If Britain does indeed vote ‘Leave’, and the gradual disintegration of the European Union were to gather pace, what would be left of ‘the idea of Europe’? Thoughts on the continued relevance of a classic lecture by George Steiner.
The meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
In Richard Seymour the Corbyn phenomenon has found its ideal commentator: this is a powerful analysis that will frustrate both the new Labour leader’s opponents and supporters.
The ‘Scottification’ of literature: now and then
Kirsty Gunn has warned of the dangers of “Scottification” in public support for the arts in Scotland. But the issue is far from new. We look back at the House with Green Shutters and George Orwell on ‘Englishness’ to probe further.
Paris Commune: transcendence of nationalism
In the second of an occasional series looking at the lively contemporary ‘postcapitalism’ debate about possibilities for a viable alternative to the current economic order, Justin Reynolds reviews a book charting the continued influence of a bold, brief-lived experiment that took place 145 years in the heart of a major European city.
‘That bloody poster’: exploring Austerity Nostalgia
It’s now some seven years since the notorious ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ sign appeared. Owen Hatherley’s The Ministry of Nostalgia is a witty, exasperated and ferociously well-read exploration of the ‘Austerity Nostalgia’ phenomenon and its politicisation, with parties of both left and right drawing upon competing mythologies of wartime Britain to support their respective positions towards today’s austerity.
Onwards and upwards: the hubris of hope
What is hope? What would it mean to wish that 2016 will be any better than 2015? As we enter the New Year the latest book by the prolific Terry Eagleton, Hope Without Optimism, offers a brief but wide-ranging meditation on the meaning of a seemingly simple concept that escapes easy definition.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – today’s Homeric epic
For those of a certain age the success of the latest episode in the Star Wars series seems strangely important. Reflections on the abiding popularity of a cultural icon.
Inventing the Future: a world beyond neoliberalism
Is a future beyond neoliberalism possible? Justin Reynolds begins a new series of reviews of recent books that seek to imagine an alternative (left) economic and political order.
London Overgrown: the ‘rewilding’ of a city
A new collection by electronica pioneer John Foxx imagining the rewilding of London offers a sonic tour through a new green city including ‘The Glades of Soho’ and ‘The Hanging Gardens of Shoreditch’.
Politics, poetry, imagination: a life of Shelley
In an age ever more obsessed with the importance of crafting effective political ‘stories’ and ‘narratives’, Jacqueline Mulhallen’s Percy Bysshe Shelley: Poet and Revolutionary is a timely review of the life and work of a poet writing 200 years ago acutely aware of the vital role the imagination plays in extending the horizons of political possibility.