Some of us are still startled that Wallace Stevens was 44 when he published Harmonium.
‘Facebook’, says the excitable author of this hero-gram, ‘may be the fastest-growing company of any type in history.’
At nursery school, along with her warm milk, little Lena Gorokhova imbibed the essence of survival in the post-war Soviet Union.
‘Stuart Kelly’ the author’s note declares, ‘was born and brought up in the Scottish Borders.’ Not so, as he tells us; he was born in Falkirk, which is in central Scotland, and came to the Borders as a child.
About 100 years ago two brothers settled in the same small English town and raised 12 children.
We are not going to agree about Bruce Chatwin.
This year America celebrates the cent-enary of Mark Twain’s death.
Next to his photographs of 40 women who have spent time in Low Newton prison, Adrian Clarke has juxtaposed short accounts from each of how she got there.
If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am.
‘I Scribble, therefore I am’: this Cartesian quip is typical of Simon Schama, as is the comprehensive subtitle: ‘Writings on Ice Cream, Obama, Churchill and My Mother,’ among other topics, of course.
Who was the first American to marry an English duke? Most students of the peerage would say it was Consuelo Yzagna who married the eldest son of the Duke of Manchester in 1876.
Julius Caesar’s deputy, Cleopatra’s second lover, Marcus Antonius is the perennial supporting act.
Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds’s study of Clement Attlee is a specimen of that now relatively rare but still far from endangered species, the ‘political’ biography.
The opening paragraph of Duchess of Death’s fourth chapter, in which its subject is about to have her first whodunit published, begins thus:
In June 1964, when Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for acts of sabotage against the apartheid government of South Africa, he was, as photographs reveal, a burly, blackhaired man, with a handsome, pugnacious grin.
Maqbool Sheikh dreaded hearing a knock at the door of his home.
There are an estimated 417,000 people in the UK suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and double that number suffering from other forms of dementia.
A few minutes’ walk from Paddington Station is a drinking den and restaurant called the Frontline Club, a members’ club for foreign correspondents.
Though he was to live at Castle Leslie in Co. Monaghan, Sir John Randalph (later Shane) Leslie, cousin of Winston Churchill, was born at Stratford House, London, in 1885 though baptised at Glaslough with Lord Randolph Churchill as godfather.
Why are scholars so prone to melancholy? According to the expert, Robert Burton of Christ Church, it is because ‘they live a sedentary, solitary life...
In the autumn of 1962, not more than a couple of weeks after the Cuban missile crisis and with our British fleet of nuclear-armed V-bombers still on high alert, a man called Gervase Cowell, then working in our Moscow embassy, received a phone call.
On the night of 18 October 1969, thieves broke into the Oratory of San Lorenzo, Palermo, and removed Caravaggio’s Nativity.
The somewhat straightlaced theatre-going audiences of 1880s America, eager for performances by European artistes like Jenny Lind and solid, home-grown, classical actors such as Otis Skinner, were hardly prepared for the on-stage vulgarity that the (usually) Russian and Polish immigrant impressarios, with their particular nous for show-biz, were to unleash into the saloons and fleapits across the young nation.
The last words of Hungarian-born portraitist Philip de László, spoken to his nurse, were apparently, ‘It is a pity, because there is so much still to do.’ As Duff Hart-Davis’s biography amply demonstrates, for de László, art — which he regarded as ‘work’ as much as an aesthetic vocation — was both the purpose and the substance of his life.
In the Rainbow Grill in New York one evening in 1971, according to Robin D. G. Kelley, Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Southern California, Duke Ellington halted his band in mid-flow and announced: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the baddest left hand in the history of jazz just walked into the room, Mr Thelonious Monk.'