News and reviews

Georg Forster reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement

Added on 27/03/2020

It is tempting to write the narrative of Georg Forster’s life as one of failure. The travel writer, essayist and political revolutionary died at the age of thirty-nine, impoverished, alone, and disillusioned in a Parisian garret in 1794.


A Little History of Poetry reviewed in the Daily Mail

Added on 21/03/2020

Roughly 250 years ago, James Boswell asked Dr Johnson: ‘What is poetry?’ ‘Why sir, it is much easier to say what it is not,’ replied Johnson. ‘We all know what light is; but it is not easy to tell what it is.’


Sebastian Faulks reviews A Little History of Poetry

Added on 15/03/2020

Last summer I tried to proselytise two people who said they couldn’t see the point of poetry. I read them extracts from Tennyson’s Ulysses, Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach and Charles Causley’s Eden Rock. They sat there stony-faced.


A Little History of Poetry reviewed in the Evening Standard

Added on 12/03/2020

What is poetry? John Carey asks at the start of this brief but comprehensive (or, to put it another way, cursory) history of the whole world’s poetry, running from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the late Les Murray.


A Little History of Poetry reviewed in the Times

Added on 04/03/2020

If you expected a book titled A Little History of Poetry to cutely recycle received wisdom about the literary canon, turn to page 50, where you will learn that many of Shakespeare’s sonnets “consist largely of complicated word-play…


An interview with John Carey in the Guardian

Added on 02/03/2020

The critic John Carey, 85, is emeritus Merton professor of English literature at Oxford University, where he taught for more than 40 years. He has written books about John Milton and John Donne as well as polemics against …


French Fashion, Women, and the First World War reviewed in the TLS

Added on 29/02/2020

This collection of essays claims to be the first look at the Venn diagram of its subject matter. As Maude Bass-Krueger states in her introduction, “society held women to double standards when it came to getting dressed during the war”.


The Ruins featured in GQ’s 10 coolest things of the week

Added on 25/02/2020

The debut from Suede founding member and bassist Mat Osman is an altered state of a novel, mixing the crime of LA noir, the ambient cityscapes of JG Ballard and dark language games of Thomas Pynchon.


Migrant City reviewed in the Spectator

Added on 24/02/2020

Every history of London — and there have been very many — has looked at the importance for the city of migration. Not to mention it would be as inconceivable as ignoring the River Thames. Both, after all, flow directly through the city’s heart.


Migrant City reviewed in the Sunday Times

Added on 23/02/2020

Anyone curious about the impact of migration on the history and culture of London could do worse than read the chapter on food in this exhaustive history. The capital’s first coffee house was opened in the 1650s by an Armenian…


Migrant City Book of the Week in the Evening Standard

Added on 21/02/2020

Fifteen minutes by train from Paddington, Southall is a “Little India” in the borough of Ealing. Set back amid the traffic in King Street is an ornate Hindu temple, and from the Punjabi stalls in Orchard Avenue you can buy jalebi.


The Lost Autobiography of Samuel Steward reviewed in the LRB

Added on 19/02/2020

By​ the time Samuel Steward began to write his autobiography in 1978, at the age of 69, he’d had sex more than four thousand times with more than eight hundred men. Each encounter was carefully recorded in his ‘Stud File’.