The suez crisis

Jan Morris’s ‘national treasure’ status is misleading

Almost two years after the death of Jan Morris, the jaunty travel writer and pioneer of modern gender transition, her first post-humous biography has arrived. (I follow Paul Clements in using the feminine pronoun throughout.) It is lively and well written, but it’s not the finished product. It lacks access to the private papers of its subject and her wife Elizabeth. That extra layer of insight into a fascinating but elusive personality must doubtless await the authorised life by Sara Wheeler. In the meantime, Clements deserves plaudits. He has worked his personal knowledge and existing sources well. We learn more than before about Morris’s modest if comfortable upbringing, with Welshness

The radical history of The Spectator

A newspaper – it would be more than 100 years before it became a magazine – calling itself a spectator of events, while consistently standing up for individual freedom, was bound to fall out with its readership from time to time. In the early years, under the editorship of its Scottish founder, Robert Rintoul, The Spectator’s support for the Tolpuddle Martyrs, for the Chartists and for the abolition of slavery in the colonies did not cause too many raised eyebrows. Thanks to Rintoul’s enlightened imperialism, a fund was established to settle labourers and young married couples in Australia and New Zealand. But when the new joint editors, Meredith Townsend and