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C O N T E N T S

No. 6085

November 15 2019

the-tls.co.uk

UK £3.95 | 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

Jamie Fisher The myth of the Welfare Queen | Caryn Rose Springsteen’s runaway dreams |

Adam Mars-Jones Martin Scorsese’s pace | Brian Klaas Boris, Brexit and Trump

George Eliot

200th Anniversary

Feature

How to read Looking at George Eliot through Virginia Woolf’s eyes

Cover illustration by Darren Smith

In this issue

Iimagine that as you are reading this you are noticing some changes to the look of the TLS. Indeed, we have a new logo, new fonts and a new design. The quality of the prose we publish will now, I hope, be matched by the elegance of its surroundings. Similar changes will affect our online presence over the next couple of weeks. We are about to launch a new imprint, TLS Books, too.

Many things are not changing, of course; the contents of the TLS will remain as varied and as beautifully written as they have ever been. And this week’s issue has a particularly close connection to the words of the past. Our celebration of the bicentenary of George Eliot’s birth includes a one-hundred-year-old piece by the TLS stalwart Virginia Woolf. The essay comes from our book Genius and Ink: Virginia Woolf on how to read, a collection of the wise and charming reviews she wrote for the paper over a period of thirty years. As Francesca Wade notes, Woolf’s association with the TLS was critical to her development as a writer and a professional woman living by her pen: when she received her first pay slip with the breakfast plate, she declared “now we are free women”. Woolf’s approach to reviewing remains the ideal today: “to enter into the mind of the writer; to see each work of art by itself, and to judge how far each artist has succeeded in his aim”.

So what did Woolf make of Eliot? She wanted first to get past the caricature, for “one cannot escape the conviction that the long, heavy face with its expression of serious and sullen and almost equine power has stamped itself depressingly upon the minds of people who remember George Eliot so that it looks out upon them from her pages”. Yet Woolf remained rather transfixed by Eliot the woman, who inspired her to write so well and whom she ultimately saw as “a memorable figure, inordinately praised and shrinking from her fame, despondent, reserved, shuddering back into the arms of love as if there alone were satisfaction and, it might be, justification”.

Elsewhere in this issue, we continue to look to the present as well as the past. Jamie Fisher contemplates the mythical spectre of the “welfare queen” in America. Ruth Scurr and Brian Klaas survey the current political scene on both sides of the Atlantic. And Adam Mars-Jones reports on an elder statesman of cinema, Martin Scorsese, who in his new film The Irishman manages to reinvent himself in familiar fashion. Continuity and change, as ever, are two forces that need to be kept in balance. I do hope you enjoy our own reinvention.

STIG ABELL

Editor

Find us on www.the-tls.co.uk

Times Literary Supplement

@TheTLS @the.tls

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