All Features

The Wonder of Living: An Interview with Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi

by Andrew Marzoni

In August 2013, Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi published Inventing Peace: A Dialogue on Perception, a collaborative book which documents years of correspondence and conversation about peace — an attempt at what Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, to whom the book is dedicated, refers to as a ‘genuine dialogue.’ Wenders and Zournazi draw on works of philosophy, literature, visual art, and cinema to consider how peace may be achieved through a change in human perception, and how new media technologies – the agents of perception – can be used to heal a world overcome by violence and war, ego and illusion. [read full interview]

Towards a Common Culture: On Literature and the School Syllabus

by Alex Niven

Like many children of teachers growing up in the 1990s, in my schooldays I became familiar with the name of an unlikely bogeyman. To the world he was known as Chris Woodhead, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in England (1994-2000), though it was common in houses like ours to replace the first syllable of his surname with the shorter colloquial form of Richard. [read full essay]

Poetry as Product: An Interview with Sam Riviere

by Sam Buchan-Watts

Sam Riviere’s first book of poetry, 81 Austerities, won the Felix Dennis Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A new pamphlet, Standard Twin Fantasy, appeared recently from Egg Box Publishing, as part of their f.u.n.e.x series. It comprises seven pairs of poems, some of which were commissioned by AnOther magazine in 2012 to 'introduce' a set of fashion stories. Praised by the Guardian for its 'caustic glamour' and 'stylised paranoia', the pamphlet picks up where 81 Austerities left off, with its frenetic distrust of connection in a digital age of consumer capitalism. We spoke about eclipsing sources, pamphlets, notions of 'properness', and the aura that poems retain after they're reproduced. [read full interview]

Men of Letters: 100 Years of Hugh Trevor-Roper

by Minoo Dinshaw

The Oxford Examination Schools see a lot of action beside their official purpose. Here Christopher Ricks has displayed his agility and Geoffrey Hill his ferocity, during their respective reigns as Professor of Poetry. More recently the admirers of Hugh Trevor-Roper (1914-2003), Lord Dacre of Glanton and onetime Regius Professor of History, gathered here on a chilly January morning a few days before the centenary of his birth. Trevor-Roper’s literary executor, Blair Worden, welcomed the company – enough to fill the South School’s broad expanse – and said he believed ‘Hugh would be pleased, and indeed surprised.’ He also congratulated us on our range of ages. This range was technically rather than visibly wide; the glossy manes of a few young Prize Fellows of All Souls peeked out from the silver sea. [read full essay]

To Illuminate a Nocturne: The Life and Work of Martin Lewis

by DC Pae

As the final curtain fell on the glory days of printmaking, a new star of the ‘American Scene’ was in the ascent; the age of Edward Hopper would establish itself in popular consciousness - a shift that was to etch itself upon the psyche of modern art-history in a way that lithography no longer could. By the time of his death in 1962, Martin Lewis was all but forgotten by a world that had once embraced and celebrated the mastery of his craft. [read full essay]

Goodbye, Chauvinism: A First World War Primer

by James Heartfield

With the UK government gearing up to mark the forthcoming 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Conservative education secretary Michael Gove caused a minor media storm by claiming that anti-war accounts of the conflict were an insult to those who served in it, calling for a more ’patriotic’ version to be taught instead. He was roundly slapped down. As James Heartfield explains, Gove’s sentimentalism is entirely misplaced. [read full essay]

Imitation Modernism: An Interview with Perry Meisel

by Katie Da Cunha Lewin

Perry Meisel is a professor of English at New York University. He has written and lectured for over 40 years and is a prominent thinker in critical theory. Primarily researching structuralism, his work tackles a disparate range of subjects, from pop culture and Henry James, to rock & roll and the popular television show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. His most recent book is The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan. [read full interview]

It Is What It Isn't! A Defence of Dialectic

by John P. Clark

There is no philosophical concept more commonly misused, misinterpreted or misunderstood than that of dialectic. At the same time, there are few that can match its significance. Dialectics sit at the heart of Hegelianism, they are the pivot around which Marxism turns and their roots stretch back to the first principles of Buddhist and Daoist thought. John P. Clark writes an articulate defence of the form, explaining its nuances and arguing that only through a truly dialectical social theory can we hope to challenge the contradictions of late capitalism. [read full essay]

Small is Beautiful: In Defence of Independent Publishing

by Robin Baird-Smith

The figures would suggest the book industry is doing well, but that seems to be mainly down to sales of cookbooks and ghost-written celebrity autobiographies. Lively, independent presses are still out there, but they are increasingly few and far between. From the initial influx of American capital in the 1970s to today’s myriad mergers and ‘fusions' Robin Baird-Smith reflects on how 40 years of brazen commercialism has squeezed independent publishers almost entirely out of the picture. [read full essay]

Confessions of a Lapsed Leavisite

by David Stubbs

The influential academic and literary critic FR Leavis has cast a long shadow over English literature. Looking back over his own student years, David Stubbs recalls being wowed by Leavis's brilliance and passion, while also being exasperated by his withering disdain for the popular culture of the post-war era. [read full essay]