be transferred to China till 1997). The Commonwealth seemed like a glorious roseate hue ...

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Michael Sexton reviews 'Stern Justice' by Adam Wakeling

Michael Sexton
Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Justice or vengeance? This is always the question raised by war crimes trials, although it might be noted that they are a relatively recent historical phenomenon. Some were proposed at the end of the Great War but never eventuated. The original and best known is, of course, Nuremberg at the end of World War II ...

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During the 1960s and 1970s, student radicals protested that their places of learning were getting too close to industry and government. In 1970, Monash University students occupied the university’s Careers and Appointments Office to oppose the use of the university as a recruiting ground for companies ...

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How does consciousness, the feeling of what happens, emerge from the object that Tim Parks describes in this engaging book as ‘a gruesome pinkish grey, vaguely intestinal lump’? Is mind identical with brain, is it secreted by it in some fashion, or does it, as some philosophers suggest, mysteriously ‘supervene’ on ...

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Billy Griffiths reviews 'Burning Planet' by Andrew C. Scott

Billy Griffiths
Tuesday, 27 November 2018

A few years ago I walked through a burning landscape with a young archaeobotanist, Xavier. We were in Arnhem Land, and the local Indigenous landowners had lit a low-intensity fire – a cool burn – to encourage new growth and reduce the fuel load around nearby settlements. The newly blackened landscape looked clean, even beautiful ...

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A country that fails its purge is about to fail its renovation,’ warned French-Algerian writer Albert Camus in a January 1945 editorial. Camus’ ominous edict, issued in the weeks following the end of Germany’s occupation of France, encapsulates something of what Agnès Poirier is trying to say in this ...

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There is something oddly Jesuitical about this arresting, if not quite thrilling, collection of essays in defence of Modernism (and so modernity). It may be Krishna that Amit Chaudhuri champions, rather than Catholic doctrine, or at least Krishna’s delight in ‘the infinitely tantalizing play, chicanery, and ...

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