Adam Nicolson rss

‘Thetis giving Achilles his arms’ (fresco), Giulio Romano, 1492–1546

A new translation of the Iliad

8 August 2015
The Iliad, Homer: A New Translation Peter Green

University of California Press, pp.580, £19.95, ISBN: 9780520281417

‘Why do another translation of Homer?’ Richmond Lattimore asked in the foreword to his own great translation of the Iliad first published in 1951. It was a doubt he was… Read more

A ‘nurse log’ — a tree stump in which a seed has germinated, thereby avoiding browsing herbivores and the overshading of undergrowth. From Uncommon Ground by Dominick Tyler

‘Broadband’ for ‘bluebell’...‘chatroom’ for ‘catkin’: standard vocabulary is being increasingly lost to the new technology, says Robert Macfarlane

28 February 2015
Landmarks Robert Macfarlane

Hamish Hamilton, pp.388, £20, ISBN: 9780241146538

Uncommon Ground: A Word-lover’s Guide to the British Landscape Dominick Tyler

Guardian Books/Faber, pp.247, £16.99, ISBN: 9781783350483

Wolfsnow is a dangerous blizzard at sea; slogger the sucking sound made by waves against a ship’s sides; ammil the sparkle of morning sunlight through hoar-frost; af’rug the reflection of… Read more

Iceland, depicted in a World Atlas of 1553

The Edge of the World: deep subject, shallow history

8 November 2014
The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are Michael Pye

Viking, pp.400, £25, ISBN: 9780670922321

The Mediterranean glows in our conception of the Continent, the warm source of everything that is best in us, the seat of civilisation, from which one delicious wave after another… Read more

‘Snow at Louveciennes’ by Alfred Sisley, 1878

Bleak beauty

15 December 2012
Winter Adam Gopnik

Quercus, pp.288, £18.99, ISBN: 9781780874449

Adam Gopnik’s dazzlingly knowledgeable and beautifully told essays on winter began life as the Massey Lecture Series on Canadian National Radio, the Canadian Reith lectures. But dismiss from your mind… Read more

‘Bear Baiting’, by Henry Thomas Alken (188-1851), published by Thomas McLean, 1820

A chronicle of brutality

8 September 2012
Animal Encounters: Human and Animal Interaction in Britain from the Norman Conquest to World War One Arthur MacGregor

Reaktion Books, pp.512, £40, ISBN: 9781861898494

In the 1820s and 30s, London used about 20 million goose quills a year. The government’s Stationery Office on its own was still getting through half a million a year… Read more

Enchanting waters

14 May 2011
To the River Olivia Laing

Canongate, pp.283, 16.99

This is a book which is sometimes so private that reading it seems very nearly like an act of invasiveness. There is nothing salacious or rude in it, but its… Read more


Beyond pretty

17 March 2010
At the Water’s Edge: A Personal Quest for Wildness John Lister-Kaye

Canongate, pp.309, 18.99

For the last 30 years John Lister-Kaye has lived at Aigas, in the valley of the River Beauly, seven or eight miles from the sea and half an hour west… Read more

Behind the wit

13 May 2009
Home to Roost and Other Peckings Deborah Devonshire

John Murray, pp.168, 10

Home to Roost and Other Peckings by Deborah Devonshire, edited by Charlotte Mosley As Alan Bennett says in his introduction, ‘Deborah Devonshire is not someone to whom one can say… Read more


Out of his shell

12 November 2008
Notes from Walnut Tree Farm Roger Deakin, edited by Alison Hastie and Terence Blacker

Hamish Hamilton, pp.309, 20

Notes from Walnut Tree Farm, by Roger Deakin, edited by Alison Hastie and Terence Blacker The writer, Robert Macfarlane, said of his friend, Roger Deakin, that everything Deakin had ever… Read more