Books

How David Rosenhan’s fraudulent Thud experiment set back psychiatry for decades

25 January 2020 9:00 am

In 1973, a social psychologist from Stanford perpetrated one of the greatest scientific frauds of recent history. Its consequences still resonate today, says Andrew Scull

Babies are aware of bilingualism from birth — if not before

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Probably most of the world is bilingual, or more than bilingual. It is common in many countries to speak a…

Rembrandt remains an enigma

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–69) is not only the presiding genius of the Dutch golden age of painting, but one…

The Pearl Harbor fiasco need never have happened

25 January 2020 9:00 am

It is sometimes said that intelligence failures are often failures of assessment rather than collection. This is especially so when…

We were highly amused: the Queen — and Mrs Thatcher — thought Ken Dodd tattyfilarious

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Doddy! Thou shouldst be living at this hour. England hath need of tickling sticks. So also hath the rest of…

Dreaming of the desert: my life in the Sahara, by Sanmao

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Travel writing is ‘the red light district of literature’, as Colin Thubron aptly put it, a space where anything goes.…

The wanderings of Ullis: Low, by Jeet Thayil, reviewed

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Jeet Thayil’s previous novel, The Book of Chocolate Saints, an account of a fictional Indian artist and poet told in…

Desperate to preserve her sister Jane’s reputation, Cassandra Austen lost her own

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Poor Cassy. The Miss Austen of this novel’s title is Cassandra, Jane’s elder sister. She was to have married Thomas…

Making mischief: J.M. Coetzee’s The Death of Jesus is one almighty tease

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Late in this final volume of a tantalising trilogy, we hear that its enigmatic boy hero ‘would never tell you…

In this golden age of corruption, it takes much courage to be a whistleblower

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Midway through Crisis of Conscience, the massive new compendium about US whistleblowers by the journalist Tom Mueller, I wanted to…

Does questioning women about their sex lives constitute harassment?

25 January 2020 9:00 am

Alert to the combination of a controversial issue and a brilliant writer, Serpent’s Tail have bought This is a Pleasure,…

How did the infamous Josef Mengele escape punishment?

25 January 2020 9:00 am

The atrocities of the concentration camp at Auschwitz–Birkenau are now universally known, but it is still almost beyond belief that…

Carrying on loving: Elizabeth Hardwick’s and Robert Lowell’s remarkable correspondence throughout the 1970s

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Andrew Rosenheim examines the remarkable correspondence between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick following the breakup of their marriage

Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Tales are among the most harrowing in all literature

18 January 2020 9:00 am

‘I consist of the shards into which the Republic of Kolyma shattered me,’ Varlam Shalamov once told a fellow gulag…

Deborah Orr rages against her small-town upbringing

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Unlike a lot of people in the media, I didn’t personally know Deborah Orr, but I know many who did,…

Five bluestockings in one Bloomsbury square

18 January 2020 9:00 am

The presiding genius of this original and erudite book is undoubtedly Virginia Woolf, whose essay ‘A Room of One’s Own’…

A lovable, impossible man: Bryan Robertson, gifted curator and Spectator critic

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Andrew Lambirth claims that Bryan Robertson was ‘the greatest director the Tate Gallery never had’; but on the evidence of…

Believing in big data is equivalent to believing in the stars

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Look up at the sky on a clear night. This is not an astrological game. (Indeed, the experiment’s more impressive…

Is it a Rake’s or a Pilgrim’s Progress for Rob Doyle?

18 January 2020 9:00 am

‘To live and die without knowing the psychedelic experience,’ says the narrator of Threshold, ‘is comparable to never having encountered…

Zimbabwe’s chaotic history has at least produced some outstanding fiction

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s arresting Nervous Conditions appeared in 1988 and was the first novel published in English by a black Zimbabwean…

The dark past of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge

18 January 2020 9:00 am

A distinctive pattern of horizontal and vertical lines appears in the background of many of Eadweard Muybridge’s best-known photographs, giving…

Whores of phwoar: women talking dirty

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Jonathon Green is a tosher. As a lexicographer he dives into archives and emerges with armfuls of slangy curios, such…

The Tudor dynasty owed everything to Margaret Beaufort’s machinations

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Thomas Penn describes how Margaret Beaufort, with her extraordinary flair for realpolitik, successfully navigated one of the most hazardous periods of English history

Reasons for remembering things: the refugee’s last resort

11 January 2020 9:00 am

A family memoir is a dangerous thing to write: one has to balance between keeping one’s subjects happy and the…

The deadly war game of the Battle of the Atlantic

11 January 2020 9:00 am

My father served in the Royal Navy during the second world war. He drank over-proof rum and smoked unfiltered cigarettes,…