Claude Lévi-Strauss

Günter Grass, who died last year, photographed in 1981

Günter Grass: from enfant terrible to Grand Old Man

31 December 2016 9:00 am

Günter Grass was a mischief-maker, who set out to eclipse his equally brilliant fellow writers, says Rachel Seiffert. But his early novels – The Tin Drum, especially – fully deserved the limelight

Flamboyant intellectuals: René Descartes (main picture) and Bernard-Henri Lévy (below), in 1978

Liberty, philosophy and 246 types of cheese

20 June 2015 9:00 am

The French have always favoured grand, elegant abstractions about the human condition, says Ruth Scurr. It’s part of their national identity

Author Tom McCarthy Photo: Getty

Symbolism and a man called U: more avant-garde fiction from Tom McCarthy

21 March 2015 9:00 am

In a 2008 essay Zadie Smith held up Tom McCarthy’s austere debut Remainder as a bold exemplar of avant-garde fiction,…