Tony McKibbin writes for various magazines and journals in the UK and elsewhere. The website is a work in progress.

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Recent articles

Philippe Garrel

A Sorrow Beyond Self

It has become a truism that we recover from a break-up as we might recover from drugs, and science proves it: that the level of oxytocin flooding the brain resembles the pleasure principle of a good fix. The removal of the loved one, or the drug, leaves us bodily distraught. Is there any filmmaker who has coincided with this idle scientific fact and turned it into an aesthetic ongoing first princi…

Additional Pieces

The Dead

The Problem of Young Bones

In James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’, the wife recalls a young man who was in love with her and died some years before, and as she remembers him he seems to come more vividly alive in her imagination than her husband who stands in front of her. Joyce’s story may not have been influenced by cinema but it was written during the art form’s early years, the same year, 1914, that W…


The Ravishing of Lol Stein

The Tangling of Tenses

To understand the complexity of Marguerite Duras's The Ravishing of Lol Stein, let us see it as a menage a trois story twice told, with a ten-year gap. To tell one story of a complicated threesome is usually enough for a novel, but Duras wants to dislocate the temporal coordinates of one moment of time all the better to bring forth Time itself. We use time here as Proust utilises it at the end…




1 She and I were sitting outside in a cafe up in Hyndlands. It was early September, about five in the afternoon, and the modest sun warmed our face without the threat of burning our visage. I had been waiting for Cass to finish work in the bookshop on Byres Rd and had been there an hour before she arrived, the luxury of an academic post which allowed me to work from home or at another place that p…


The Challenge


There are many formulas for reducing fiction to the baldest of basics. Someone arrives or someone leaves; someone wants something; somebody else wishes to stop them getting it; a person is ignorant; they gain wisdom. These all describe the content of the story. A person leaves home for the first time; a person returns after years away. A person wishes to build a hospital for the poor; the rich lan…

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