All Features

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]

The Brixton Bard: An Interview with Alex Wheatle

by Farzana Rahman

Alex Wheatle’s novels explore the themes of racism, poverty, youth unemployment and discrimination with confidence and nuance. His most recent novel, Brenton Brown, was published by Arcadia in 2011. Frazana Rahman asked Alex to discuss some of his thoughts on ‘black British writing'. [read full interview]

Things to Make and Use: On Beauty, Design and Work

by Jeffrey Petts

Visiting London’s annual Design Festival, Jeffrey Petts contrasts the utopian aspirations of 21st-century design and architecture – from bathroom taps and 3D printers to the city’s new tall buildings – with an ‘arts and crafts’ view of 'soul-making' work, an idea reinvigorated for urban living in a recent exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. [read full essay]

Subversive At All Times: An Interview with Emma Wright

by Tom Cutterham

Emma Wright quit her day-job in publishing to start a poetry press, The Emma Press, which published its first volume, The Flower and the Plough, earlier this year. With an Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse launched on 26 September, Wright's project is picking up steam. We spoke to her about ambitions, aesthetics, and the elusive ground of the 'mildly erotic.' [read full interview]

Peace - or Palestinian Surrender? An Interview with Norman Finkelstein

by Matt Hill

Norman G. Finkelstein is a man of contradictions. He is the Brooklyn-born son of concentration camp survivors who has enraged American Jews by denouncing the cynicism of what he calls the 'Holocaust industry'. He is a polemicist and inveterate contrarian who demolishes his opponents by scouring footnotes and soberly checking facts. In this wide-ranging interview with Review 31 to mark the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Finkelstein turns his fire on the 'silly, sectarian, cultist politics' of the pro-Palestinian movement and defends Israel’s right to a peaceful existence as part of a two-state settlement. At the same time, he pulls no punches on the revived 'peace process', dismissing it as an attempt to impose a 'historic defeat' on the Palestinians. [read full interview]

'We’re British - There’s No Cure For That': An Interview with Lars Iyer

by Marc Farrant

Lars Iyer is a lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where he is one of the country's foremost Maurice Blanchot scholars. He is also the real-life embodiment of the fictionalised narrator 'Lars' in his trilogy comprising the novels Spurious (2010), Dogma (2012) and, most recently, Exodus (2013), all published by Melville House. Here, he discusses the destitution of academic life under the conditions of contemporary neoliberal society; the exhaustion of thought and thinking; the relation between literature and philosophy; and what it means to be British and attempt to think. [read full interview]

From Romantic Citizen to Tragic Victim: An Interview with Jennifer Mercieca

by Tom Cutterham

Jennifer Mercieca is an associate professor at Texas A&M University. She writes about the history of rhetoric and discourse in America, from the revolution in her first book, Founding Fictions (University of Alabama Press, 2010), to Barack Obama in her second, an edited volume, The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations. Here, she discusses apathy, citizenship, and the role of rhetoric in political change. [read full interview]

Back to the Past: An Interview with Ned Beauman

by Charlotte Geater

Ned Beauman is a British novelist who lives in New York. He is 28. He’s had two novels published by Sceptre - Boxer, Beetle and The Teleportation Accident - and his third book, Glow, will be published in 2014. He was named one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists of 2013. His first two novels play with the conventions of historical fiction and jump between different time periods, but both are partly set in a 1930s German diaspora, and are concerned with the rise of Nazism. Charlotte Geater spoke to him about totalising systems and sympathetic characters in fiction. [read full interview]

Don Draper, the Devil and Democracy: An Interview with Adam Kotsko

by Tom Cutterham

Adam Kotsko is a professor at Shimer College in Chicago. He has written both academic theology and books on pop culture, including Awkwardness, which uses works including The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Knocked Up to examine the fundamentally social – and fundamentally awkward – nature of human existence. Kotsko is also the translator of Italian philosopher and historian Georgio Agamben, a regular blogger and tweeter of sardonic quips. [read full interview]

The Freedom to Publish: An Interview with Rafik Schami

by Luke Neima

Rafik Schami was born in Syria in 1946 but fled to Germany in 1971, where he has been living in exile for the past 40 years. While in Germany he co-founded the literary groups Südwind and PoLiKunst to help popularize immigrant literature; he writes only in German, and his most recent novel, The Dark Side of Love, is translated by Anthea Bell. Schami has won numerous international awards and has been translated into 23 languages. He and Barbara Schwepke of Haus Publishing have recently founded Swallow Editions, an imprint dedicated to bringing Arabic literature to the West. [read full interview]