Mary-Kay Wilmers

Mary-Kay Wilmers helped to found the LRB in 1979 and was its editor for many years. Her pieces have been collected as Human Relations and Other Difficulties. She is now the paper’s consulting editor.

John Sturrock

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 21 September 2017

It​ was John who had the idea that I should say something about his professional life at his funeral. It was a very nice idea and I’m glad – not to say flattered – that he had it. But I found it a spookily hard thing to do. ‘Spooky’ because every time I thought I had a point to make I heard myself checking it with John – ‘Is that right?’...


Destined to Disappear

19 October 2016

Mary-Kay Wilmers writes: As it happens Pankaj Mishra quoted Tom Buchanan quoting the same passage in his review of Niall Ferguson’s Civilisation (LRB, 3 November 2011). Strange.

Subjective Correlative

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 11 August 2016

In January​ 1961 I came to London and started looking for a job. I’d graduated the previous June and been told by the person in charge of women’s appointments that the best I could hope for was a job as a typist. In March I started work at Faber, as the advertising manager’s secretary. Faber was T.S. Eliot’s firm: my father was very impressed. I shared an office with...

Diary: On Jenny Diski

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 19 May 2016

I’m​ Jenny Diski. You therefore aren’t,’ Jenny Diski said in a piece she’d been eager to write about a new edition of The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, a book – famous in its day – about three long-term asylum inmates each of whom believed he was Christ. We are who we are, Milton Rokeach, the book’s author, argued, because we know that by definition...

What a Mother: Marianne Moore and Her Mother

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 3 December 2015

Marianne Moore was born in her mother’s childhood bedroom; grown up, she lived with her mother – most often shared her bed – until her mother died. She was then 59 and her mother 85; she lived another 25 years and died a happy spinster, a famous poet and a grande dame. Mary Warner Moore – the mother in question – had scarcely had a mother, which must be to the point. The one she was born to died two years later and the aunt who replaced her was judged unsatisfactory and dismissed after less than a year – two mothers lost before she was three.

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