Latest Issue

The library of Google

The Google search engine is making many of the world's great libraries available online. Is this an advance for scholarship, or, as a French librarian argues, a victory for Anglo-Saxon bias and trivialisation?

Ambitious failure

Zadie Smith is a talented young writer who may yet produce great fiction. Her third novel, "On Beauty," has its moments but its satire of the academy is laboured and its imitation of EM Forster unsubtle
Robert Alter  

In defence of mandarins

The meritocratic mandarinate and its humanist culture cushioned mass democracy from the excesses feared by 19th-century liberals. Now the mandarins are in retreat will the nightmare of mobocracy come true?
Michael Lind  

Charles Tilly

America's most prolific and interesting sociologist is unknown in Britain, which shows how far the discipline has faded here. Tilly offers insights on everything from riots to the persistence of inequality
Geoff Mulgan  

University challenge

Universities are struggling to cope with the expansion of higher education. Should students pay more for the benefits? Can you have excellence in a mass system? Does Britain really need world-class universities?
Alison Wolf  

Imperial values

The proposal to create a super-university in London would only benefit Imperial College; what UCL needs is a proper provost
Kathleen Burk