Books

Northern soul: Whitby Abbey was built on the site where the date of Easter was decided

Whitby Abbey is at the heart of Britain's spiritual and literary history

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Saints, vampires and home of the first English poet: the town’s abbey is at the heart of Britain’s spiritual and literary history, says the Revd Steve Morris

Scala Radio is a real threat to Radio 2

14 March 2019 9:00 am

It’s not surprising given the way that electronic communication has taken over so much of our daily business, minimising human…

Kingsley Amis (Getty Images)

Kingsley Amis on Lolita: It’s not pornographic enough

9 March 2019 9:00 am

From ‘She was a child and I was a child’ by Kingsley Amis, 6 November 1959: The only success of…

Dominique Swain as Lolita and Jeremy Irons as Humbert in Adrian Lyne’s 1997 film (Rex Fea-tures)

Would any publisher dare to print Lolita now?

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Writers must now censor their imaginations

The first great English artist – the life and art of Nicholas Hilliard

23 February 2019 9:00 am

When Henry VIII died in 1547, he left a religiously divided country to a young iconoclast who erased a large…

A letter from Vincent van Gogh to his younger brother Theo, dated 28 October 1883

'Lock him in a motel & he'd do something astonishing': Hockney on the genius of Van Gogh

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Being in the south of France obviously gave Vincent an enormous joy, which visibly comes out in the paintings. That’s…

The people have not forgotten me: the exiled Empress of Iran interviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

The widow of the Shah of Iran was painted by Warhol and assembled the greatest collection of art outside of Europe. Will Heaven meets her

Twiggy photographed by Justin de Villeneuve in the Rainbow Room at Big Biba, early 1970s. [JUSTIN DE VILLENEUVE]

A short history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, garden gates to Twiggy

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Peter York traces the history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, and beyond

Joanna Murray-Smith as Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo: Robbie Jack/ Corbis via Getty Images

Intelligent, unfussy, literate – the West End needs more plays like this: Switzerland reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

I know nothing about Patricia Highsmith. The acclaimed American author wrote the kind of Sunday-night crime thrillers that put me…

King David with his musicians: a page from the Vespasian Psalter, 8th century

To say this is a 'once in a generation' exhibition seems absurdly modest

17 November 2018 9:00 am

‘The barbarians drive us to the sea, the sea drives us to the barbarians; between these two means of death…

Angela Carter was a master of radio drama

29 September 2018 9:00 am

The writer Angela Carter (born in 1940) grew up listening to the wireless, her love of stories, magic and the…

Face value: Glenn Close as Joan Castleman in The Wife showing how much can be expressed with the tremor of an eyelid

Glenn Close rescues this clumsy new adaptation: The Wife reviewed

29 September 2018 9:00 am

The Wife is an adaptation of the Meg Wolitzer novel (2003) and stars Glenn Close. Her performance is better than…

Ralph Abernathy (seated centre) and C.B. King (seated left) sit on a wagon as 300 protesters march to Atlanta. Photo: Getty/Bettmann

What it was like to be a black lawyer in the deep south in the 60s

8 September 2018 9:00 am

To have been a black lawyer in the deep south of America in the early 1960s would have taken a…

Captain Scott’s 1911 expedition to Antartica, with the Terra Nova anchored in the background, from The Colour of Time

The artist who breathes technicolor life into historic photographs

4 August 2018 9:00 am

Marina Amaral brings black-and-white photographs back to life with colour. But, she tells Laura Freeman, she never changes their story

The lost girls: Irma Leopold (Samara Weaving), Miranda Reid (Lily Sullivan) and Marion Quade (Madeleine Madden) in Picnic at Hanging Rock

Po-faced but worth sticking with: Picnic at Hanging Rock reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

According to the opening captions in Picnic at Hanging Rock (BBC2, Wednesday), ‘the infamous events’ it depicts ‘began whena mysterious…

Lee Miller in Hitler’s bath, 1945

Grim and glorious: Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Stay too long in the Lee Miller exhibition at the Hepworth Wakefield and the metronome might…

An interesting – but unrealisable – interpretation: Royal Opera's Don Giovanni reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

When Kasper Holten’s production of Don Giovanni was first staged at the Royal Opera in 2014, I disliked it intensely,…

A new exhibition gives us the real Tolkien – not his awful legacy

7 July 2018 9:00 am

To no one’s surprise, the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition at the Bodleian in Oxford, where J.R.R. spent so much…

Girl power – or groupthink in written form?

Who really wants to read feminist children’s books?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

A friend of mine who commissions book reviews has added a sub-category to the list of titles coming up: ‘femtrend’,…

Joanna Lumley plays Mrs God in BBC Radio 4's new play Michael Frayn's Pocket Playhouse (Credit: ITV/ Rex/ Shutterstock)

Only Radio 4 would allow Ian McKellen and Joanna Lumley to play Mr and Mrs God

2 June 2018 9:00 am

One sphere that podcasts have so far not much penetrated is drama. Audible.co.uk is itching to develop its own brand…

Is PewDiePie the new Harold Bloom?

5 May 2018 9:00 am

The most subscribed to channel on YouTube — by far — belongs to a rather strange young Swede named Felix…

Dear Mary: A work colleague has a brain tumour — and his self pity is annoying me

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Q. When buying a present for a friend, I would not dream of glugging from the bottle or helping myself…

Viv Albertine, left, at Alexandra Palace, 1980; and right, today

Viv Albertine of the Slits on anger, honesty and being an arsey feminist

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Viv Albertine, formerly of the Slits, is publishing her second book – and it’s full of the honesty and anger that have marked her life. Michael Hann takes the brunt

Reducing the heroine to a demented rape victim is just what ballet needs: The Wind reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

A kindly cowboy, an East Coast bride, adultery, murder and madness. The Wind, Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 Texas gothic novel (and…

Stitches in time: detail of ‘Embroidery Design’ by May Morris, worked by May Morris and Theodosia Middlemore, c.1900

Is May Morris a feminist cause – a woman of genius unfairly overlooked?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

You may think you don’t know May Morris, daughter of William, but you’ll probably have come across her wallpaper. Her…