Books

Forbidden love and the beautiful game

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Nowadays, most of us living in the liberal West agree that there can never be anything morally wrong with love…

Fantastic interpretations of the inkblots might imply either madness or high intelligence and creativity. Rorschach was convinced the tests could distinguish between the two

Could the Rorschach tests spot a Nazi?

4 March 2017 9:00 am

There may be something in the Rorschach tests, says Philip Hensher, but can it really be measured?

Denton Welch with baroque angel at Hadlow Road, Tonbridge, 1937

The embarrassing love letters of Denton Welch

4 March 2017 9:00 am

On the Whitsun weekend of 1935 an art student called Denton Welch was knocked off his bicycle by a car…

Thick as thieves in Georgian London

25 February 2017 9:00 am

‘To get a confession from a proud male factor, it is always better to call for a poet than a…

How we overcame Aids against all the odds

21 January 2017 9:00 am

This month, 30 years ago, I wrote a draft of what was to become soon afterwards the first comprehensive human…

Josette Day and Jean Marias in La Belle et La Bête, one of Cocteau’s most visually stunning films

Jean Cocteau: confessions of an opium addict

7 January 2017 9:00 am

All biography is both an act of homage and a labour of dissection, and all biographers are jealous of their…

Mrs Benson and her three sons, 1884

There were none so queer as the Bensons

12 November 2016 9:00 am

The Benson family was one of the most extraordinary of Victorian England, and they certainly made sure that we have…

Sir Maurice Oldfield: a spymaster smeared

27 August 2016 9:00 am

In March 1981 Margaret Thatcher went to the hospital bedside of Maurice Oldfield, the former head of the Secret Intelligence…

‘Stack building, Malvern Hills’, by Laura Knight

A.E. Housman: the laureate of repression

2 July 2016 9:00 am

A.E. Housman’s poems leave us with the impression of fire that has been carefully wrapped in ice, says Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata strikes all the right notes

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Rose Tremain sets the true story of Police Captain Paul Grüninger, commander of the Swiss border force in Canton Saint…

Britten and Pears, photographed by Cecil Beaton

The Britten-Pears relationship: no longer an (open) secret

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘You are the most adorable man and artist, intelligent, gifted, simple, loving and noble… I am really very, very lucky…

Roland Penrose sculpting

The surreal life — and loves — of Roland Penrose

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Roland Penrose: The Life of a Surrealist

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…

At last – Going Clear is over here

23 April 2016 9:00 am

At last! It has taken over two years, but a British publisher has summoned up the nerve to bring out…

T.E. Lawrence: from young romantic to shame-shattered veteran

16 April 2016 9:00 am

T.E. Lawrence is seen as a ‘metaphor for imperialism, violence and betrayal’ in the Middle East. But woeful Arab leadership has also been to blame for the region’s problems, says Justin Marozzi

Sex behind the scenes at Sofia’s National Palace of Culture

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Garth Greenwell’s debut novel is as dreary and oppressive as the Soviet-era apartment buildings among which it takes place. But…

The writer Natalie Barney and painter Romaine Brooks in Paris c. 1915

From Auden to Wilde: a roll call of gay talent

9 April 2016 9:00 am

The Comintern was the name given to the international communist network in the Soviet era, advancing the cause wherever it…

‘Like Georgia O’Keefe, Mapplethorpe eroticised flowers — possibly finding them more biddable than his frisky partners in gimp masks and chains.’ Left: Self-portrait, 1982. Right: Calla Lily

Robert Mapplethorpe: bad boy with a camera

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Robert Mapplethorpe made his reputation as a photographer in the period between the 1969 gay-bashing raid at the Stonewall Inn…

Hitting rock bottom in LA

19 March 2016 9:00 am

The title of this book tells you a lot. Jack Sutherland, who grew up in London and Los Angeles, worked…

Happy early days: Erika and Klaus in 1927

Was Klaus Mann all Thomas Mann's fault?

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Thomas Mann, despite strong homosexual emotions, had six children. The two eldest, Erika and Klaus, born in 1905 and 1906…

A portrait of a gay boxer

3 October 2015 9:00 am

I don’t like boxing. If I ever get into a boxing ring, I’ll be in the corner with the governor…

The trials of living with a High Court judge

29 August 2015 9:00 am

This intensely written memoir by Adam Mars-Jones about his Welsh father, Sir William, opens with the death of Sheila, Adam’s…

An epic study of trauma and friendship in the age of self-invention

15 August 2015 9:00 am

Just over a century after Virginia Woolf declared that ‘on or about December 1910 human character changed’, the American novelist…

Life after Vera: Patrick Gale’s hero finds happiness towards the end of the Saskatchewan line

21 March 2015 9:00 am

Patrick Gale’s first historical novel is inspired by a non-story, a gap in his own family record. His great-grandfather Harry…

Hock and partridge help fascism go down in 1930s London

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Anthony Quinn’s fourth novel, set in London’s artistic and theatrical circles in 1936, is not the kind in which an…