Biography

'She's the most important Jewish writer since Kafka!'

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Ian Thomson on the turbulent life of Clarice Lispector

What was the secret of Queen Victoria's rebel daughter?

11 January 2014 9:00 am

Princess Louise (1848–1939), Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, was the prettiest and liveliest of the five princesses, and the only one…

The Roth of tenderness and of rage

4 January 2014 9:00 am

In the autumn of 2012, Philip Roth told a French magazine that his latest book, Nemesis, would be his last.…

How honest was Bernard Berenson?

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Sam Leith suspects that even such a distinguished connoisseur as Bernard Berenson did not always play a straight bat

The mad, mum-fixated maiden aunt of modernism

7 December 2013 9:00 am

Marianne Moore’s poems are notoriously ‘difficult’ but her personality and the circumstances of her life are as fascinating today as…

The Last Knight, by Robert O’Byrne - review

30 November 2013 9:00 am

I have to declare an interest: for many years the Knight and I were the closest of friends until a…

One Leg Too Few may be one biography too many

16 November 2013 9:00 am

It’s no joke, writing about comedians. Their work is funny, their lives are not. Rightly honouring the former while accurately…

The abstract art full of 'breasts and bottoms'

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Is there any such thing as abstract art? Narratives and coherent harmonies seem to me always to emerge from the…

The man who shared a bed with D.H. Lawrence and Dylan Thomas (though not together)

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Rhys Davies was a Welsh writer in English who lived most of his life in London, that Tir na nÓg…

Photograph courtesy of Tina and Terence dooley

Why did Penelope Fitzgerald start writing so late? 

2 November 2013 9:00 am

‘Experiences aren’t given us to be “got over”, otherwise they would hardly be experiences.’ The opening sentence of the first…

George Orwell's doublethink

26 October 2013 9:00 am

The inventor of ‘doublethink’ was consistently inconsistent  in his own political views, says A.N. Wilson. And no fun at all

Was Bach as boring as this picture suggests?

26 October 2013 9:00 am

What, one wonders, will John Eliot Gardiner be chiefly remembered for? Perhaps, by many who have worked with him, for…

Landseer’s portrait of Queen Victoria riding in Windsor Home Park four years after the death of Prince Albert

Queen Victoria, by Matthew Dennison - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

When Prince Albert died in 1861, aged 42, Queen Victoria, after briefly losing the use of her legs, ordered that…

A Strong Song Tows Us, by Richard Burton - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

How minor is minor? ‘Rings a bell’ was more or less the response of two English literature graduates, now successful…

Music at Midnight, by John Drury - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

When John Drury, himself an Anglican divine, told James Fenton (the son of a canon of Christ Church) that he…

Wilkie Collins by Andrew Lycett - review

21 September 2013 9:00 am

In the outrageous 2010 press hounding of the innocent schoolteacher Christopher Jefferies over the murder of his young female tenant…

Uncle Bill, by Russell Miller - review

14 September 2013 9:00 am

Given the outcome of recent military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is pertinent to look for one particular quality…

Olivier, by Philip Ziegler - review

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Philip Ziegler is best known for his biographies, often official, of politicians, royalty  and soldiers. They include Harold Wilson, Edward…

Salinger, by David Shields - review

7 September 2013 9:00 am

This biography has somewhat more news value than most literary biographies. Its subject worked hard to ensure that. After 1965,…

Raymond Carr by María Jesús Gonzalez - review

31 August 2013 9:00 am

This is an unusual book: a Spanish historian writes the life of an English historian of Spain. In doing so,…

Land of Second Chances, by Tim Lewis - review

27 July 2013 9:00 am

This is a book about Rwanda. It’s a book about cycling. But it’s not, in the end, a book about…

Paul Nash, by Andrew Causey - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

Andrew Causey opens his book on a slightly defensive note: Paul Nash, he says is often identified as Britain’s outstanding…

What Fresh Lunacy is This?, by Robert Sellers - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

Midway through this startling book, Robert Sellers asks himself a question with such apparent seriousness I barked with laughter: ‘Was…

The Outsider, by Jimmy Connors - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

As a teenager in the 1980s I liked Jimmy Connors. This meant parking my not inconsiderable jealousy that he’d once…

My last chance to follow in Napoleon’s footsteps

15 June 2013 9:00 am

St Helena, the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died, is…