Leicester

              Dear Mamma, the great-coat has come, whose use, and my gratitude for it, will surely cumulate                      all winter long, if        the cold has not caused me to need it until now.                However, all the last fortnight floods of rain have fallen—the farms all look like lagoons,                      and even College        has turned picturesque, a sort of moated fortress,               or bastion, you might say, given our fashion of flinging a recusant gauntlet to Progress—some                      (though not you, mother)        would declare it quite the Old

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Dearest Bun

Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica Edited by Anthony Thwaite (Faber & Faber, 475 pp., $49.50) I. A good place to start on the protagonists of this curious correspondence—culled from some 1,400 letters discovered after the addressee’s death in 2001—is the wrap-around photograph that takes up most of both sides of the book’s dust jacket. The picture shows a grassy cliff-top on the island of Sark. It is, clearly, summer.

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Dearest Bun

Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica Edited by Anthony Thwaite (Faber & Faber, 475 pp., $49.50) I. A good place to start on the protagonists of this curious correspondence—culled from some 1,400 letters discovered after the addressee’s death in 2001—is the wrap-around photograph that takes up most of both sides of the book’s dust jacket. The picture shows a grassy cliff-top on the island of Sark. It is, clearly, summer.

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Having spent a good deal of our time examining the path of the downturn and recovery within America’s own metropolitan areas, it’s great to see other organizations doing the same--and doing it with cool technology. In that vein, be sure to check out City Tracker, a new website from the U.K.’s Centre for Cities, which provides interactive maps, tables, and charts showing how that country’s major urban areas (more akin to our wider metropolitan areas than our central cities) have performed economically over the last 20 months. So who’s up, and who’s down?

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Portents

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West By Christopher Caldwell (Doubleday, 422 pp., $30)   As its subtitle makes clear, this is a book about immigration, Islam, and the West. But at the same time this is also a book about a particular moral culture, a set of attitudes, habits, and beliefs that has developed in Western Europe over the past sixty years. There isn’t a good shorthand way to describe this moral culture. Sometimes it is called “political correctness,” though politics as such does not define it.

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Maria Stuart may not seem like the perfect project for Ingmar Bergman's biannual exploration of classical texts. Written in 1800, some years after Schiller had completed The Robbers and Don Carlos, it is a typical product of Sturm und Drang--more workable perhaps as an opera libretto than as a dramatic text. Maria Stuart has a lot of strong scenes, particularly the confrontation between the two rival queens and the Machiavellian plotting of the treacherous courtiers.

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