the Enlightenment

Why is the world crumbling in anger and terror?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

America’s global hegemony from 1944 onwards has led to a world now riven by hatred and terror, says Jonathan Steinberg

The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha: engraving of a drawing by Gustave Dore (1833–1883)

Cervantes was a genius, yes – but the inventor of fiction?

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Sam Leith admires a smart, thoughtful book with a big idea at its heart – marred only, perhaps, by its ambitious claims for Don Quixote

Benjamin Franklin in London, with the bust of Isaac Newton on his desk

Benjamin Franklin: from man about town to man on the run

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Just who was Benjamin Franklin? Apart, that is, from journalist, statesman, diplomat, founding father of the United States, inventor of…

A journey through magic across three millennia

12 December 2015 9:00 am

With the briefest of introductions to each chapter, it is up to the reader to decide how they want to…

‘The Duel after the Masquerade’ by Jean-Léon Gerome was exhibited to great acclaim in Paris in 1857, and a year later in London. The art historian Francis Haskell has suggested that the mysterious duelling figures from the commmedia dell’arte are characters in a story by Jules Champfleury

Crossed swords and pistols at dawn: the duel in literature

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Earlier this century I was a guest at a fine dinner, held in a citadel of aristocratic Catholicism, for youngish…

Primula auricula

How 18th-century gardeners ordered their plants after a great storm, a terrible drought and ‘a little ice age’

23 May 2015 9:00 am

I hesitate ever to criticise an author for the inappropriateness of a book’s title, since it’s more likely the fault…

Scotland’s miraculous century (it started with the Union)

22 November 2014 9:00 am

In 1707 Scotland surrendered what it had of its independence by the Treaty of Union with England. That independence had…