Entries by Colin McGinn

Max on Enoch Soames

“He was a stooping, shambling person, rather tall, very pale, with longish and brownish hair. He had a thin vague beard–or rather, he had a chin on which a large number of hairs weakly curled and clustered to cover its retreat.”


The birds sing, the butterflies fly, and the reptiles scamper–and that’s just in my garden. Meanwhile the earth turns heavily on its axis.

The Animals

This morning I had an interesting experience. I was due to speak on a panel for the BBC World Service about animal experimentation, especially on primates, along with four other people. The other panelists were from other parts of the world, including the UK, and so I needed to be at the studio by 8 […]

Roger and Novak

Yesterday’s final in Rome between Federer and Djokovic was a fascinating spectacle, not only for the superb tennis but for the psychology of the event. Federer was thoroughly outclassed in two punishing sets. The look on his face at first said, “This guy is a better tennis player than I am”. Then the look deepened […]

Two Books

People seem to have some very funny ideas about how two of my books were published by OUP: The Meaning of Disgust and Basic Structures of Reality. After presenting the material of these books in seminars and discussing them with colleagues I sent the completed books to OUP. They then engaged anonymous reviewers, experts in the field, […]

Max Beerbohm

I read a very good article in the most recent NYRB (May 21) about Max Beerbohm, written by Phillip Lopate. I found myself resonating to the Beerbohm sensibility, which I would find hard to summarize. With the miracle of youtube I listened to an old broadcast of his (1956) on BBC radio about London, past […]

Wolf Hall

Let me recommend this BBC-PBS series about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII. It’s not all pomp, pageantry, and patriotism; it’s about fear, power, and pettiness. Mark Rylance plays Cromwell with wonderful economy, inner life flashing behind still eyes. He is all intelligence and self-control, trying to manage a childish impetuous king, always in peril of […]


The other day I had a very interesting letter from someone who coaches varsity tennis at a major university. He had been reading my book Sport and had incorporated some of it into his training methods (it had to do with theoretical and practical knowledge), as well as mentioning it in an article on tennis for […]