Karl Miller

Karl Miller was the first editor of the LRB.

Northern Laughter: Macrone on Scott

Karl Miller, 10 October 2013

Students of the life and works of Walter Scott and James Hogg may have glimpsed the shadowy, not to say meteoric, not to say dubious presence of the publisher John Macrone, and learned of his prompt desire, after Scott’s death in September 1832, to write his Life, basing it to a large extent on rural informants. Here was the promise of a main event in the comet’s six-year visit to...

This book is preceded by two two-volume books that have been praised by journalists to the skies. They belong to a grand design, to a project set to tell the story of modern Britain (modern England as a rule) from 1945 to 1979; the present instalment, Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, covers the narrow gap from 1957 to 1959. David Kynaston tells the story in his own measured words, and he also...

Pouting: Smiley and Bingham

Karl Miller, 9 May 2013

John le Carré has now published 23 books, the Great Bear of that night sky being the series of novels lit by the round English gentleman, spymaster George Smiley, he who wipes his glasses with the thick end of his unfailing tie. Among the features of these spy stories is a concern with patriotism and uncertainty, not least with the uncertainties of patriotism. There are passages which...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher is the third most written about person in the ‘LRB’ archive, after Shakespeare and Freud. Here Karl Miller’s memories of the paper in her day are accompanied by extracts from some of the pieces published at the time.

On the morning Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced, the lesser lights of television who were minding the shop did her proud. A river...

Gallivanting: Edna O’Brien

Karl Miller, 22 November 2012

‘They ran that woman out of County Clare,’ said one of the plain people of the West of Ireland, following the notoriety caused by Edna O’Brien’s fine first novel, The Country Girls, published in 1960. The notoriety was echoed in England: the last of England’s eminent Edwardian novelists, L.P. Hartley, described the novel, she has recalled, as ‘the skittish...

About Myself: James Hogg

Liam McIlvanney, 18 November 2004

On a winter’s evening in 1803, James Hogg turned up for dinner at the home of Walter Scott. The man his host liked to call ‘the honest grunter’ was shown into the drawing-room,...

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Roaming the stations of the world: Seamus Heaney

Patrick McGuinness, 3 January 2002

In a shrewd and sympathetic essay on Dylan Thomas published in The Redress of Poetry, Seamus Heaney found a memorable set of metaphors for Thomas’s poetic procedures: he ‘plunged into...

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Disastered Me

Ian Hamilton, 9 September 1993

On the train, sunk on dusty and sagging cushions in our corner seats, Lotte and I spoke of our attachment to one another. I was as weak as I could be when I got off the train. We made our way to...

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Being two is half the fun

John Bayley, 4 July 1985

‘The principal thing was to get away.’ So Conrad wrote in A Personal Memoir, and there is a characteristic division between the sobriety of the utterance, its air of principled and...

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Adulterers’ Distress

Philip Horne, 21 July 1983

The order in which we read the short stories in a collection makes a difference. Our hopping and skipping out of sequence can often disturb the lines or blunt the point of a special arrangement,...

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