Books

Fated and enchanted love

7 February 2004 12:00 am

Wagner’s masterpiece, Tristan, has now a considerable literature of its own, with books devoted to its harmonic structure, its baleful…

A ghastly crew

7 February 2004 12:00 am

In September 1519 the Armada de Molucca of five ships and 250 sailors had set out from San L

The sleep of reason

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Like Francis Wheen’s other books, this one ends in a deliriously funny index, which is worth the cover price on…

Hide and seek

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The constant command in the works of Alberto Manguel is ‘look closer’. From his terrifying novel, News from a Foreign…

Quite the most delightful clergyman

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Simon Phipps, says the cover of this slim but engaging volume, was ‘the last of his breed of Bishop’. One…

A smile, a figure, a flair

31 January 2004 12:00 am

It’s hard to find an exciting biographical subject who has not been done and on whom sufficient unpublished papers and…

Moving swiftly on . . .

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Titles that begin with the phrase A Brief History of … are no doubt written that way to connote a…

Forward to the past

31 January 2004 12:00 am

If time travel were possible, surely there’d be people from the future causing mischief in the present? Well, not necessarily:…

Pioneer in a peculiar science

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The first distinguished person I ever met told me that he preferred funerals to weddings. ‘Weddings,’ he said, ‘are so…

An innocent at large in dystopia

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Turgenev wrote, ‘Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: “Great God,…

Plumbing the depths

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The sea frightens me. It seems so cold and cruel, even when it looks warm and inviting. It was with…

The full treatment

31 January 2004 12:00 am

The Portraits of Hector Berliozby G

A very errant knight

31 January 2004 12:00 am

Nicholas Shakespeare is one of the few contemporary British novelists who successfully integrate the political with the personal in the…

Lucky to be alive?

24 January 2004 12:00 am

Oracle Night describes a nine-day episode in the life of a writer, Sidney Orr. Orr is recovering from a long…

Strutting their stuff

24 January 2004 12:00 am

H. L. Mencken once said that the function of journalism was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, but…

A prickly but noble nation

24 January 2004 12:00 am

To my mind one of the relatively few happy circumstances of our time, as we grope into the 21st century,…

Fair as a star, when only one is shining in the sky

24 January 2004 12:00 am

The engagement diary of Anne Thackeray Ritchie (1837-1919) reads like a Victorian Who’s Who. Dickens, Trollope, Browning, George Eliot and…

The woman in black

24 January 2004 12:00 am

Catherine de Medici was, quite literally, the original black widow. After her husband, King Henri II of France, was accidentally…

Both deep and dazzling

17 January 2004 12:00 am

Rivalled only by the Rabbit novels, John Updike’s early stories — the 100 or so pieces of short fiction he…

Grenada’s crowning glory

17 January 2004 12:00 am

Four years ago this author gave us Night & Horses & the Desert, an anthology of classical Arabic literature, all…

The nations’ airy navies

17 January 2004 12:00 am

When in 1890 Captain A. T. Mahan, United States Navy, produced his book on The Influence of Sea Power on…

Where are the eagles and the trumpets?

17 January 2004 12:00 am

When Count Mikl

His master’s voice

17 January 2004 12:00 am

It is a measure of the hypermnesia of the Nazi period — and of the concomitant amnesia of the history…

Too much key, not enough novel

17 January 2004 12:00 am

Susanna Moore’s fifth novel opens on board the Jupiter in February 1836, with the ladies — make that a capital…

The endurance of oracles

17 January 2004 12:00 am

State constitutions throughout the ancient world were designed to imitate the order of the universe. Their model was an esoteric…