Lead book review

What Englishmen learnt from Europe

The pattern of foreign travel by wealthy young Englishmen that became known as the Grand Tour began in the Renaissance and matured in the 17th century. In its origins it was a training for statesmanship. The state’s takeover of the church, which had done so much of the state’s official business, enlarged the employment opportunities

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How miserable a marriage can be

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When intellectuals are clueless about the first world war

No one alive now has any adult experience of the first world war, but still it shows no sign of respectable ossification; no armistice of opposing historians seems in prospect. It maintains a terrible, vivid, constantly mutable life. Like the French Revolution, its meaning shifts from generation to generation and according to which politician happens


‘The Wood Thrush can sing a duet by itself, using Two separate voices,’ as opposed To the whip-bird, one cry, two creatures And nothing between them no, not even if you listen On Point Sublime we are one, we are one