Michael Newton

Michael Newton teaches 19th-century literature at Leiden University.

In​ ‘On the Circuit’, a poem about the circle of purgatory reserved for touring poet-lecturers, W.H. Auden mentioned the moments of unanticipated connection:

Or blessed encounter, full of joy Unscheduled on the Giesen Plan, With, here, an addict of Tolkien, There, a Charles Williams fan.

If Auden were on the circuit now, he’d still find plenty of Tolkien addicts, but...

The Thrill of It All: Zombies

Michael Newton, 18 February 2016

In Brussels​ in 2008 I stumbled on my first zombie apocalypse. I was with some friends when we came across a large assembly of the amateur undead lurching up the boulevard towards us. My friends’ toddler staggered towards the zombies; the zombies staggered towards him. Soon they were among us. Blood congealed around eye sockets; cuts slashed down cheeks; eyes whited out. One...

Where am I in all this? Pola Negri

Michael Newton, 19 February 2015

In​ Singin’ in the Rain (1952), the curtain rises on Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on the night of the premiere of The Royal Rascal (‘The Biggest Picture of 1927’). The crowd outside jostles and gawks at Monumental Pictures’ galaxy of stars. First to arrive, to cheers and wolf whistles, is Zelda Zanders, ‘darling of the flapper set’, an...

What a Ghost Wants: Laurent Binet

Michael Newton, 8 November 2012

Laurent Binet has written an excellent novel about the absurdity of writing any kind of novel at all. HHhH retells the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust, by two Czech special agents, Jozef Gabčik and Jan Kubiš, their subsequent deaths and the terrible retaliation enacted by the Nazis on the Czech people, which culminated in the...


Amis Resigns

21 June 2012

Contrary to what Adam Mars-Jones suggests, Martin Amis was not the first to use the term ‘murderee’ (LRB, 21 June). ‘It takes two people to make a murder,’ Rupert Birkin argues in Women in Love, ‘a murderer and a murderee. And a murderee is a man who is murderable. And a man who is murderable is a man who in a profound, if hidden lust, desires to be murdered.’

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences