More from Books

Not poor or lowly

Which is the finest 18th-century building in England? Not a royal palace, not a library, not a cathedral, but a stable block: that designed by James Paine at Chatsworth. It is a faultless piece of architecture with none of the messiness and compromise of buildings intended for mere human habitation. Perfect in siting, perfect in

The battle of the breasts

Once upon a time, long, long ago, people used to argue about politics. Now they argue about parenting. Thirty-five years ago, the issue that defined a generation was whether American troops should be in Vietnam. Today, it’s whether to follow the advice set out in The Contented Little Baby Book. Defend the war on Iraq

The man who lost control of Ground Zero

‘Unmöglich! Unmöglich!’ or as we would say — impossible. It cannot be built. It won’t stand up. The initial reaction to Daniel Libeskind’s plans for the Jewish Museum, Berlin, completed (adhering faithfully to those plans) in 2001, might have been more apposite in quattrocento Florence given their somewhat hysterical, God-fearing nature. But one soon becomes

King’s gambit accepted

Although for more than a century Johann Sebastian Bach has been one of the Western world’s most popular classical composers, it is surprising how little those who love his music know about him as a human being — unlike the others at the top of the list, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms or Schubert. Bach’s most recent

Unsparing, frivolous candour

Charles Greville? you may wonder. ‘Who he? — Ed.’ Ed, decently enough, supplies us with the answer. Greville was an idler, a gambler, a political spectator, a cold fish, and a toff’s toff: a political diarist with Alan Clark’s sharpness if not his ambition, who lived from 1794-1865, and wrote from 1814-1860. Greville had a