Richard Davenport-Hines

The curious influence of Oscar Wilde on Hollywood

The Importance of Being Earnest was NBC’s first coast-to-coast broadcast of a play in 1929. It was ideal for radio, partly because Oscar Wilde’s crisp dialogue obviated any need of facial expressions or gestures. Epigrammatic speech, as Noël Coward found, was a signifier of modernity in the 1920s. Beyond that, as Kate Hext shows, the

Flirting in 15th-century Florence

Noel Malcolm, a former political columnist of The Spectator, the historian of English nonsense verse and editor of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, has written a book on an arresting subject. Forbidden Desire in Early Modern Europe gives close and relentless scrutiny to male-male sexual relations in Europe, the Ottoman empire, north Africa and in such dispersed

The centenary of literary Modernism

43 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast, we’re going back 100 years to 1922 – the year which is usually seen as heralding the birth of literary Modernism. My guests are Richard Davenport-Hines, author of A Night At The Majestic: Proust and the Great Modernist Dinner Party, and the scholar and critic Merve Emre, who has