litmatters2

Byron and Scotland

April 2016

Two hundred years ago this month, Lord Byron left England for good. It marked a spectacular fall from grace. Just four years earlier, in March 1812, he had achieved immense success with the publication of the first two … Read More...

Sexual Identities and Imaginary Crimes

January 2016

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was one of the greatest reformers of his age. Best remembered now as the chief exponent of the utilitarian axiom that the object of all government legislation must be “the greatest happiness of the greatest … Read More...

Lifting the Whole World

December 2015

Leigh Hunt often comes to mind at this time of the year. Widely known throughout the first half of the nineteenth century as both a poet and a prose writer, Hunt fought courageously against political injustice and corruption, … Read More...

Open to Persuasion

November 2015

When I was asked a few years ago if I would like to edit one of Jane Austen’s novels, I quickly answered that I would be happy to, and especially if I could edit her greatest novel. “I’m … Read More...

Opium’s Invasion

October 2015

“Who is the man who can take his leave of the realms of opium?” demanded the French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire in Les Paradis artificiels (1860). Not Thomas De Quincey. Opium was the central fact of his … Read More...