Britain, Larry McMurtry, England, Virginia Woolf, Language


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Article 50 And Boaty McBoatface

David Allen Green | Jack Of Kent | 25th June 2016

Britain will probably not leave the EU as a result of the referendum. “Nothing can force the UK to press the notification button, and nothing can force the EU to negotiate until it is pressed. It is entirely a matter for a Member State to decide whether to make the notification and, if so, when. In turn, there is no obligation on the EU to enter into negotiations until the notification is made. There is therefore a stalemate. If this were game of chess, a draw would now be offered” (1,600 words)

Larry McMurtry: Minor Regional Novelist

Skip Hollandsworth | Texas Monthly | 24th June 2016

His work includes The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, Hud, and Lonesome Dove, “a western the size of War and Peace“. In fifty years he has written thirty novels, fourteen books of non-fiction, forty screenplays and reams of journalism. He has a Pulitzer for Lonesome Dove and an Oscar for his Brokeback Mountain screenplay. But is Larry McMurtry a great writer? “Maybe a couple of books will last. But the rest will end up on back shelves of bookshops. There could be worse fates” (8,200 words)

Thoughts On The Sociology Of Brexit

Will Davies | Political Economy Research Centre | 24th June 2016

A formidable and unflinching piece of analysis. The referendum was won in the poorer parts of England, geographically and demographically. The Leave campaign “took seriously communities who’d otherwise been taken for granted for much of the past 50 years”, and who didn’t much care what happened next, since they had already given up on the future. Indeed, the “self-harm inflicted by Brexit” may well have been part of the appeal; you might suffer, but you could make others suffer more (2,300 words)

Hermione Lee On Virginia Woolf

David Shackleton | Five Books | 17th June 2016

Virginia Woolf’s biographer discusses the rise, and fall, and renewed rise in Woolf’s reputation. Her influence as a writer and as a feminist is stronger than ever. She can be seen now as a precursor of Elena Ferrante and of Karl Ove Knausgaard. In her own day she was a troubled modernist. She outgrew the conventions of her 19C childhood, but missed the certainties that went with them. She “lost a sense of solidity and gravitas and rootedness, and she struggles with that” (4,090 words)

Words Are Dangerous

Hisham Matar | Guardian | 25th June 2016

Essay, on moving from an Arabic-speaking to an English-speaking culture. “I don’t remember a time when words were not dangerous. But it was around this time, in the late 1970s, when I was a young schoolboy in Tripoli, that the risks had become more real than ever before. There were things I knew my brother and I shouldn’t say unless we were alone with our parents. Men were locked up for saying the wrong thing or because they were innocently quoted by a child. “Really, your uncle said that? What’s his name?’” (4,100 words)

Video of the day: The Veil Of Ignorance

What to expect:

The central idea in John Rawls’s theory of justice explained by Stephen Fry, script by Nigel Warburton (1’36”)

Thought for the day

Complexity is a device for evading simple truths
J.K. Galbraith

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