Sunday, October 25, 2009

30 years of the London Review of Books (and 11 years of 'personals')

Miller and Wilmers [the then editors of the London Review of Books] have also been prone to a touch of mischief. When in 1982 the poet and critic Al Alvarez wrote a book on divorce, they commissioned the author’s first wife to review it. A terrific fuss ensued (Frank Kermode, the paper’s longest serving contributor and a friend of the Alvarezes, took particular exception).

From John Sutherland's look back at thirty years of LRB.

Since my acquaintance with LRB has been only through its website, I wasn't aware of its section on classifieds which

became known for the expression of eccentric but articulate longings, some of them extremely odd (eg “Tell me your kidney-stone experiences: I’ll set them to music”); others worryingly direct (“Woman, 32, needful of the finer things in life seeks stinking rich bloke, 80 to 100.”).

Sutherland goes on to excerpt some of the ads in which "I had become part of an erotic lexicon." It's all pretty hilarious stuff -- check it out; it appears at the end of his article.