Jane Miller

Jane Miller’s books include Crazy Age and In My Own Time. She first wrote for the LRB in 1979.

Desert Hours

Jane Miller, 16 March 2023

When I was​ 78, I wrote a book about being old. I don’t think I’d ever felt the need to swim more than twenty lengths at that time, let alone record my paltry daily achievements. Now I put letters and numbers in my diary (a sort of code) to remind me that I’ve walked at least five thousand Fitbit steps and swum a kilometre, which is forty lengths of the pool.

With what I...

News from No One

Jane Miller, 21 January 2021

I’ve​ had several official letters recently (including two in one week) telling me to look out because I’m a ‘clinically extremely vulnerable person’. They’re signed by ‘Matt’, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Another government minister, Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, signs them too,...

At Home

Jane Miller, 4 June 2020

It’sapril, and beyond our back wall a line of ambulances is queuing up to deliver sick passengers to the hospital. We are self-isolated, safe in our fortress, as we wait on our order from the local bakery. This will be delivered too. An innocent contrast perhaps, though hardly benign. We are a month into coronavirus time. I began it by rereading Camus and then The Betrothed by...

New Romance

Jane Miller, 14 May 1992

Within the first half-page of Toni Morrison’s novel, an 18-year-old girl has been shot dead by her middle-aged lover, and his wife has been manhandled from the funeral after attempting to cut the dead girl’s face with a knife. Both events are witnessed and kept secret by a community which has reason to distrust the police and to look kindly upon a hitherto gentle, childless couple, whose sudden, violent sorrows they recognise and are able to forgive. And as the spring of that year, 1926, bursts a month or two later upon the ‘City’ of this extraordinary novel, its all-seeing gossip of a narrator is moved to declare – if only provisionally – that ‘history is over, you all, and everything’s ahead at last.’’


Homage to Gissing

7 March 1991

Jane Miller writes: Professor Coustillas has devoted much of his life to George Gissing’s work, and he admires the novels more than I am able to do. I am obliged to him for the points he makes about the first volume of the letters and about Gissing’s friendship with Clara Collet.

What We Are Last: Old Age

Rosemary Hill, 21 October 2010

There is something irreducible about old age, even now when, in the West at least, the several stages of life have become blurred. The Ages of Man, which until the 1950s seemed as distinct as the...

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Feminist Perplexities

Dinah Birch, 11 October 1990

Not so long ago, the most prestigious intellectual work, in the arts as in the sciences, was supposed to be impersonal. The convention was that the circumstances in which such work was produced...

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Pen Men

Elaine Showalter, 20 March 1986

One of the more useful side-effects of the widely-publicised troubles at the International PEN Congress held this January in New York may ironically have been the new timeliness which Norman...

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Gift of Tongues

John Edwards, 7 July 1983

Bilingualism, multiculturalism, ethno-linguistic identity – they may not be words to conjure with, but much conjuring has nevertheless been done with them. Even the most casual observer can...

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