More from Books

Small elephant at Dove Cottage

This is a lively contribution to that mound of books — now approximately the height of Skiddaw — about Wordsworth and Coleridge and their ladies in the Lake District. Frances Wilson has found a niche, basing her book on Dorothy Wordsworth’s Grasmere Journals, written during the two and a half years at the opening of

Plunging into the hurly-burly

‘Avoiding both the pigeon hole and the blackboard I have tried to trace a connecting line between the apparently diverse and contradictory manifestations of contemporary music,’ wrote the composer and conductor Constant Lambert in the preface to Music ho!, his marvellously breezy survey of modern music published in 1934. Some 70 years later, the New

Power to the people | 27 February 2008

In July, 1642, as the English House of Commons debated whether to raise an army against the king, a dismayed MP, Bulstrode Whitelocke, wondered how parliament had ‘insensibly slipped into this beginning of a civil war by one unexpected accident after another [so that] we scarce know how, but from paper combats, by declarations, remonstrances,

The return of Kureishi-man

Anthony Powell always maintained that readers who disliked his early books did so on essentially non-literary grounds. Conservative reviewers of the 1930s, irked by the party-going degenerates of a novel like Afternoon Men (1931) did not believe that such people existed. If, on the other hand, they did exist then novels ought not to be

An appeal from beyond the grave

In 1988 I arrived in Pakistan a few hours after the assassination of Zia ul-Huq, the military dictator whose aircraft had been blown to pieces by a bomb. In most countries the violent death of a leader, who had dominated politics for more than a decade, would trigger soul-searching, or at the very least a

Eye of newt and toe of frog aplenty

This book is a metaphor: a book about a museum that is itself a museum, crammed with cabinets and curiosities; a natural history of the Natural History Museum. It contains collections, of objects and of people; it educates and entertains; it helps you to see the world, and the NHM, with new eyes. Richard Fortey

A time for resolutions

In the forthcoming volume of his Smoking Diaries (not out till April, but I’ve been reading a proof copy) my old friend Simon Gray makes a brave admission. Well, he makes a number of these, but this particular one struck me. ‘I haven’t read him [Henry James] for years. I don’t believe I have the