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From one uncertainty to another

Orientations: an Anthology of East European Travel Writing, ca.1550–2000 Under Eastern Eyes: a Comparative Introduction to East European Travel Writing on Europe A Bibliography of East European Travel Writing on Europe / edited by Wendy Bracewell and Alex Drace-Francis Times Literary Supplement, 3 June 2011 “Little do ye know your own blessedness,” Robert Louis Stevenson […]

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A brief history of intercultural awareness

International Translation Day took place at London’s Free Word Centre last week. It was a fascinating happening, interpreting translation and its values – its ability to represent the world, its power to revitalise, regenerate, teach, exercise, enthuse, convey one apex of language into another – from plenty of angles. There was a touch of interlocking […]

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Europe’s self-view is changing

I’ve just finished a piece for Prospect about how European literature is changing: how it’s been changing since the Berlin Wall came down, but because deep change is so slow we’re only just becoming aware that there is a redistribution of literary priorities occurring. It is, as all the best changes are, ahead of the […]

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The art of the Kraft

25 years of the most influential group in electronic pop The Guardian, 26 February 1997 Frieze, December 1997 I Like an indefinitely extended version of John Cage’s notorious composition 4’33”, there has been silence from the Kling Klang recording studio in Düsseldorf for the last six years, although we may assume that Ralf Hütter and […]

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F Scott Fitzgerald rediscovered

In 1924 in a series of pieces for an American magazine, Motor, F Scott Fitzgerald described a 1200-mile journey he took with his wife Zelda from Connecticut to Alabama in a clapped-out automobile he named the ‘Rolling Junk’. Never published before in the UK, The Cruise of the Rolling Junk is a free-ranging comic alternation […]

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The object of love

In the mutable world of pop Morrissey maintained a fixed vision for more than a decade. In return for his articulate expressions of angst, his fans have offered as dogged an appreciation as the themes of their hero The Guardian, 26 February 1994 I was never interested in The Smiths. My brother gave me a […]

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I run, you run…

Interview with Usain Bolt I run. You run. He runs. Equality as well as rhythm inhabits those inflections. Everything a human being can do is shared out in them. Whatever the verb – talk, sleep, eat, breathe, walk, run – they demonstrate that our actions are gestures in common. They define our activity, our energy. […]

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Constantinople on foot, Antibes in a Jaguar

Interview with Patrick Leigh Fermor Guardian, London October 1992 10 June 2011 – Nearly twenty years ago I interviewed Patrick Leigh Fermor when he was awarded a small but lustrous French literary prize by the town of Antibes in the south of France. He died today at the age of ninety-six and this account is […]

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