Book review — literary biography

Should we be reading the flamboyant, forgotten novelist John Lodwick?

29 July 2017 9:00 am

One fail-safe test of a writer’s reputation is to see how many times his or her books get taken out…

Watercolour sketch of Jane Carlyle by Karl Hartmann (1850)

How Jane Carlyle survived a miserable marriage

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Jane Carlyle found comfort in her miserable marriage by ‘splashing off’ whatever was on her mind in letters to friends – which became famous in her own lifetime, says Frances Wilson

Anne, left, with Emily. Detail of Branwell’s group portrait of the Brontës. Though he painted himself out, his ghostly presence can be seen on the right

Was ‘the other Brontë’ the best of them all?

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Fans of the novels and poems written by the sibling inhabitants of Haworth Parsonage always have a Top Brontë. Fame-seeking…

Dinah Craik, author of John Halifax, Gentleman, and a genuinely enjoyable writer

Women writers who deserve to be forgotten

7 January 2017 9:00 am

When resurrecting forgotten writers of the past, make sure they’re not neglected for good reason, says Philip Hensher

Emile Zola: disgusted of Norwood

7 January 2017 9:00 am

Michael Rosen, a poet, journalist and prolific author of novels for children, has written an account of Emile Zola’s year’s…

Flaubert — the writer’s writer par excellence — is a real challenge to write about

22 October 2016 9:00 am

If only Flaubert had spent less time writing — and sitting in his summerhouse fuming at man’s stupidity — his life wouldn’t seem such a trudge, says Graham Robb

Angela Carter: a seminal novelist who changed writing and the world

8 October 2016 9:00 am

Philip Hensher celebrates the breathtaking imagination — and dottiness — of the seminal writer Angela Carter and deeply mourns her early death

Beryl Bainbridge, photographed at home in London in 1980

The indiscreet charm of Beryl Bainbridge

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Philip Hensher found Beryl Bainbridge’s gamine charm irresistible — as did all of literary London. What a pity, then, that her biographer fails to capture it

‘I met more kindness in Trieste than I ever met anywhere else’, said James Joyce (left), referring to his friend — and lookalike — Italo Svevo

The fairy-tale friendship of James Joyce and Italo Svevo

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Philip Hensher celebrates one of the happiest, if most surprising, of literary friendships — the one between James Joyce and Italo Svevo that began in Trieste before the first world war