Reading London Review of Books (recent issues)

|Not all interesting things are beautiful and not all beautiful ones are interesting.|

|was [Helen] abducted by Paris or did she go willingly?|

|John Lyly gives Helen a scar on her chin – the equivalent of the flaw in a Ming vase that perfects it.|

|‘Her name was burned into the pages of history …’ |

|[China …] a civilisation based on morality without supernaturalism, a great culture where the doctrine of original sin didn’t prevail and a country where no priesthood had ever dominated.| But what about ancestor-worship and  The Mandate of Heaven, to name just two things — surely these have some supernatural qualities?

|fragile-seeming gestures, songs, jokes, metaphors, teasing sentences, often have long lives in the intimacy of many minds. |

|‘the dream is not to understand everything (anything), it is to understand something else.’ |

|‘When you start separating the people from their rivers what have you got? Bureaucracy!’|

|In other words, to go forward we must go back. London is unchanging.|

|The brand name was stamped, grey on grey, above the steel-shuttered window: OLYMPIC.| 

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