"Our technology has outpaced us to the degree that human understanding is no longer at the centre of it." Olivia Sudjic
Moments in literature
Thinking and feeling

Thinking and feeling

In 1978 Jonathan Cott, a contributing editor of Rolling Stone magazine, interviewed Susan Sontag first in Paris and later in New York. Only a third of their twelve hours of discussion made it to print. Now Yale University Press has published a complete transcript of their conversation, accompanied by Cott’s preface and recollections. Sontag’s musings...
'This place is loathsome': A letter from Hollywood

‘This place is loathsome': A letter from Hollywood

With the arrival of the Talkies, numerous possibilities opened up for the film industry. The late thirties were, Wodehouse recalls, “an era when only a man of exceptional ability and determination could keep from getting signed up by a studio in some capacity or other”.1 As an Englishman in Beverly Hills, Wodehouse was not really...
A bloody week

A bloody week

Saturday 13 October 1660 To my Lord’s in the morning, where I met with Captain Cuttance, but my Lord not being up I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was presently...
A state of affairs worth fighting for

A state of affairs worth fighting for

Homage to Catalonia chronicles George Orwell’s experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War. He brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity as he describes the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic time: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he...
But not me

But not me

Reproduced below is the first letter Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., wrote to his family after being released as a prisoner of war in 1945. It recounts his witnessing of the firebombing of Dresden, an experience that would shape his later work including Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). The horrors of war are delivered in a devastating deadpan and a...
The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement

The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement

After graduating from Cambridge in 1791, William Wordsworth travelled to France and found himself swept up in the ideals of the French Revolution (and, not unconnected, into the arms of the passionately rebellious Annette Vallon, with whom he fathered a daughter). The subsequent Reign of Terror and counter-revolution would modify his views on revolution as...