Playing Days by Benjamin Markovits

Playing Days by Benjamin Markovits Faber & Faber; Paperback; 322 pages; Price: 12.99 ISBN: 9780571251810 Rachel Harris Playing Days is a Sports Novel of sorts; though this should not deter the less athletic reader. For at every quiet turn of this unlikely bildungsroman – set against the basketball courts of a small German town – Benjamin Markovits frustrates generic convention. Postgame showers are an occasion … Continue reading Playing Days by Benjamin Markovits


Interview with James Shapiro

Copyright: Philippe Cheng James Shapiro is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and author of the award-winning 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. His most recent book, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? explores the origins and various incarnations of the authorship controversy surrounding Shakespeare’s plays. The Literateur was fortunate enough to meet James in London, and emailed off … Continue reading Interview with James Shapiro

Deep Country by Neil Ansell

Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills by Neil Ansell Hamish Hamilton; Hardback; ISBN 978-0241145005; Price £16.99; 206 pages Dan Eltringham There have been an awful lot of books around recently that revive the idea of a Thoreauvian withdrawal from modernity and a retreat into the apparently once again unproblematic conception of ‘nature.’ The tropes are, as they were for Thoreau at Walden Pond, … Continue reading Deep Country by Neil Ansell


What Was What

Robert Earle Thomas Frankenthaler—nicknamed “Doubting Tom,” or just “Doubter,” because he questioned the belief that there were things mankind could know and yet be unable to affect—initially gained fame for pens that improved handwriting. His first pen—the Gyro—revolutionized primary education by enabling young students to produce what Frankenthaler termed “Phillips 66 Cursive Supreme,” or simply, “Cursive Supreme.” Frankenthaler explained his inspiration in a 1976 PBS … Continue reading What Was What

Report: A Modern Good

Panel Discussion: The Good of the Novel London Review Bookshop 16th May 2011 Max Liu “The novel has always meant freedom to me,” says James Wood, at the start of tonight’s discussion at the London Review Bookshop. Wood is here, along with three other panelists, to discuss issues raised in The Good of the Novel, a collection of essays by eminent critics about some of … Continue reading Report: A Modern Good


What Would Orwell Do?

Report: Orwell Book Prize 2011 Church House, London 17th May 2011 Rona Cran The 2011 Orwell Book Prize was unanimously awarded to the late Tom Bingham, for his profound and eminently readable tour de force The Rule of Law, which Book Prize judge Will Skidelsky felt ‘cut to the heart of an issue that has immense importance across the world today’. Bingham’s widow received the … Continue reading What Would Orwell Do?


Report: The London Word Festival

The London Word Festival 7th April to 5th May 2011 Max Liu “Who wants to be a writer?” asks Stuart Evers and immediately the temperature drops in the Old Dalston Boys club. An audience who have hooted through the past two hours clam up, sinking into the art deco furniture. Stuffed animals and painted nudes stare from the shadows. “Liars,” says Evers, “you’ve come to a … Continue reading Report: The London Word Festival

Head of a Man by John Gilmore

Head of a Man by John Gilmore Reality Street; Paperback; 134 pages; ISBN: 978-1-874400-48-6 Price £9.50 Mike Bintley John Gilmore’s first novel, Head of a Man, is not a work that engages with healing, but rather with endurance. ‘In this vigil is my salvation. I must persist. I know no other way’, claims our narrator, from his position of what seems to be safety after … Continue reading Head of a Man by John Gilmore


Zero’s Neighbour by Hélène Cixous

Zero’s Neighbour: Sam Beckett Hélène Cixous, translated by Laurent Milesi Polity, pp85; ISBN-13:978-0-7456-4416-5 Publication date: May 2010RRP: £12.99 Phil Sidney Ah, Samuel Beckett- still at the crease after all these years! Along with P.G. Wodehouse (the other literary genius of the 20th century to merit an entry in Wisden), Beckett is still basking in the sunlight of readers’ attention (Nick Clegg among them), inspiring scores … Continue reading Zero’s Neighbour by Hélène Cixous

The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings by Robert Ferguson

The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings by Robert Ferguson Penguin Books, Paperback, 450pp, ISBN 978-0-141-01775-4 Price: £10.99 Eric Lacey In England, the Viking Age is generally accepted as beginning with the raid on Lindisfarne in 793 and ending in 1066 with the failure of Harald Hardrada’s (Old Norse Haraldr Harðráði) invasion at the defeat at Stamford Bridge, although as Ferguson … Continue reading The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings by Robert Ferguson