Times Literary Supplement

Times Literary Supplement



Published: 19 February 2014

Eliabeth Barrett Browning was the daughter of the Jamaica slave-driver and sugar baron Edward Barrett. Everything that the poet’s father owned, and all that emancipation in 1838 forced his family to give up, came from the West Indian slave trade. The underside of the slave system that brought…

Pasolini’s Roman poetry

Published: 19 November 2008

Itmight make one in love with death”, declared Shelley, “to be buried in so sweet a place.” Keats, on his deathbed, hearing that daisies and anemones grew wild on the graves there, rejoiced, saying that he “already felt the flowers growing over him”. They were referring to the Protestant…

Graham Greene’s chance encounter with a model spy

Published: 01 March 2006

Esonians are nocturnal people and like to stay out all night. However, it is generally not wise for His Majesty’s Vice-Consul to stay at cabaret restaurants after 2 a.m., since incidents sometimes occur.

The shipping news

Published: 20 December 2013

Ann Seghers TRANSIT Translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo 257pp. NYRB Classics.

Milton Keynes

Published: 01 November 2013

…was only designated in 1967 it seems implausible that the Townscape Movement was set up to counter “Milton Keynes-style planning”, asIanThomson writes (In Brief, October 18). The garden city movement, the United States and Corbusian-style planning were the usual targets of Hubert de…


Published: 18 October 2013

Ivo de Wolfe THE ITALIAN TOWNSCAPE Introduction by Erdem Erten and Alan Powers 296pp.

Primo Levi and the Partisans

Published: 11 October 2013

Sir, – IanThomson’s review (September 13) of Sergio Luzzatto’s book about Primo Levi and the Second World War in Italy has just come to my notice.

Belli’s Sonnets

Lamb if he was lucky

Published: 13 September 2013

Accrding to his military papers, Primo Levi entered the Italian Resistance on October 1, 1943, three weeks after the German occupation of Northern Italy. He was affiliated to a Free Italy partisan “band” made up of army stragglers and a handful of Jews seeking salvation.

Mixed bloods

Published: 12 July 2013

Pretty pickle

Published: 28 June 2013

Dane Alighieri THE DIVINE COMEDY Translated by J. G. Nichols 541pp. Alma Classics.

Tycoon and youth

Published: 03 August 2007

A doctor has been flown in to perform the abortion. Timoleon, it emerges, does not approve of the man who has made his daughter pregnant: IanForster, an English journalist, and his own biographer. Forster first met Sofia in 1973 in Monte Carlo, where she used to go to recuperate from the…

Out of Kaos

Published: 03 August 2012

Luigi Pirandello was born in the Sicilian province of Girgenti (now Agrigento) in 1867. For all their outward modernity, his novels and plays were deeply rooted in Girgentine provincial life, where (according to Pirandello) “taciturn apathy, suspicious mistrust, and jealousy…

Talked into life

Published: 29 June 2012

In ebruary 1944 Primo Levi was deported to Auschwitz with 650 other Jews. Only 490 have since been identified: the rest are officially classed as “persons unknown” and have vanished without trace: nobody knows who they were, or where they came from. Levi returned to Italy, one of only twenty…

Italy’s War

Published: 29 June 2012

Sweetened with blood

Published: 27 January 2012

Robn Blackburn THE AMERICAN CRUCIBLE Slavery, emancipation and human rights 512pp.

Grey yellows

Published: 01 July 2011

Leoardo Sciascia IL FUOCO NEL MARE Racconti dispersi (1947-1975) Edited by Paolo Squillacioti 216pp. Adelphi.

Caste marks

Published: 13 May 2011


Published: 10 September 2010


Dust and molasses

Published: 13 August 2010

Green blade

Published: 09 July 2010

Rob Chapman SYD BARRETT A very irregular head 441pp. Faber.


Follow him

Published: 02 July 2010

Uneasy borders

Published: 27 November 2009


A people’s prison

Published: 03 July 2009

Giogio Vasta IL TEMPO MATERIALE 311pp. Rome: Edizioni minimum fax. ¤13. 978 88 7521 188 2 During the 1970s, Italy was convulsed by acts of left-wing terrorism. On March 16, 1978, the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro was kidnapped in Rome by members of the Red Brigades.

Shameful commerce

Published: 12 June 2009

Siân Rees SWEET WATER AND BITTER The ships that stopped the slave trade 340pp. Chatto and Windus. ¿20. 978 0 7011 8159 8 In the eighteenth century, Britain was the world’s leading slave trader. Sugar – the end-product of British slavery – became so profitable a commodity between 1700 and…

Ska, rap , 2 Tone and doo-wop

Published: 24 April 2009

Petr Akinti FOREST GATE 186pp.

A most unhappy island

Published: 03 April 2009

Zozzo mondo

Published: 21 November 2008

STUENDOUS, MISERABLE CITY. Pasolini’s Rome. By John David Rhodes 194pp. University of Minnesota Press.


Published: 07 November 2008

PYNER BENDER. By Jacob Ross. 452pp. Fourth Estate. In his haunting (if slow-paced) novel, Pynter Bender, the Grenada-born novelist Jacob Ross filters five decades of Grenadian history through the life of a single family: the Benders. Pynter Bender, born blind to…

From a Turin window

Published: 01 June 2007

NOTZIE SU ARGON. Gli antenati di Primo Levi da Francesco Petrarca a Cesare Lombroso. By Alberto Cavaglion 149pp. Turin: Instar Libri. Primo Levi, who died twenty years ago, in the spring of 1987, portrayed his Italian Jewish ancestors as unworldly, scholarly…


Published: 20 April 2007

MONANO. By Enrique Vila-Matas. Translated by Jonathan Dunne. 326pp. Harvill Secker. Enrique Vila-Matas, revered in the Spanish-speaking world as a literary trailblazer, is the sort of writer who enjoys the etymology of the word “fiction”: from the Latin fingere…

Sinister colonnades

Published: 09 February 2007

GUIA LETTERARIA DI TORINO. Terza edizione ampliata e aggiornata. By Pier Massimo Prosio. 253pp. Turin: Centro Studi Piemontesi. Recently I returned to Turin for the first time since 1994; I had lived there for a couple of years while researching a book. Much of…

Mad for caffeine

Published: 19 January 2007

SELCTED WORKS. By Dino Campana. Translated by Cristina Viti. 203pp. Survivors’ Press. In 1950, Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote to a friend: “My future life will certainly not be that of a university professor”, explaining: “By now I have the mark of Rimbaud on…

Carte Blanche

Published: 15 December 2006

CARTE BLANCHE. Carlo Lucarelli. Translated by Michael Reynolds. 108pp. Europa Editions.  Carlo Lucarelli, born in Italy in 1960, borrows from Hollywood noir as well as the Sicilian thrillers of Leonardo Sciascia to create his own distinctively gritty…


Graham Greene, uneasy Catholic

Published: 22 August 2006

In 939 Graham Greene wrote to his brother Hugh: “A new shade of knickers and nightdresses has been named Brighton Rock by Peter Jones”, adding: “Is this fame?”. Greene was then thirty-five: Brighton Rock (1938) was his first critically acclaimed religious novel. It describes a betrayal of…

Troubled but faithful

Published: 18 August 2006

Graham Greene’s relationship with the Tablet In 1939 Graham Greene wrote to his brother Hugh: “A new shade of knickers and nightdresses has been named Brighton Rock by Peter Jones”, adding: “Is this fame?”. Greene was then thirty-five: Brighton Rock (1938) was his first critically acclaimed…

A field of death

Published: 23 June 2006

FOR NOTHING AT ALL. By Garfield Ellis. 172pp. Macmillan Caribbean. Garfield Ellis, who was born in Jamaica in 1960, is one of Jamaica’s most promising writers. In his third novel, For Nothing At All, he looks at the violent gun culture in the West Indian…