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Colin Kidd: Green Pastel Redness

Ayear​ after the Trump-inspired insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January 2021, the United States experienced a less obtrusive coup d’état: the hustled retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest of the three remaining liberals on the Supreme Court. The prematurely leaked announcement in late January took Breyer himself by surprise. But the leak...

Sofia Andrukhovych,Neal Ascherson,Ilya Budraitskis,James Butler,Andrew Cockburn,Meehan Crist,Sheila Fitzpatrick,Peter Geoghegan,Jeremy Harding,Owen Hatherley,Abby Innes,Mimi Jiang,Thomas Jones,Laleh Khalili,Jackson Lears,Donald MacKenzie,Thomas Meaney,James Meek,Pankaj Mishra,Azadeh Moaveni,Jan-Werner Müller,Vadim Nikitin,Jacqueline Rose,Jeremy Smith,Daniel Soar,Olena Stiazhkina,Vera Tolz,Daniel Trilling: Day 5, Day 9, Day 16

Sofia Andrukhovych, Neal Ascherson, Ilya Budraitskis, James Butler, Andrew Cockburn, Meehan Crist, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Peter Geoghegan, Jeremy Harding, Owen Hatherley, Abby Innes, Mimi Jiang, Thomas Jones, Laleh Khalili, Jackson Lears, Donald MacKenzie, Thomas Meaney, James Meek, Pankaj Mishra, Azadeh Moaveni, Jan-Werner Müller, Vadim Nikitin, Jacqueline...

Julian Bell: So Much for Caligula

Gaius​ Suetonius Tranquillus was a scholar and man of letters on the imperial payroll in early second-century Rome. Around 120 ce he completed his Lives of the Caesars, a set of biographies informed by his access to official libraries and his longstanding insider status at court. Suetonius began with the career of Julius Caesar, whose rise to political...

Stephen Sedley: Keep the baby safe

Everyone​  knows that Mervyn Griffith-Jones QC asked an Old Bailey jury in 1960 whether Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a book they would want their wives or servants to read. The jury – which included three women – is said to have laughed. Its acquittal of Penguin on a charge of violating the newly minted Obscene Publications Act 1959 is widely regarded...

David Runciman: Short Cuts

The​ Netflix series Colin in Black and White, about the early life of the NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick, begins by comparing American football to slavery. We are shown a group of Black football players having their bodies prodded and measured by white coaches, as they decide who fits the bill and who gets tossed on the scrapheap....

James Butler: Thou Old Serpent!

Marthe​ Brossier, a provincial demoniac, had caused a stir in Orléans and Cléry before being brought to Paris in 1599. Her sponsors, probably members of the zealous Capuchin order, timed her arrival for just before Easter, when Lenten devotions among the Catholic faithful were nearing their climax. Furious at Henri IV’s edict of toleration for his Protestant...

Tony Wood: Why didn’t they stop it?

It is too early to tell exactly how bad the consequences of Russia’s senseless and unnecessary war against Ukraine will be. The least pessimistic scenario – a short war followed by a ceasefire – still entails widespread destruction and suffering in Ukraine. And the situation could get even worse, as further players become involved in a proxy war that...

William Davies: How many words does it take to make a mistake?

‘Perhaps we could start with you telling us what you understand by the term “plagiarism”.’ I don’t know how many times I’ve spoken these words over the last two years. Twenty or thirty perhaps. In my role as chair of the exam board in my department it falls to me to chair plagiarism hearings, and this awkward icebreaker serves as a way of establishing...

Amber Medland: On Caleb Femi

In​ 1765, at the age of eight, William Blake had a vision while walking on Peckham Rye. He saw ‘a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough’. If Blake had kept going, he would have crossed the site which in 1969 became the North Peckham Estate. In postwar Britain, this forty-acre ‘mega-estate’, comprising 1444 homes in 65...

Neal Ascherson: Big Boss in Fast Cars

Less​ than a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a travelling exhibition arrived in Kerch on the Crimean Peninsula. Filling several rooms in the Kerch museum, it was a display – a small selection – of the gifts laid at the feet of Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev while he was general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the second most...

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