Book review – literary criticism

I want Lorrie Moore to be my BFF

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Is there anything more depressing than the prospect of reading a writer’s collected essays, journalism and occasional pieces? Most of…

How progressive was Jane Austen?

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Writing to her sister Cassandra about Pride and Prejudice in January 1813, Jane Austen declared, in a parody of Walter…

Harriet Walter as Brutus in the Donmar’s 2012 production of Julius Caesar

Harriet Walter’s gentle reproach to Shakespeare

7 January 2017 9:00 am

A few years ago, I fell hopelessly in love with Harriet Walter. It only lasted an hour or two: she…

George Orwell and the whiff of genius

3 September 2016 9:00 am

The Orwellian past is a foreign country; smells are different there. Pipe smoke and carbolic, side notes of horse dung…

Craig Raine: the critics’ greatest critic

2 July 2016 9:00 am

In My Grandmother’s Glass Eye, Raine has nothing but contempt for his poet-critic contemporaries – ‘bad readers’ who ‘get poetry wrong’

Illustration by Arthur Rackham for Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle

Do myths and folklore damage children’s brains?

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Children’s fantasy literature has never been just one thing. Animal fables, folk and fairy tales were not originally intended for…

Sneers and jeers over Lears

28 May 2016 9:00 am

In the 18th century, as Shakespeare began to take on classic status, editors began to notice differences between the texts…

Lolita's secret revenge mission, and other daft theories of literary spite

25 October 2014 9:00 am

Richard Bradford has written more than 20 books of literary criticism and biography. This latest one is a compendium of…

Portrait of Dante by Domenico di Michelino

A divine guide to Dante

28 June 2014 9:00 am

Reading Dante is an experience of a lifetime. You never come to the end of it. But,  like Dante himself,…

Reviewing reviews of reviews — where will it all end? 

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Sam Leith reviews the reviews of David Lodge — and wonders where it will all end

To see how good Journey's End is, just look at who it's offended

14 December 2013 9:00 am

‘You have no idea,’ wrote the publisher Ralph Hodder-Williams in 1929 to one of his authors, what terrible offence Journey’s…