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Jewish LSE Students and Alumni say: No to Hotovely on Campus

An important letter from Jewish LSE students concerning Tzipi Hotovely, the right-wing Israeli Ambassador in London. It challenges various mistaken assumptions about Israeli policy, the Nakba, what does and does not constitute antisemitism, and much else. As the students put it, “Narratives which conflate criticism of the Israeli state with antisemitism are incredibly dangerous, serving […]

Aspects of Venice: Tutorials with Robin Saikia

All of the following are available to individual students as personal tutorials. To book one or more of these tutorials, please email scholartext@gmail.com 1. Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac: The Venice Years. (1 hour. 25 euros) The Venetian life of the great American patroness of the arts, who transformed her palace on the Grand Canal […]

The Palazzo Dario, Venice, in 1900

Winnaretta Singer’s 1900 visit to Venice gave her an opportunity to see familiar friends from Paris, the comtesse Isabelle Gontran de la Baume-Pluvinel and her partner, the writer and photographer Augustine Bulteau. Augustine and their mutual friend Anna de Noailles had for some years been members of a discreet but formidable lesbian circle in Paris. […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Boris Johnson, Covid and Herd Immunity.

The Incoronated Microbe, more Minuscule and Venomous than any observ’d or imagin’d by Dr Hooke, blew uncheck’t around the Continents of Earth, assassinating first the unprepar’d Italian, before it increased with aggression its Empire of destruction in America, and performed its Dance of Death amid the squalid Pueblos of Brazil. Though faced with a grim […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Boris Johnson as Artist

As he cowered in the precincts of Lord Goldsmith’s opulent villa, the Prime Minister sought to replicate the Depictive endeavours of Mr Churchill, a Masquerade he supplied by investing himself in the rude Smock of a limner, and the plausible arrangement before him of Canvasses and Pigments. However, unlike the persuasive Pictures wrought by his […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Jacob Rees-Mogg

Though his father was but the editor of a Broadsheet and schooled respectably enough at The Charterhouse, Mr Rees-Mogg was sent to Eton College, where he cultivated such a lofty and disdainful manner of diction and discourse, that soon not even the most languid and elaborately-escutcheon’d Duke might touch him for Flippancy and Insolence. When […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Dominic Cummings

Of all that advised the Prime Minister on the Prospectus that led to Albion’s fatal removal from the House of Europe, few were more learnèd or subtle than Mr Cummings. He it was that dressed the ravaged limbs of the Prospectus in deceptive finery, just as the agile Perruquier applies Ribbons and Paint to improve […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: William Shatner

There is in America a Mr Shatner, a renowned Thespian of some ninety summers. More than a half century before, this Veteran of the Playhouse had delivered, to resounding and universal admiration, the role of a Captain Kirk, who patrolled the Heavens in a vessel ingeniously adapted for the undertaking of hazardous voyages toward distant […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Police Corruption

Civil Order was maintained in those days by a general assembly of Constables, most of them distinguished by their Valour, and readiness to give even their lives in the cause of general Security. However, just as the Costermonger’s Barrow, glistering with wholesome Hesperidin bounty, might be poisoned by a single blemish’t Globe that lay conceal’d […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Football

To urge with matchless boot the Leathern Sphere is the dream of every stumbling yeoman, for by this means may he win the recognition of a Patron, and rise from the sink of rustick obscurity that Nature and Circumstance hath so cruelly ordained. Let him no longer excavate from icy ground, with crude bucolic curse, […]

Edward Gibbon on Modern Life: Banksy

There lived not far from Bristol a Mr Cunningham, a roving limner that cloak’t his true identity with a nom de guerre that was at once economical and memorable, thereby ensuring that his endeavours became universally familiar, interminably discussed, and of considerable value. Mr Cunningham early resolved to forsake the arduous pursuit of exposure in […]

Edward Gibbon on the ethnic minorities in Johnson’s Cabinet

As though he were a Mogul or Ottoman potentate, the Prime Minister kept a menagerie of Jamodars, Moorish and Oriental officials he had elevated to high degree. To him that cried: “Fie! Thou lovest not the poor Baboo or Negroe!”, Mr Johnson would say, “Behold my splendid Jamodars, and eat thy words!” The most ornamental […]

Edward Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) reflects on Brexit

Europe was, then, a cluster of Principalities and Republicks that lodged together in prosperous amity, in a house they had for built themselves, that had been half a century in the building when Mr Cameron was Prime Minister. Notwithstanding the innumerable virtues of this intricate domestick arrangement, many within the Tory faction thought to strengthen […]

Edward Gibbon on Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein

In those days, His Royal Highness The Duke of York was as injudicious in his choice of acquaintance as he was ardent in his admiration of Unblemish’t Pulchritude. This was witnessed by the inclusion in his retinue of Mr Epstein, a luxurious man of business that dwelt on an island, within the picturesque archipelago named […]

Edward Gibbon on Boris Johnson’s Conference Speech

As the kingdom reeled under a two-fold burden of disease and privation, the Prime Minister and his cohorts foregathered in Manchester for a round of feasting and declamation. On the final day, when his Jamodars had spoken and the bacchanalia were for an interlude suspended, the Prime Minister himself rose to speak. Whereas his opponent […]

Edward Gibbon celebrates Michael Rosen

At the time of the pestilence there lived in London a Mr Rosen, who wrote merry tales for children and served honourably for a while as their Laureate. One such tale was of a family that went forth fearlessly to hunt a Bear, despite the arduous terrain, and all manner of peril that Reason and […]

Edward Gibbon examines the Decline and Fall of Modern Britain…

To be continued in installments… The calamities he wrought, the Prime Minister answered with glib jest, and when this failed he resorted to sallies of polished mendacity. Though the mob had been won with the promise that their shores would no longer be gained by the swarthy alien, he was assisted in his endeavours by […]

Hancock’s Half Hour, Episode 2: The Yellow Socks

Days ago these were just yellow socks. Now they are the Socks of the Heartless Philanderer. Yellow socks have been given a bad name. Some regret this, while others say yellow socks were never a great addition to a man’s wardrobe. Will yellow socks come to be known as “Hancocks”, eternal badges of shame? Or […]