Too Many Sciapods: Europe, Migration and the Other

by Horatio Morpurgo

Mason’s case is that Europeans, in their haste to be blaming, or praising, or civilising, hardly saw or heard non-European peoples at all. How clearly do we see them now? The folklore we have, each of us, internalised, locates the migrant somewhere on a spectrum from exotic treat to compassion-object, from financial burden to con-artist, and thence to cultural threat and / or terror suspect. [read full essay]

Beyond Discourse

David J. Getsy (ed.), Queer

reviewed by Kristian Vistrup Madsen

‘I will not agree to be tolerated. This damages my love of love and of liberty.’ David Getsy came across this line in Jean Coteau’s The White Book (1989) as a teenager and it is one that has remained central to his understanding of what it means to be queer. Getsy is the editor of a new anthology just published by the Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press in their Documents of Contemporary Art series. Queer gathers 80 documents around this theme as it relates to contemporary art practices and... [read more]

Setting the Record Straight

Richard Seymour, Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics

reviewed by Elliot Murphy

Richard Seymour’s latest book, Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics, is a damning account of some of the most virulent media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party. His main intention here is to chart the rise of Corbyn; or rather, the rise of the institutional and popular forces which allowed him to win the Labour leadership campaign so decisively. This is ‘the first time in Labour’s history that it has a radical socialist for a leader.' Corbyn was... [read more]

Declaring Allegiance

AO Scott, Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty and Truth

reviewed by Daniel Green

In Better Living Through Criticism, AO Scott first of all demonstrates that he is eminently qualified to be the chief film critic of The New York Times. On the basis of what the book reveals about Scott’s breadth of knowledge, interpretive skill, and belief in the importance of criticism, we would be justified in concluding that this own reviews, whether we ultimately agree with them or not, are written from a comprehensive understanding of the history and purpose of criticism and with a... [read more]

Eagleton’s Aesthetic Education

Terry Eagleton, Culture

reviewed by Rafe McGregor

Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor in the Department of English & Creative Writing at Lancaster University. He was a student of Raymond Williams at Cambridge and has, according to the publicity information from Yale University Press, published more than one book each year for the last fifty years. He is best known as one of the United Kingdom’s foremost public intellectuals, as a very influential Marxist literary critic, and as the author of Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983),... [read more]

What is the Rent Trap?

Rosie Walker & Samir Jeraj, The Rent Trap: How We Fell into It and How We Get Out of It

reviewed by Tom Gann

In The Housing Question (1872), Friedrich Engels distinguished between the permanent condition of capitalist housing in which ‘the working class generally lives in bad, overcrowded and unhealthy dwellings’ and its periodic conjunctural intensification. In the late 1860s the ‘sudden rush of population to the big towns’ was the spark for the intensification of the crisis, but there are a range of possible factors that can intensify a chronic housing crisis. These intensifications have two... [read more]

The Senator from Wall Street

Doug Henwood, My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency

reviewed by Tom Reifer

2016 has been a US Presidential primary season unlike any other, with the rise of self-declared democratic Socialist, though really just an honest New Dealer, US Senator Bernie Sanders, running as a Democrat and a series of right wing ideologues, notably New York billionaire Donald Trump, now the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, having secured the required delegates for the Republicans, a party that Noam Chomsky recently called the most dangerous organisation in world history, what... [read more]

‘A bunch of hoops to jump through'

Juliet Jacques, Trans: A Memoir

reviewed by Claire Potter

‘I decided my name should be Juliet when I was ten,’ Juliet Jacques confessed in her inaugural blog post for the Guardian that inspired Trans: A Memoir. She then ‘swiftly buried’ this thought, one that lurked in the back of her mind and returned forcefully at 17. By day, Jacques didn’t stick out in her London suburb. She was an avid football fan and a good student as she privately explored who Juliet might be. On festive occasions when the rules of masculinity relaxed, an evolving... [read more]

First as Farce, Then as Tragedy

Owen Hatherley, The Chaplin Machine: Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde

reviewed by Benjamin Noys

There are two things you might not associate with the communist avant-garde of the 1920s: a taste for comedy and a taste for all things American. You would be wrong. Owen Hatherley’s The Chaplin Machine is an exploration of this seemingly unlikely conjunction, of a world where Henry Ford, Charlie Chaplin, and Lenin are all being thought and brought together. Hatherley aims to recover this strange utopian moment, in which constructing socialism involved a turn to the potentials of comedy to... [read more]

'So many times I was called bitch'

Linda McDowell, Migrant Women's Voices: Talking About Life and Work in the UK Since 1945

reviewed by Lucy Popescu

Since 6 April 2016 all skilled workers from outside the EU who have been living in Britain for less than 10 years need to earn at least £35,000 a year to settle permanently here, even if they have lived here for years contributing to the UK culture and economy. Some jobs, such as nurses, are exempt. Under the new rules those who have come to work in Britain from outside the EU will be deported after five years if they fail to show they are earning more than £35,000. According to the... [read more]

Lights of Life

JH Prynne, The White Stones

reviewed by Jeremy Noel-Tod

The White Stones (1969) is, for me, a daily book. That is not to say that I read it over breakfast. But I think of some words from this great work of philosophical lyricism every day, as I go about my business in a provincial English city sixty miles from the one in which they were written: waking to ‘the sky cloudy / and the day packed into the crystal’; going to work with ‘a set rhythm of / the very slight hopefulness’; noticing ‘a thickening in the words / as the coins themselves... [read more]