Long-form essay
Blogs and journaLism
The Price of Success: Britain’s Tumultuous 19th Century

In 1858, an exclusive Soho dining society known simply as “the Club” – attended by former and future Prime Ministers, prominent clergymen, poets and men of letters – debated the question of “the highest period of civilization” ever reached. It was, they decided, “in London at the present moment.” The following year, several books were … Continue reading The Price of Success: Britain’s Tumultuous 19th Century

book reviews history Victorian Britain
How The Past Became A Political Battlefield

  In recent years, a great deal has been written on the subject of group identity in politics, much of it aiming to understand how people in Western countries have become more likely to adopt a “tribal” or “us-versus-them” perspective. Naturally, the most scrutiny has fallen on the furthest ends of the spectrum: populist nationalism on … Continue reading How The Past Became A Political Battlefield

history identity populism
Eliot’s Waste Land and the crisis of artistic value

  What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead trees give no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water … Continue reading Eliot’s Waste Land and the crisis of artistic value

art reviews modernism Poetry
Please, Katie Hopkins and co, keep your culture wars out of South Africa

Before Jacob Zuma resigned the presidency last Thursday, South Africa was in the news for an altogether less promising reason. The British journalist Katie Hopkins went there two weeks ago, saying it was time to bring to the world’s attention the ongoing murder of white farmers. She and her supporters claim the mainstream media have ignored the subject, because … Continue reading Please, Katie Hopkins and co, keep your culture wars out of South Africa

crime identity politics south africa