Eliot Weinberger

Eliot Weinberger’s Angels and Saints is out later this year. ‘What I Heard about Iraq’ was published in the LRB of 3 February 2005.

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger, 4 June 2020

Half of all Americans receive health insurance through their employers. If the unemployment rate continues at 20 per cent, it is estimated that as many as 43 million will lose their insurance. The administration is continuing to pursue a case before the Supreme Court that will, in the president’s words, ‘terminate healthcare’ under the government alternative, the Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’). In Wisconsin, at least 72 people who attended an anti-lockdown rally – where speakers declared that they were unafraid to die to reopen the economy and demonstrators held signs calling the pandemic a hoax – have tested positive. The president tweets: ‘Coronavirus numbers are looking much better, going down almost everywhere. Big progress being made!’ This is not remotely true. He tweets: ‘Great credit being given for our Coronavirus response, except in the Fake News. They are a disgrace to America!’ He tweets ‘OBAMAGATE!’ over and over. He has sent out more than one hundred tweets and retweets in the last 24 hours.

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

The president says it is ‘fake news’ that there were mass protests in London against his visit: ‘I heard that there were protests. I said where are the protests? I don’t see any protests.’ The president exults: ‘The meeting with the queen was incredible. I think I can say I really got to know her because I sat with her many times and we had automatic chemistry. You understand that feeling. It’s a good feeling. But she’s a spectacular woman … There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time.’ He later hangs a photo of himself with the queen outside the Oval Office, next to the one of himself with Kim Jong-un.

Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America

Eliot Weinberger, 25 October 2018

On Brett Kavanaugh’s first day as justice, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal to a ruling written by Kavanaugh himself in 2017 when he was an appellate court judge. Kavanaugh had determined that the EPA lacked the authority under the Clean Air Act to enforce an Obama administration rule regulating hydrofluorocarbons, industrial chemicals that deplete the ozone. (And so it begins.)

Story: ‘Not Recommended Reading’

Eliot Weinberger, 7 September 2017

The Whirling Eye (1920) by Thomas W. Benson and Charles S. Wolfe    A psychiatrist, visiting an insane asylum, discovers his old friend Professor Mehlman, who declares that he has been unjustly incarcerated merely because he is in love with a Venusian. Mehlman had constructed a giant telescope in the Andes to observe life on Venus. In the course of his studies, he had become...

Women ‘There’s nothing I love more than women, but they’re really a lot different than portrayed. They are far worse than men, far more aggressive, and boy, can they be smart!’ African Americans ‘I have a great relationship with the blacks.’ Peace Lovers ‘With nuclear, the power, the devastation is very important to me.’

Donald Trump vowed that the ‘convention in Cleveland will be amazing!’ It will probably be the only campaign promise he ever fulfils, but indeed, as watched on television, it was amazing, unlike any other, if not quite, as he later summed it up, ‘one of the most peaceful, one of the most beautiful, one of the most love-filled conventions in the history of conventions’.

They could have picked...

Eliot Weinberger, 28 July 2016

They could have picked Ted Cruz, the first-term senator from Texas. Cruz may be unique among politicians anywhere in that every mention of his name is always accompanied by remarks on his loathsomeness. John McCain has called him a ‘wacko bird’, former speaker of the House, John Boehner, ‘a jackass’ and ‘Lucifer in the flesh’. Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator who was very briefly a candidate himself, joked: ‘If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.’ George W. Bush, with his usual rhetorical panache, said: ‘I just don’t like the guy.’

Poet at the Automat: Charles Reznikoff

Eliot Weinberger, 22 January 2015

Charles Reznikoff​ may be the most elusive poet in American poetry and his book-length Testimony the most elusive long poem of modernism. He is remembered as a kind of New York saint, an urban Emily Dickinson: the unknown poet, walking the city streets, writing intense, seemingly matter-of-fact lyrics about things he saw and heard. And then, in the last decades of his life, devoting himself...

In 125 CE​, Aristides, defending Christianity before the Emperor Hadrian at the celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries, divided the world into four: Greeks (which included Egyptians and Chaldeans), Jews, Christians and barbarians. In the Christian West the coming of Islam revised this list into a taxonomy that would remain in place for a millennium: Jews, Christians,...

Mouse Mouth Mitt

Eliot Weinberger, 13 September 2012

The one interesting thing about Mitt Romney is his nearly pathological absence of political savvy. Has there ever been a national candidate who has managed to alienate or outright insult so many potential voters? The tiny pebbles of cruel or clueless Mittisms – mocking the cookies some elderly women supporters baked for him and the cheap rain ponchos of Nascar fans; the delight in...

A Hologram for President

Eliot Weinberger, 30 August 2012

Poor Mitt. He became the Republican candidate for president by default, as the least worst choice from a pack of bizarre characters seemingly drawn from reality TV shows or Thomas Pynchon novels, but he’s not finding much love, even at his own coronation. Only 27 per cent of Americans think that he’s a ‘likeable’ guy. (Obama gets 61 per cent.) On television he projects a strange combination of self-satisfaction and an uneasiness about dealing with others who might doubt his unerring rectitude. The only well-known anecdotes about his bland life of acquiring wealth are both cruel: leading a pack of bullies at his prep school, personally cutting off the long hair of a weeping and pleading gay student, and putting the family dog in a box on the roof of his car for a twelve-hour drive to Canada.

Poem: ‘The Wall’

Eliot Weinberger, 5 July 2012


At 8.46 p.m. at Rudower Höhe, the sentry sneezed and a West Berlin customs officer shouted back: ‘Gesundheit!’

At 11.40 a.m. at the Kiesberg sentry post, three West Berlin youths shouted: ‘Hey, guys, still smoking rags? Want an HB cigarette? Come over and get one.’

At 9.25 a.m. at the Buckersberg sentry post, two men, aged thirty-five to forty, asked:...

Poem: ‘The Cloud Bookcase’

Eliot Weinberger, 28 July 2011

Absorption of Solar and Lunar Essences by Anonymous (4th century)

Alchemy of the Purple Coil by Anonymous (12th century)

A treatise on sexuality. The female sexual organ is referred to as the ‘furnace of the reclining moon’. A later commentator notes that ‘it has never been known that one can obtain immortality by mounting women.’

Arcane Essay on the Supreme...

‘Damn right,’ I said: Bush Meets Foucault

Eliot Weinberger, 6 January 2011

In the late 1960s, George Bush Jr was at Yale, branding the asses of pledges to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity with a hot coathanger. Michel Foucault was at the Societé française de philosophie, considering the question, ‘What is an author?’ The two, needless to say, never met. Foucault may have visited Texas on one of his lecture tours, but Junior, as far as it is known, never took his S&M revelry beyond the Ivy League – novelists will have to invent a chance encounter in a basement club in Austin. Moreover, Junior’s general ignorance of all things, except for professional sports, naturally extended to the nation known as France. On his first trip to Paris in 2002, Junior, now president of the United States, stood beside Jacques Chirac at a press conference and said: ‘He’s always saying that the food here is fantastic and I’m going to give him a chance to show me tonight.’

On the final night of the relentless presidential primary campaign, Jesse Jackson compared Barack Obama’s victory to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Erica Jong compared Hillary Clinton’s defeat to watching Joan of Arc burning at the stake. Obama was in St Paul, Minnesota, pointedly in the very arena where the Republicans will hold their convention in September, at...

Praise Yah: the Psalms

Eliot Weinberger, 24 January 2008

The 1611 King James Authorised Version of the Book of Psalms – and of course of the entire Bible – is so deep in the English language that we no longer know when we are repeating its phrases. Inextricable from the beliefs and practices of its faithful for four hundred years, it has been transformed from the translation of a holy book into a holy book itself. Poets, however, know from experience that there are no definitive texts, and over the centuries an assembly of angels has been singing the Psalms in its own way: Wyatt, Sidney, the Countess of Pembroke, Campion, Milton, Crashaw, Vaughan, Smart, Clare, Hopkins and Kipling among them. Some were setting lyrics to new tunes; some were performing metrical exercises with familiar material; some were expressing private prayer; some were simply writing a poem. St Augustine said that all things written in the Psalms are mirrors of ourselves and it was inevitable that, when English poets were still largely Christian believers, they would look into the mirror of this foundational anthology of poetry, as Chinese poets looked into the Confucian Book of Songs.

What I heard about Iraq in 2005: Iraq

Eliot Weinberger, 5 January 2006

In 2005 I heard that Coalition forces were camped in the ruins of Babylon. I heard that bulldozers had dug trenches through the site and cleared areas for helicopter landing pads and parking lots, that thousands of sandbags had been filled with dirt and archaeological fragments, that a 2600-year-old brick pavement had been crushed by tanks, and that the moulded bricks of dragons had been gouged out from the Ishtar Gate by soldiers collecting souvenirs. I heard that the ruins of the Sumerian cities of Umma, Umm al-Akareb, Larsa and Tello were completely destroyed and were now landscapes of craters.

Diary: a poetry festival in Chengdu

Eliot Weinberger, 22 September 2005

I had vowed never to go to China until my friend, the exiled poet Bei Dao, was able to travel freely there, but when I received a sudden invitation to the Century City First International Poetry Festival in Chengdu, he urged me on: ‘If you wait for me, you’ll be too old to enjoy it.’

The international dimension of the festival was to be limited to two Americans. Luckily,...

Diary: Next stop, Forbidden City

Eliot Weinberger, 23 June 2005

In 1969, the Cultural Revolution sent Gu Cheng’s family into the salt desert of Shandong Province to herd pigs. The locals spoke a dialect he could not understand, and in his isolation he became absorbed in the natural world: ‘Nature’s voice became language in my heart. That was happiness.’ His favourite book was Jean-Henri Fabre’s 19th-century entomological notes and drawings; he collected insects and watched birds; he wrote poems in the sand with a twig, poems with titles like ‘The Nameless Little Flower’ or ‘The Dream of the White Cloud’. Like John Clare, he found his poems in the fields and wrote them down. ‘I heard a mysterious sound in nature,’ he later said. ‘That sound became poetry in my life.’ He wrote that his ‘earliest experience of the nature of poetry’ was a raindrop. His childhood was a vision of paradise from which he never recuperated.

What I Heard about Iraq: watch and listen

Eliot Weinberger, 3 February 2005

I heard the vice-president say: ‘By any standard of even the most dazzling charges in military history, the Germans in the Ardennes in the spring of 1940 or Patton’s romp in July of 1944, the present race to Baghdad is unprecedented in its speed and daring and in the lightness of casualties.’ I heard Colonel David Hackworth say: ‘Hey diddle diddle, it’s straight up the middle!’ I heard the director of a hospital in Baghdad say: ‘The whole hospital is an emergency room. The nature of the injuries is so severe – one body without a head, someone else with their abdomen ripped open.’ I heard an American soldier say: ‘There’s a picture of the World Trade Center hanging up by my bed and I keep one in my Kevlar. Every time I feel sorry for these people I look at that. I think: “They hit us at home and now it’s our turn.”’

From The Blog
9 May 2019

Grass Valley is a small town in the California Sierra Nevadas, and every year the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation holds a fundraising fair, the Blue Marble Jubilee, that celebrates planet Earth with folk music and activities for children, such as making paper butterflies and egg carton caterpillars. This year’s Jubilee was scheduled for 11 May.

From The Blog
26 February 2018

In the second century BCE, Liu An, king of Huainan, asked the scholars of his court to prepare a book that would outline everything a wise monarch should know about statecraft, philosophy, and general world knowledge. The result was the massive 'Huainanzi', which runs to nine hundred large pages in English translation. Here are some excerpts, based on the translation by Sarah A. Queen and John S. Major: If a ruler rejects those who work for the public good, and employs people according to friendship and factions, then those of bizarre talent and frivolous ability will be promoted out of turn, while conscientious officials will be hindered and will not advance. In this way, the customs of the people will fall into disorder throughout the state, and accomplished officials will struggle.

From The Blog
16 February 2017

Donald Trump’s personal pathologies aside, it has become obvious that the worst possible leader of a self-styled democracy is the patriarch of an enormous family business, especially one that likes to slap its name in huge gold letters on every item, whether skyscraper or towel – and to whom people inexplicably pay money to paste the name on their own wares. A Trump employee is loyal to Mr Trump, as he’s always called, and one disagrees with the boss man, however mildly, at considerable risk. A federal employee, below the top-level appointments, is loyal to the government. A patriarch rules by fiat; a president has to deal with all those annoying existing laws and the courts that enforce them, agencies full of hundreds of thousands of recalcitrant bureaucrats, know-it-all pundits in the media, a loudmouth opposition party, and contentious factions within his own party. Everyone has an opinion.

From The Blog
30 January 2017

The despair in the weeks following the election has now turned into constructive rage. Opposition – more precisely, oppositions – are forming, not only in the general population, but inside the government itself, as is evident from the cascade of leaks and rogue tweets. One can only speculate what is happening in the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, but the reaction to Trump’s characterization of the CIA as 'Nazis' and his appalling speech about the size of his inauguration crowd in front of their memorial to fallen agents was plain. Moreover, in a move at first barely noticed in the general chaos, Trump removed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of National Intelligence from the Principals Circle of the National Security Council and replaced them with Steve Bannon, the white nationalist who has become Trump’s Cheney, co-wrote the 'America First' inauguration speech, and was the architect of the current Muslim ban. There is a probable impending major crisis with North Korea – probably graver than anything in the Middle East – and Trump’s fascination with nuclear weapons is well known. A military coup is no longer unimaginable in the USA: Trump calling for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Pyongyang and the spooks and brass rising against him.

From The Blog
5 May 2015

Sarah Palin – or someone pretending to be Sarah Palin – has tweeted that Salman Rushdie should invite Pamela Geller to the PEN gala dinner. She’s right. Geller is no pussy. She has courageously expressed her views that Muslims should be expelled from the US and Europe, that they pray five times a day for the deaths of Christians and Jews, that Obama is the love child of Malcolm X and frequents 'crack whores', that the State Department, the American media and Campbell’s Soup have been taken over by 'Islamic supremacists', and so on.

From The Blog
28 April 2015

The frat-boy humour magazine Charlie Hebdo is unfortunately back in the news. Six writers who were scheduled to be 'table hosts' at the annual PEN American Center gala in New York – tickets start at $1250 – have refused to attend after it was announced that the surviving staff of Charlie was to be awarded the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award at the dinner. The response to the six has been almost uniformly negative. Salman Rushdie, for one, who has turned PEN American into his little fiefdom, charmingly tweeted that they are 'pussies'. Others have even accused the writers of being apologists for terrorism.

From The Blog
8 November 2012

Last January, I predicted here that Mitt Romney would lose, based partially on the Curse of the E-Trochee: American presidential candidates whose last name is two syllables ending with a long e sound have always failed; they just can’t be taken seriously. It may seem ridiculous but, as Novalis said, 'Language is Delphi.' Closer to realpolitik, Mitt failed the Safety and Sincerity tests. Voters like to feel safe, to be assured that things will generally be all right, that there will be no bad surprises. I’ve always believed that Obama won in 2008 thanks to Sarah Palin. McCain – though he’s still with us – looked old and tired, and the possibility that the dim Northern Light might suddenly illuminate the Oval Office was scarier than a black man with a funny name. He at least seemed level-headed and intelligent.

From The Blog
29 October 2012

Obama and Romney are each spending about a billion dollars to get elected – four times what Bush and Gore spent in 2000. When one adds the unregulated PACs (political action committees) and Congressional and gubernatorial races, the cost of this year’s election is around $6 billion. The reason, of course, is television advertising. As the election draws near, some 80,000 political advertisements are running every day on American televisions. The entire ecosystem of lobbyists and politicians dependent on donations from corporate and other interests is almost entirely due to television. Eliminate the ads, which are forbidden in many countries, and American politics would change overnight. The astonishing thing is the uselessness of this potlatch.

From The Blog
19 October 2012

Mitt knows what it takes. At the second presidential debate, he said: ‘I know what it takes to get this economy going.’ ‘I know what it takes to create good jobs again.’ ‘I know what it takes to make sure that you have the kind of opportunity you deserve.’ ‘I know what it takes to bring them back.’ [jobs] ‘I know what it takes to balance budgets.’ ‘I know what it takes to make an economy work.’ ‘I know what it takes to get this to happen.’ Mitt knows what it takes, but he isn’t sharing. Once he gets elected, he’ll tell us, he says, how he’s going to cut taxes by $5 trillion, add $2 trillion to the military budget, and balance the budget while still having some sort of federal government, besides the Pentagon, left to run. He’ll tell us how he’s going to create 12 million jobs, even though he believes, as he said at the debate: ‘Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs.’ (A pause for fact-checking, a tedious necessity throughout the Tales of Mitt.

From The Blog
5 October 2012

American political campaigns rely on what insiders call the ‘narrative’, though, like a Hollywood sales pitch, it’s a story that’s never more than a sentence long. One of the problems the Republicans have had this year is that they have three contradictory narratives for Obama. There is Obama in the dashiki: the Kenyan Muslim Socialist who ‘hates America’ (as Rush Limbaugh often says) and wants to turn the country into some sort of jihadi North Korea. There is Obama in the hoodie: the ruthless, corrupt gangsta, ‘Chicago-style sleaze’ (as John McCain said recently). And then there is the barefoot Obama, shirtless in ill-fitting overalls: an amiable but bumbling clown, ‘lazy’ and ‘not that bright’ (as Romney’s spokesman John Sununu said after the debate) who’s in over his head trying to run a government. Unfortunately for the Republicans, the images of Obama as simultaneously the blackface Scarface, Chairman Mao and Stepin Fetchit tend both to cancel each other out and bear no resemblance to the articulate, unflappable, professorial type and his seemingly perfect all-American, however unwhite, family.

From The Blog
1 May 2012

In 2010, the Israeli novelist Nir Baram caused a small scandal at the International Writers’ Festival in Jerusalem by daring to point out that 'we are witness to the systematic violation of the rights of non-Jews in the State of Israel and the Occupied Territories.' Festival director Tal Kremer told Haaretz that 'in the end, his speech did no harm,' and she frequently cites it to persuade pro-Palestinian writers to attend. 'I don't think my job is to put up barriers and engage in censorship,' she said. However, 'in light of what happened with Nir Baram' – which she calls 'a production error on our part' – 'we asked this year's authors to give us the text of their speeches' in advance.

From The Blog
16 January 2012

Some evangelical Christian websites have been reproducing my LRB blog post on Mitt Romney, presumably less interested in his trochaic surname than in his Mormon underwear. One of them reprints, on the same page as my post, an article by Gary Bauer, president of American Values, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, and perennial television talking head for the Christian right:

From The Blog
10 January 2012

There are many reasons Mitt Romney will never be elected president. These include, in descending order of importance: 1) He is a Mormon who wears funny underwear. 2) On a family vacation, he drove for many hours with his dog, Seamus, strapped to the roof of his SUV. 3) He is a stuffed shirt, full of 'pious baloney', as the incomparable Newt recently put it. 4) He has been on both sides of every issue, while denying that he ever held the opposing view. But what will sink Romney is his last name. Americans do not find two-syllable names ending with a long e presidential. They are associated with diminutives and baby-talk and lack the requisite gravitas. American history is littered with these losers:

From The Blog
19 May 2011

In 2009, Bernard-Henri Lévy circulated a petition complaining that his good friend, confessed and convicted child-rapist Roman Polanski, though known as an 'ingenious filmmaker', had been apprehended 'like a common terrorist'. Scores of writers and movie people in his circle signed. Now, predictably, Lévy is back, defending his good friend, accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn, in The Daily Beast – a web magazine that finally lives up to its name.

From The Blog
19 November 2009

Richard Nixon, visiting the Great Wall of China in 1972, said: 'I think you would have to conclude that this is a great wall.' Ronald Reagan, visiting the Wall in 1984, said: 'What can you say except it’s awe-inspiring? It is one of the great wonders of the world.' Asked if he would like to build his own Great Wall, Reagan drew a circle in the air and said: 'Around the White House.' Bill Clinton, visiting the Wall in 1998, said: 'So if we had a couple of hours, we could walk 10 kilometres, and we'd hit the steepest incline, and we'd all be in very good shape when we finished. Or we'd be finished. It was a good workout. It was great.' George W. Bush, visiting the Wall in 2002, signed the guest book and said: 'Let’s go home.' He made no other comments. Barack Obama, visiting the Wall on Wednesday, said: 'It's majestic. It’s magical.

From The Blog
8 October 2009

There’s no doubt that someone in the California Justice Dept is hoping to make some headlines by dredging up the Roman Polanski case. But that hardly makes Polanski, as Andrew O’Hagan wrote on this blog, 'a silly old bugger who slept with a teenage model 32 years ago'. As we’ve all been reminded lately, Polanski was a 44-year-old man who drugged and repeatedly raped a 13-year-old girl who was pleading to go home. Then he called her parents and told them she’d be late.

From The Blog
7 August 2009

In the latest chapter of How Radical Christianity is Destroying the West from Within, the English-language internet has finally picked up a story that has been in the French newspapers for at least two years.In 2003, George W. Bush called Jacques Chirac to persuade him to join the Coalition of the Willing in the jihad against Saddam Hussein. Appealing to their 'common faith', Bush said:Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East... The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled...

From The Blog
4 August 2009

It's been a slow summer for shark attacks in Florida, so American cable TV news has had to content itself by filling its hours with the 'birther' movement, which is less organic than it sounds: the belief that Barack Obama was not born in the USA, and is therefore ineligible to serve as president. Despite some evidence to the contrary – such as a birth certificate validated by the Republican governor of Hawaii and its Department of Health, as well as birth announcements in two Honolulu newspapers – the birthers have managed, according to the latest poll, to convince a majority of Republicans that Obama is as foreign as his name, and part of some Kenyan (or something) conspiracy to turn the White House red.

From The Blog
28 July 2009

The New York Times Book Review prides itself on its objectivity: no known lovers or sworn enemies are allowed to review each other. In actual practice, this means that the author of a novel about getting divorced in Pennsylvania will extravagantly praise the author of a novel about getting divorced in Connecticut. A political ‘moderate’ will air and then dismiss the ideas in a book by a left-winger; a right-winger will express some mild reservations about an ultra-right-winger; and a left-winger will only be asked to review something without contemporary content (e.g. a feminist on the biography of a suffragette). Edited by Sam Tanenhaus (biographer of Whittaker Chambers and, in progress, William F. Buckley), the NYTBR is predictably softcore right-of-centre.

From The Blog
29 June 2009

1. In the 11th century, Hsiao Kuan dreamed that he was taken to a palace where the women were goddesses or transcendents. All were dressed in green. One of them gave him a piece of paper and said: 'This is ripple paper. Would you please write a poem about a winter morning?' He wrote: The twelve towers of the palace hide women dressed in green. Wine flows from lion-spouts, spiced and fragrant, trickling through tubes called 'thirsty crows'. A servant turns the pulley, red liquid jade spurts out. Incense barely smoking, lotus candles almost gone, the five dragons of the clepsydra overflow with chilly water. Unaccompanied ladies, fish pendants dangling from crimson sashes, stand on tiptoe to watch the sun come up, far off in Fu-sang.

From The Blog
18 May 2009

GQ (formerly known as Gentlemen's Quarterly) has just released some mind-boggling artefacts from the Cheney-Bush Era: the covers – like elementary school reports – of the daily intelligence briefings that the Department of Defense prepared for a few eyes only, and that were often personally delivered by Donald Rumsfeld to the Oval Office. (There's also a background article here.) One of the lessons of Watergate and the investigative journalism of the 1970s was that the wildest stoner rumours of the 1960s turned out to be perfectly true (‘Whoa, dude, I heard the CIA tried to put some powder in Castro's shoes that would make his beard fall out . . .').



6 January 2011

There are two young American avant-gardist writers, Tao Lin and Tan Lin (LRB, 6 January). In my review of the Bush memoir, I wrote ‘Tan Lin’ when I meant ‘Tao Lin’. I may become a character in Tao Lin’s next novel.

Obama Myopia

3 July 2008

Your ‘disappointed’ correspondent Jane Elliott is pelting apples and oranges (Letters, 14 August). Of course, as she points out, American women have not achieved wage parity with men. But I was talking about the kind of people who vote in primaries, a fraction of the population. Among them, younger women in urban areas are better educated – thus more likely to vote – and now...

Name the days: Holy Spirits

Marina Warner, 4 February 2021

The strangeness of such religious material again and again makes it incomprehensible that such figures should be considered holy, but if you look instead at their adventures as a remedy for the drudgery,...

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Real isn’t real: Octavio Paz

Michael Wood, 4 July 2013

In 1950 André Breton published a prose poem by Octavio Paz in a surrealist anthology. He thought one line in the work was rather weak and asked Paz to remove it. Paz agreed about the line...

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Spanish Practices

Edwin Williamson, 18 May 1989

Octavio Paz occupies a unique position in the Spanish-speaking world. He is the foremost living poet of the language as well as being one of the most authoritative interpreters of the Hispanic...

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Goodbye to Borges

John Sturrock, 7 August 1986

Borges died on 14 June, in Geneva – which bare fact virtually calls for an ‘English papers please copy,’ as they used to say, so complacently scant and grudging were the notices...

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