Literature | A reviewer says it’s a good thing the archbishop of Canterbury has written a book about Dostoyevsky. To figure out this Russian fellow, “we need a guide who combines the gifts of a literary critic and a trained theologian.” And like Dostoyevsky, the cleric, through his unruly Church of England, knows what it’s like to juggle “incompatible beliefs.” [TLS]
It is seen as the mark of civilised eating, distinguishing well-fed French workers from the English who wolf prawn sandwiches at their desks. But France’s tradition of the three-course restaurant lunch is in danger of being killed off by the economic crisis.
Around 3,000 traditional French restaurants, cafes and bars went bust in the first three months of 2008 and unions predict a further rush of closures as people worry about making ends meet. The number of French restaurants going bankrupt rose by 25 percent from last year, and cafes forced to close were up by 56 percent.
Le Figaro’s renowned restaurant critic François Simon said yesterday that French consumers’ frugality had changed national eating habits and forced restaurant owners to the brink. Diners were now skipping the traditional aperitif, avoiding starters, drinking tap water, passing on wine and coffee and—at most—sharing a pudding.
The president of the British Cartographic Society says Internet mapping (Google Maps etc.) is wiping away the richness of Britain’s geography and history. She says “corporate cartographers” are leaving off landmarks like churches, ancient woodlands and stately homes. And history out of sight is history out of memory. [BBC]