Books

Going mad: A.K. Benjamin analyses himself

Playing mind games: Let Me Not Be Mad reviewed

2 March 2019 9:00 am

The journalist Auberon Waugh, in whose time-capsule of a flat I briefly lived in 2000, once summed up what he…

Hundreds of graves were vandalised in Sarre-Union’s Jewish cemetery in eastern France in February 2015

‘I know it when I see it’ – anti-Semitism for dummies

2 March 2019 9:00 am

Some people might argue that Deborah Lipstadt has given us the book we desperately need from the author best equipped…

Discover your inner wolf: love your family, value your home, respect your elders, be altruistic, and have fun, says Elli Radinger

Discover your inner wolf and lead a better life

23 February 2019 9:00 am

When it comes to showing emotion, are animals like humans or humans like animals? The difference is subtle but significant, says Kate Womersley

Detail of Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens’, with Pythagoras in the foreground. Hypatia, the first great female mathematician, is in white, beside a figure thought to be Parmenides

What the Ancient Greeks did for us

23 February 2019 9:00 am

I am undoubtedly, alas, an example of what the Fowler brothers, H.W. and F.G., of The King’s English fame, would…

An exposé of high-ranking gays in the Catholic Church bears the fingerprints of the Pope’s closest advisors

23 February 2019 9:00 am

The publication of In the Closet of the Vatican by the French gay polemicist Frédéric Martel has been meticulously timed…

Magda was beautiful, perfectly proportioned and elegant — all things her son had not appreciated when she was alive

How my mother survived the Nazis, but took her own life

23 February 2019 9:00 am

When the poet George Szirtes returned as an adult to Budapest, the city of his birth which he had left…

Marlon James

Tolkien in Africa: Black Leopard Red Wolf, by Marlon James, reviewed

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Anyone who has issues with Tolkien (at 16, even in a suitably ‘altered state’, I could not finish The Hobbit,…

Life at the Globe

23 February 2019 9:00 am

IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE PRINCIPAL PARTNERS OF SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE’S 2019 SUMMER SEASON We’ve been looking at various aspects of Richard…

Portrait of Ruskin dated 1870

John Ruskin: the making of a modern prophet

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Will John Ruskin’s concerns about the environment and his belief in a holistic approach to living make him fashionable again, wonders Sam Leith

The inventor of gonzo journalism: Hunter S. Thompson, in his heyday in the 1960s

How fear and loathing of Nixon sent Hunter S. Thompson crazy

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Hunter Stockton Thompson blazed across the republic of American arts and letters for too short a time. When in February…

The road to Calvary: Enrique Irazoqui as Christ in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1964 film The Gospel According to Matthew

Seeing and believing: the best spiritual films of Europe’s golden age

16 February 2019 9:00 am

The Italian film director Federico Fellini was not known for his piety (far from it), yet towards the end of…

The North Pole, from the star atlas of the French Jesuit priest and scientist, Ignace-Gaston Pardies, published in 1674

The unearthly powers of the North Pole

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Having spent too much of my life at both poles (writing, not sledge-pulling), I know the spells those places cast.…

Credit: Getty Images

Fiction for the #MeToo age: Victory, by James Lasdun, reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

James Lasdun is my favourite ‘should be famous’ writer, his work extraordinarily taut and compelling. His eye-boggling psychological thrillers are…

James Clerk Maxwell: funny, flippant and charming, with an extraordinarily fertile mechanical imagination

The powerful magnetism of James Clerk Maxwell

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Chances are, you are reading these words in some room or other. Build a wall down the middle of it,…

Sam Lipsyte. Credit: Ceridwen Morris

Hitting the bullseye: Hark, by Sam Lipsyte, reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

This is an ebullient, irreverent and deeply serious novel in the noble tradition of Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis (especially Babbitt…

Yiyun Li, Credit: Roger Turesson

No escape from grief: Where Reasons End, by Yiyun Li, reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

When Yiyun Li first became a writer, she decided that she would leave behind her native language, Chinese, and never…

James Simpson’s provocative book draws primarily on literary evidence, with Milton as its presiding genius

The brutish origins of British liberalism

16 February 2019 9:00 am

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the one to heaven may be surfaced with bad ones.…

Credit: Getty Images

Fun at the EU’s expense: The Capital, by Robert Menasse, reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Stendhal likened politics in literature to a pistol-shot in a concert: crude, but compelling. When that politics largely consists of…

The catch from the Dogger Bank is landed on the beach at Schevingen from Dutch fishing vessels — or ‘doggers’

Fishing for meaning in vanished Doggerland

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Adam Nicolson is entranced by a meditation on vanished Doggerland ­– the area that once connected England to the Continent

An island’s dark secrets: The Tempest, by Steve Sem-Sandberg, reviewed

9 February 2019 9:00 am

‘I should not have gone back to the island but I did it all the same.’ So begins the Swedish…

Kristen Roupenian Credit: Urszula Soltys

Kristen Roupenian’s debut short stories fulfil all expectations

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Kristen Roupenian’s debut collection, You Know You Want This (Cape, £12.99), comes hotly anticipated. Her short story, ‘Cat Person’, went…

Shakespeare on the beach: Oh I Do Like to Be..., by Marie Phillips, reviewed

9 February 2019 9:00 am

The phrase ‘Shakespeare comedy’ is an oxymoron with a long pedigree, one which perhaps stretches back to the late 16th…

Wall painting of waterfowl flying out of the reeds, with papyrus on the left. From the tomb of Akhenaten, c. 1375 BC

Treasures from Ancient Egypt’s wastepaper baskets

9 February 2019 9:00 am

In 2016, after some unseemly back-and-forth between the Commons and Lords, it was decided that Acts of Parliament should no…

When kissing in public carried a death sentence

9 February 2019 9:00 am

I once threw Tony Parker’s Lighthouse across the fo’c’sle of a ship at sea when I read that his characters…

Vivien Leigh as Anna Karenina in the 1948 film. Credit: Getty Images

Travelling by train – with Anna Karenina

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Any memoir is a form of double-entry book-keeping, in which what has been lost is reckoned against what has been…