Criticism

Films aren’t better because they bomb – whatever the BBC’s poll says

27 August 2016 9:00 am

The BBC has published a list of the 100 best films of the 21st century, compiled after consulting academics, cinema…

Why we’re past peak tattoo

6 August 2016 9:00 am

I was born in 1958 and turned 58 in June, so for the next five months my age coincides with…

I can’t sleep for anger at the Spectator review of my friend’s book

6 August 2016 9:00 am

May I write a review of a review? I have to get this out of my system, having been unable…

The internal dreamworld of René Magritte

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Surrealism was, at least initially, as much about writing as painting. A plaque on the Hotel des Grands Hommes in…

Christopher Hitchens (Photo: Getty)

Cultured — and combative — criticism from America

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Four years after his death, it is still faintly surprising to recall that Christopher Hitchens is no longer resident on…

I was wrong to criticise using ‘critique’ as a verb

3 October 2015 8:00 am

I lost my husband on the way from Malabar. He is easily lost. We had been talking about the verb…

Oh no: On the Road’s a masterpiece. So what else have I missed?

29 August 2015 9:00 am

This week’s column is dedicated to all those of you who have never read Catcher in the Rye and who,…

Why the BBC will never match Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation

17 May 2014 9:00 am

No modern critic would dare match Kenneth Clark’s fearless way with sweeping statements

Dot Wordsworth's week in words: Did William Empson have the first clue what 'bare ruined choirs' meant?

5 October 2013 9:00 am

I am shocked to find that William Empson, famous for his technique of close reading, was no good at reading…

Can I turn the West London Free School into Fame Academy?

20 July 2013 9:00 am

‘Another opening, another show,’ sang five-year-old Charlie on his way to school this morning — and then proceeded to belt…

David Bowie: great expectations

If David Bowie really has returned to form, I’ll cry

9 March 2013 9:00 am

I haven’t heard the David Bowie album yet, but the Amazon order is in and Postie has been alerted as…

For all time

31 March 2010 12:00 am

To review some new books about Shakespeare is not to note a revival of interest, but simply to let down a bucket into an undammed river.

A dramatic streak

10 February 2010 12:00 am

Late in the 19th century, archaeologists digging in the Roman Forum discovered a lime kiln.

A great novelist

14 December 2009 12:00 am

In a remarkable way the trajectory of Ivy Compton-Burnett’s reputation after her death in 1967 parallels that of George Meredith’s in 1909.

A long journey

14 December 2009 12:00 am

Concerning E. M. Forster, by Frank Kermode

Lost and found

20 May 2009 12:00 am

Making An Elephant: Writing from Within, by Graham Swift

Now universally acknowledged

1 April 2009 12:00 am

Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World, by Claire Harman

The misery of an intellectual

7 January 2009 12:00 am

Reborn: Susan Sontag, Early Diaries, 1947-1964, edited by David Rieff Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir, by David Rieff