Books

Bellamont Forest, Co. Cavan (c.1728), often described as a perfect Palladian villa, was designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce for Thomas Coote

Bedding down with the butler in Georgian Ireland

21 May 2016 9:00 am

If you had the resources, Georgian Ireland must have been a very agreeable place in which to live. It was…

The city’s beauty has often been described as ‘melancholic’, ‘sinister’ or ‘dreamlike’

‘The finest architectural delusion in the world’

14 May 2016 9:00 am

It took the madness of genius to build such a wonderful impossibility. Patrick Marnham reviews a delightful new literary guide to Venice

Jeremy Thorpe leaves the Old Bailey (Photo: Getty)

Jeremy Thorpe gets off Scott-free

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Appropriately for the dog days of British politics, there’s plenty of canine activity in this neatly groomed account of the…

What narrative can be teased out of Gustave Caillebotte’s ‘The Bridge of Europe’?

The art critic who loved to provoke the Establishment

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Richard Dorment doesn’t do whimsy. Or Stanley Spencer. He’s a fan of Cy Twombly and Brice Marden, Gilbert and George…

Author A.L. Kennedy (Photo: Getty)

Disgusted of London - A.L. Kennedy's Serious Sweet reviewed

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Twenty-four long hours, two lonely people, one city in decline. This is the premise of A.L. Kennedy’s new novel Serious…

Following a mistranslation of the Old Testament, Michelangelo depicted Moses with horns

‘Thou shalt commit adultery’

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Jesuits, the leading apologists for Rome and Catholic revival in Elizabethan England, cast a long shadow over the paranoid post-Armada…

1960's Birmingham (Photo: Getty)

The deceptive charm of the bourgeoisie

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Glimpsing the title of Lynsey Hanley’s absorbing new book as it fell out of the jiffy bag, I found myself…

Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha and Chou En Lai, 1966 (Photo: Getty)

Enver Hoxha: Stalin’s devilish disciple

14 May 2016 9:00 am

In his final public appearance, the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha addressed a Tirana crowd to commemorate the capital’s liberation from…

T. rex hunted live prey but wouldn’t pass up a free meal if it sniffed one out

T. rex: the greatest celebrity of all time

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Tyrannosaurus rex is the greatest celebrity of all time. The 68–66 million-year-old carnivore is far older than any actor or…

Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov (Photo: Getty)

Andrey Kurkov’s The Bickford Fuse is a satirical masterpiece

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Whimsy, satire and deadpan humour: welcome to the world of Andrey Kurkov. If you know Kurkov’s work, The Bickford Fuse…

Another-new-Medici

Florence's black Medici prince: a drama worthy of Shakespeare

7 May 2016 9:00 am

The life – and violent death – of a very unusual Renaissance prince has Alex von Tunzelmann enthralled

Author Lionel Shriver (Photo: Getty)

A bleak future — without cabbages or kings

7 May 2016 9:00 am

One happy aspect of Lionel Shriver’s peek into the near future (the novel opens in 2029) is the number of…

Berthold Lubetkin's Sivill House, East London (Photo: Getty)

Marina Lewycka’s Granny steals the show

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Marina Lewycka’s latest happy-go-lucky tale of migrant folk in Britain takes a remark by the modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin as…

A butterfly-powered parachute gently ridicules the French obsession with flight in the late 18th century, illustrated in Gaston Tissandier’s Histoire des ballons et des aéronautes célèbres: 1783–1800

Steve Jones’s chaotic theory of history

7 May 2016 9:00 am

‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad.’ Philip Larkin’s most famous line has appeared in the Spectator repeatedly, and…

The combination of playing cards poker casino

How we went from mere betting to gaming the world

7 May 2016 9:00 am

If I prang your car, we can swap insurance details. In the past, it would have been necessary for you…

Kathmandu is famously reputed to have more temples than houses, more idols than residents

Kathmandu — or don’t

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Although Nepal’s earthquake last April visited our television screens with images of seismic devastation, the disaster has probably had little…

Author Tahmima Anam (Photo: Getty)

Losers in the game of life

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Mysteries abound here — enigmas of identity and betrayal, long-buried secret transactions leading to quests — for a lost child,…

Composer Clara Schumann (Photo: Getty)

Out of time and harsh: the historical treatment of the female composer

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Just a few weeks ago, Germany’s VAN magazine published an interview with the composer Olga Neuwirth. In it she describes…

Hip-hop

The hip-hop intellectual from inner-city Baltimore

7 May 2016 9:00 am

The author of the bestseller Between the World and Me and recipient of a MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ last year, Ta-Nehisi…

Emil Zátopek at the height of his powers

Emil Zátopek: a legend from athletics’ golden age of innocence

7 May 2016 9:00 am

The story of the Czechoslovak runner Emil Zátopek is a tale from athletics’ age of innocence. Without the aid of…

Encyclopedia Britannica, advertisement, 1922 (Photo: Getty)

A love letter to all great dictionaries

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Asked to name a reference book, you may well choose the Encyclopaedia Britannica or the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary. But…

Julia O'Faolain (Photo: Getty)

Existentialism and taboo sex scream of youth trying too hard

7 May 2016 9:00 am

How many debut collections does it take to stand up to one of the most accomplished short-story writers of the…

Oliver Goldsmith: still an enigma

Oliver Goldsmith: the most fascinating bore in literature

7 May 2016 9:00 am

On 10 April 1772, the biographer James Boswell recorded in his diary that he had hugged himself with pleasure on…

‘Street in Auvers-sur-Oise’ by Vincent van Gogh

Why we love unfinished art

30 April 2016 9:00 am

An unfinished painting can provide a startling glimpse of the artist at work. But the common tendency to prefer it to a finished work is being taken to extremes, says Philip Hensher

2709182_HiRes

The Wicked Boy is finally redeemed

30 April 2016 9:00 am

During the heatwave in the summer of 1895, the Gentlemen v. Players match at Lords Cricket Ground on 8 July…