Book review

When Francis Davison made me judge — and burn — his art

30 November 2013 9:00 am

In 1983, Damien Hirst saw an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery of the collages of Francis Davison which ‘blew him…

The Last Knight, by Robert O’Byrne - review

30 November 2013 9:00 am

I have to declare an interest: for many years the Knight and I were the closest of friends until a…

A book that's inspired by a movie (for a change)

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Books become films every day of the week; more rarely does someone feel inspired to write a book after seeing…

The wounded Kennedy – and the people who gave him strength

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Ten years ago, a determined historian transformed our picture of John F. Kennedy. Robert Dallek had finally got his hands…

The men who demolished Victorian Britain

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Anyone with a passing interest in old British buildings must get angry at the horrors inflicted on our town centres…

American Smoke, by Iain Sinclair - review

23 November 2013 9:00 am

If you have read Iain Sinclair’s books you will know that he is a stylist with a love of language.…

The best cookery books of 2013

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Nigel Slater’s books lead the field in cookery book design, but his latest, Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food…

The vengeance of Alex Ferguson

23 November 2013 9:00 am

For a quarter of a century Sir Alex Ferguson bestrode football’s narrow world like a colossus. Like his predecessor knight-manager,…

Look! Shakespeare! Wow! George Eliot! Criminy! Jane Austen!

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Among the precursors to this breezy little book are, in form, the likes of The Story of Art, Our Island…

Did Leonard Bernstein do too much to be a great artist?

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Nigel Simeone’s title for his edition of Leonard Bernstein’s correspondence rings compellingly, novellistically, through the force of the definite article,…

Rebus is good, but not as sharp as he once was

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Cig 1 Auld Reekie . . . Edinburgh . . . brewers’ town, stinking of beer, whisky, tweeness, gentility, hypocrisy,…

The Briton whose achievement equals that of the Pharaohs'

16 November 2013 9:00 am

We constantly need to be reminded that the consequence of war is death. In the case of the first world…

How many positions are there in the Kamasutra?

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Numbers, as every mathematician knows, do odd things. But they’re never odder than in the human context. Ever since we…

Through It All I’ve Always Laughed, by Count Arthur Strong - review

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Fans of Count Arthur Strong (and yes I know he’s so Marmite you could spread him on a cheese sandwich)…

Blonde, beautiful — and desperate to survive in Nazi France

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Around 200 Englishwomen lived through the German Occupation of Paris. Nicholas Shakespeare’s aunt Priscilla was one. Men in the street…

One Leg Too Few may be one biography too many

16 November 2013 9:00 am

It’s no joke, writing about comedians. Their work is funny, their lives are not. Rightly honouring the former while accurately…

Why do the British love cryptic crosswords?

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Everyone loves an anniversary and the crossword world — if there is such a thing — has been waiting a…

A place of paranoia, secrecy, corruption, hypocrisy and guilt

16 November 2013 9:00 am

‘Is he a good writer? Is he pro-regime?’ an Iranian journalist in London once asked me of Hooman Majd. Majd…

The cover of a popular late-19th-century edition of Mary Shelley’s novel. Frankenstein confronts the monster he has created

How the Romantics ruined lives

16 November 2013 9:00 am

It is perhaps the most celebrated house-party in the history of literary tittle-tattle: a two-house-party to be precise. Byron and…

Why do we pounce on Wagner's anti-Semitism, and ignore that of the Russian composers?

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on how an impassioned, chaotic group of amateur 19th-century composers created the first distinctively Russian music

What would Auden have deemed evil in our time? European jingoism

9 November 2013 9:00 am

‘Goodbye to the Mezzogiorno’ was the first Auden poem that Alexander McCall Smith read in his youth. He discovered it…

Roman baths didn't make you clean — and other gems from Peter Jones's Veni, Vedi, Vici

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Spectator readers need no introduction to Peter Jones. His Ancient and Modern column has instructed and delighted us for many…

How much can you tell about E.E. Cummings from this photo?

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Do you think you can tell things about writers from the way they look in a painting or photograph? A…

Mary Killen: Sandi Toksvig is wrong about the placement of the pudding fork

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Sandi Toksvig, as this book’s cover declares, ‘makes Stephen Fry look like a layabout’. The broadcaster, author, comedian, actress and…

Can virgins have babies?

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Mrs Christabel Russell, the heroine of Bevis Hillier’s sparkling book, was a very modern young woman. She had short blonde…