Briefing notes

50Virtual worlds and second lives Why are a growing number of people devoting themselves to the virtual world of Second Life ? VICTOR KEEGAN

Arts and books


59 Hearing myself think I am at Heathrow airport because there’s someone I have to meet. I just don’t yet know who. RICHARD BEARD



54Obasanjo’s legacy Is Nigeria a beacon of hope, or still mired in corruption and violence? As the country votes for a new president in April, Imeet up with my old friend Olusegun Obasanjo. JONATHAN POWER


12These islands A city of colonies. SIMON JENKINS

21Washington watch Barack Obama’s halo slips. TUMBLER

44Rivers of Babylon Sabreen’s honour. NIBRAS KAZIMI

49Lab report South Korea’s ethical robots. PHILIP BALL

80Confessions I once set fire to a nun. HILARY MANTEL


06Letters 08News & curiosities 10Grayling’s question 10Enigmas & puzzles 58The list 73Classifieds 78The generalist


Joe Boyd on the blues. CAR Hills writes from Belmarsh prison. David McWilliams on the Irish rich. Julian Gough on comic writing. The next issue ofProspectis published on 26th April

64 Snared by the past Ian McEwan’s new novel isboth a triumphant piece of social history and a reminder of the misery caused by an earlier age’s sexual decorum. TOM CHATFIELD

65Degrees of silence A knowledgeable audience can make all the difference to a classical music concert. London is lucky.


67Points of departure Transformations, miracles and slippages are at the heart of David Malouf’s rich and poetic fiction.


69Englishness in the mirror The audiences flocking to the Hogarth exhibition at Tate Britain are there to look at themselves. PAUL BARKER

70God and Caesar Michael Burleigh’s study of the intersection of politics and religion in the 20th century is a monumental accomplishment. FREDERIC RAPHAEL

Arts columns

63Widescreen My week with Maggie Cheung.


77Private view Russia tries for an art boom. BEN LEWIS

79Smallscreen Jamie Oliver’s terrible television. CHRISTOPHER HIRD


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Web exclusives

CHARLES GRANT looks back on the EU’s next 20 years

JAMES WALVIN marks the 200th anniversary of the end of the slave trade

SIMON BLACKBURN explains why we will miss Jean Baudrillard


HILARY DAVIES on the terrible twins of Poland

MAX STEUER on the ignorant paranoia of Adam Curtis

Online archive

Revisit our past coverage of some of the topics covered in this issue.


GRAHAM BOWLEY on the congestion charge, March 2003

ALEXANDER LINKLATER on “bloody lovely London,”February 2002


ANDREW BROWN on the literature of consciousness, November 1997

AS BYATT on Antonio Damasio, June 2003


RICHARD LAYARD urges politicians to get utilitarian, March 2005 WILL WILKINSON on riches and happiness, October 2006

Prospect APRIL 2007 5