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T H I S W E E K

No. 6306

February 9 2024

the-tls.co.uk

UK £4.50 | USA $8.99

T H E T I M E S L I T E R A R Y S U P P L E M E N T

Toby Lichtig An Auschwitz memoir | Jonathan Egid Wittgenstein’s bombshell

Peter Stothard Horrible legions | Hettie Judah Dutch artobiography

Cancel culture The limits of academic free speech, by Carol Tavris

A “dignit y march” against censorship in Madrid, 2015 © Dani Pozo/AFP via Gett y Images

In this issue

A ccording to political folk wisdom, “a conser- vative is a liberal who has been mugged” and, contrariwise, “a liberal is a conservative who has been arrested by the police”. Carol Tavris recalls American faculty members being “mugged” by Cold War university bureaucrats and, more recently, by student radicals. She i s sticking by her l iberal academic principles. Her family were the victims of the McCarthyite Red Scare in 1950s America – her half-brother was kicked out of the US Army in the 1950s because of his “known association” with their father, briefly a member of the Communist Party in the 1930s. “I was optimistically, if delusionally, certain that the liberal commitment to free speech, open debate and scientific evidence would prevail if the tables were ever turned”, she writes. However, she now despairs of the cancel culture that she believes is prevalent in American universities.

In her TLS lead review Tavris endorses Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott’s thesis, in The Canceling of the American Mind, that the left too often equates “freedom of speech” with “hate speech”. Ironically, market power favours the censors: “Once students became high-paying consumers rather than, well, students, administrators had to retain them no matter how badly they behaved”. Along with Jonathan Haidt, Lukianoff has previously argued that the coddling of American youth by overprotective parents has led to a generation of students fearful of views that hurt their feelings. John Sutherland’s Triggered Literature shows more sympathy for “woke” students and the trigger warnings that alert them to contentious material – though he notes that by 2022 “British universities had covertly triggered over a thousand texts”. “Done responsibly [triggering] does not erase or meddle; it stimulates curiosity and thought”, he argues. Some views, however, really are unacceptable. Sutherland’s youthful admiration for Thackeray, for instance, has faded as the novelist’s racist language and advocacy of slavery have become more glaring with time.

My colleague Toby Lichtig reviews a notable addition to Holocaust literature, the first translation into English from the Hungarian of Cold Crematorium (1950), József Debreczeni’s eyewitness account of “the Land of Auschwitz”. Other such works celebrate those who resisted Nazi tyranny, but, Lichtig writes, “the Holocaust was not, by and large, a time of heroes”. The memoir’s unsparing account of “the strict pecking order” of the death camps has been compared to Primo Levi’s If This Is a Man (1947). Cold Crematorium sounds like a classic.

MARTIN IVENS

Editor

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2

3 CULTURAL STUDIES CAROL TAVRIS

6 LETTERS TO THE

EDITOR

KATHRYN MURPHY BRADLEY A. GORSKI

The Canceling of the American Mind – How cancel culture undermines trust, destroys institutions, and threatens us all Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott. Triggered Literature – Cancellation, stealth censorship and cultural warfare John Sutherland The Nonconformists – American and Czech writers across the Iron Curtain Brian K. Goodman Russian Style – Performing gender, power, and Putinism Julie A. Cassiday

The End of Enlightenment, Singing Horace, Huguenots, etc

7 MEMOIRS &

BIOGRAPHY

10 ART HISTORY

12 PHILOSOPHY

14 ARTS

16 FICTION

19 SOCIAL STUDIES

20 POETRY

TOBY LICHTIG JEFFREY VEIDLINGER

HETTIE JUDAH

KEITH MILLER

JONATHAN EGID

FLORA WILLSON PETER STOTHARD

MICHAEL LAPOINTE CHLOË ASHBY CATHERINE TAYLOR SEAN O’BRIEN LISA HILTON

EMILE CHABAL

PAUL BINDING

Cold Crematorium – Reporting from the land of Auschwitz József Debreczeni; Translated by Paul Olchváry The Counterfeit Countess – The untold story of the Jewish heroine who defied the Holocaust Elizabeth B. White and Joanna Sliwa

Thunderclap – A memoir of art and life and sudden death Laura Cumming. The Upside-Down World – Meetings with the Dutch masters Benjamin Moser Venice – City of Pictures Martin Gayford

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Ludwig Wittgenstein; Translated by Michael Beaney. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Ludwig Wittgenstein; Translated by Alexander Booth

Becoming a Composer Errollyn Wallen Legion – Life in the Roman army (British Museum). Legion – Life in the Roman army Richard Abdy

Wellness Nathan Hill The Lodgers Holly Pester What Doesn’t Kill Us Ajay Close Pity Andrew McMillan Psychopompe Amélie Nothomb

Fixing France – How to repair a broken republic Nabila Ramdani. Paris Isn’t Dead Yet – Surviving gentrification in the city of light Cole Stangler

The Blue House – Collected works of Tomas Tranströmer Tomas Tranströmer; Translated by Patty Crane

22 MEMOIRS

LINDSEY HILSUM DECLAN RYAN

The Mirror and the Road – Conversations with William Boyd Alistair Owen, editor O Brother John Niven

23 TRAVEL

24 IN BRIEF

26 BIOGRAPHY

RAPHAEL CORMACK IMOGEN MARCHANT

HENRY HITCHINGS

Alexandria – The city that changed the world Islam Issa A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages – The world through medieval eyes Anthony Bale

Sports and Social Kevin Boniface. Memento Mori: Memento Vivere Graham Moss. From Windhoek to Auschwitz? – Reflections on the relationship between colonialism and National Socialism Jürgen Zimmerer. Sufferah – Memoir of a Brixton reggae head Alex Wheatle. Monica Daniel Clowes. Wound Is the Origin of Wonder Maya Popa. The Competent Authority Iegor Gran; Translated by Ruth Diver

Erotic Vagrancy – Everything about Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor Roger Lewis

27 AFTERTHOUGHTS

IRINA DUMITRESCU

Crying out loud – On the irritating suffering of others

28 NB

M. C.

Authorial intelligence, Nadine Gordimer’s live world, RSL woes continued

Editor MARTIN IVENS (editor@the-tls.co.uk) Deputy Editor ROBERT POTTS (robert.potts@the-tls.co.uk) Associate Editor CATHARINE MORRIS (catharine.morris@the-tls.co.uk) Assistant to the Editor LISA TARLING (lisa.tarling@the-tls.co.uk) Editorial enquiries (queries@the-tls.co.uk) Managing Director JAMES MACMANUS (deborah.keegan@news.co.uk) Advertising Manager JONATHAN DRUMMOND (jonathan.drummond@the-tls.co.uk)

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TLS

FEBRUARY 9, 2024

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