Reading London Review of Books (2008 issues — Part III)

|As Byron himself remarked, you couldn’t expect any verse to be all good.|

|he needed his small circle of friends, for they were his sole readers and it was to them he sent the pamphlets and broadsides he printed privately from time to time.|

|There are some lives we read backwards, from bloody exit to obscure entrance, and Jane’s is one of them.|

|It’s good to remember, as every page of Tudor history is turned, the misogyny of the age, and the unconscious misogyny involved in repeating uncritically the age’s judgments.|

|[Tolstoy] is the world’s best secretary, this argument goes, better at the task than Balzac and Zola, also supposedly eager contestants, and certainly better at it than Dostoevsky and Dickens, who never applied for the job at all.|

|‘a fox bitterly intent upon seeing in the manner of a hedgehog’|

|The books are so gorgeous, so marmoreal, that I find them unreadable.|

|There’s a risk that memorialising writers, consigning them to Culture, is a way of ignoring them.|

|I suspect that Culture and Society and, still more, The Country and the City will continue to have readers when Marxism and Literature and Problems in Materialism and Culture will be found only in the footnotes of the more recondite intellectual histories.|

|Orange is blue, and pink is sea-green. And all the colours of the rainbow are black.|

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