Since 1979, the London Review of Books has stood up for the tradition of the literary and intellectual essay in English. Each issue contains up to 15 long reviews and essays by academics, writers and journalists. There are also shorter art and film reviews, as well as poems and a lively letters page.
A typical issue moves through political commentary to science or ancient history by way of literary criticism and social anthropology. So, for example, an issue can open with a piece on the rhetoric of war, move on to reassessing the reputation of Pythagoras, follow that with articles on the situation in Iraq, the 19th-century super-rich, Nabokov’s unpublished novel, how saints got to be saints, the life and work of William Empson, and an assessment of the poetry of Alice Oswald.
The London Review of Books was founded in 1979, during the year-long lock-out at the Times. For the first six months, it appeared marsupially in the New York Review of Books. In May 1980, the London Review of Books jumped out of the parental pouch and became a fully independent literary paper.
The special appeal of the London Review of Books lies in the way it combines topicality with depth and scholarship with good writing, and isn’t afraid to challenge received ideas. The generous space given to contributors means that, when they write for the LRB, they are not only giving valuable assessments of new work, but contributing new work themselves.
The London Review of Books has the largest circulation of any literary magazine in Europe (2010 ABC: 53,215). Its circulation outside the UK gives it worldwide reach and an unmatched international reputation.
London Review Bookshop
The London Review Bookshop opened in Bloomsbury in May 2003. It is now the most distinctive independent bookshop in London: an attractive space where an eclectic and well chosen selection of books and DVDs can be browsed in peace and quiet, and where the best author events in the city take place. The staff are very well informed, have a strong sense of their readers’ needs, and offer fast and efficient mail order delivery service wherever you are in the world.
London Review Cake Shop
In November 2007 the London Review Cake Shop opened, connected to the bookshop by a passage in the history section. The Cake Shop expresses the ethos of the London Review of Books: independent-minded, surprising and energetic. Specialist teas and coffee, freshly made sandwiches and salads, plus delicious cakes, with books and magazines all around, have contributed to making this the modern literary London coffee-house.