The triumph of failure

10 March 2012 11:00 am

In l958, my hero in life, the person I most wanted to be, was Keith Dewhurst. I had arrived on…

Patriot or traitor?

10 March 2012 11:00 am

The mighty convulsion that was the French Revolution has stirred the blood of historians from Thomas Carlyle to Simon Schama…

‘Viva la muerte!’

10 March 2012 11:00 am

Even after years of studying the Spanish Civil War, David Gilmour is far from inured to its atrocities

Charming, cold-eyed cosmopolitan

10 March 2012 10:00 am

At last a diary as penetrating on Berlin as the Goncourt brothers’ on Paris has been translated into English. The…

The end of the affair?

10 March 2012 10:00 am

Of those caught up in the 1963 Profumo affair, the only winner seems to have been that blithe spirit Mandy…

His dark materials

3 March 2012 10:00 am

Like the dyslexic Faustus who sold his soul to Santa, the life of John Dee was a black comedy of…

Epic toy story

3 March 2012 10:00 am

In January 1992 a container filled with 7,200 yellow ducks and the same number each of blue turtles, red beavers…

Portraits of an age

3 March 2012 10:00 am

By a fine coincidence, two legendary icons of British art were being feted in London on the same evening last…

Fatal impact theory 

3 March 2012 10:00 am

As schools are for education, so universities are for higher education. In a civilised society, children should leave school literate,…

Man of mysteries

3 March 2012 10:00 am

John Sutherland revisits the sensational world of Wilkie Collins, father of the detective story

Man with a mission

3 March 2012 9:00 am

He was a Persian aristocrat who struggled to make his country a democracy. Given to mood swings and sulks worthy…

Seeing red

25 February 2012 11:00 am

With each passing year it becomes clearer that the cure for global warming is worse than the disease. While wind…

The family plot

25 February 2012 11:00 am

Sam Leith explores the effect that certain writers’ relatives have had on their published works

Anglo-Saxon divide

25 February 2012 10:45 am

Philip Oltermann has set himself an almost impossibly ambitious task. In 1996, when he was 15 years old, he moved…

What makes Romney run?

25 February 2012 10:00 am

It can be odd to read a biography of a major political figure for whom, every day while one reads…

Spiritual superhero

25 February 2012 10:00 am

When totting up the positives from the British Raj, people often put the railways first, followed by the Indian Civil…

How do birds fly south?

25 February 2012 10:00 am

Did you know the external ‘shell’ of the ear is the pinna? That a woman’s oestrogen level alters the way…

A deafening silence

25 February 2012 10:00 am

One morning in 2007, the music critic Nick Coleman woke up to find that he was profoundly deaf in one…

More sinned against than sinning

25 February 2012 10:00 am

When I saw the title of this book, then read that it only covered the period 1600-1800 I hoped this…

The making of the modern metropolis

18 February 2012 11:00 am

Kate Chisholm describes 18th-century London in all its beastly magnificence

Loves, hates and unfulfilled desires

18 February 2012 10:00 am

Montaigne, who more or less invented the discursive essay, had a method which was highly unmethodical: ‘All arguments are alike…

Robot on the loose

18 February 2012 10:00 am

In December 2005, a passenger on an early-morning flight from Dallas to Las Vegas fell asleep. Woken by a steward…

If only …

18 February 2012 10:00 am

In the early summer of 1910, a naval officer, bound for the Antarctic, paid a visit to the office of…

Ecoutez bien!

18 February 2012 10:00 am

The French make it look easy: small babies sleep through the night, toddlers calmly eat four-course lunches, well-dressed mothers chat…

Saviours of the sea

18 February 2012 9:00 am

The last time we went out for lobster in Lyme Bay we found a dogfish in the creel.  A type…