Craig Raine

What made Lucian Freud so irresistible to women?

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Amedeo Modigliani thought Nina Hamnett, muse, painter, memoirist, had ‘the best tits in Europe’. She fell 40 feet from a…

‘The Ball’ (1899) by Félix Vallotton

No masterpieces but there are beautiful touches: Félix Vallotton at the RA reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Félix Vallotton (1865–1925) was a member of the Nabis (the Prophets), a problematically loose agglomeration of painters, inspired by Gauguin…

What a scorcher: bearing the brunt of Harold Pinter’s temper was one of life’s central experiences

The night I kissed Harold Pinter

22 September 2018 9:00 am

I think everyone was a little nervous of Harold. Including Harold, sometimes. He was affable, warm, generous, impulsive — and…

Blinded by love: Sylvia Plath with her son Nick in Devon in 1962

‘Ted is liar. Ted beats me up. Ted wishes me dead’: Sylvia Plath descends into madness and misery

15 September 2018 9:00 am

In 1923, a Frenchman, Emile Coué, persuaded millions of Americans to finger a piece of string with exactly 20 knots.…

Volcano of invention: Alexander Calder at Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Alexander Calder was a volcano of invention

23 June 2018 9:00 am

In the Moderna Museet in Stockholm there is a sculpture by Katharina Fritsch, which references Chekhov’s famous story ‘Lady with…

Exemplary candour: detail from Paula Rego’s ‘Abortion Sketches’ (1998)

Worth a trip for the David Joneses alone: Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ reviewed

24 February 2018 9:00 am

To bleak, boarded-up Margate — and a salt-and-vinegar wind that leaves my face looking like Andy Warhol’s botched 1958 nose-peel…

Sappho in America

16 September 2017 9:00 am

We are gripped by gossip. Curiosity is a tenacious emotion. In her essay on Push Comes to Shove, the autobiography…

T.S. Eliot’s crisis year: exhaustion, hair loss and a wrecked marriage

12 March 2016 9:00 am

F.R. Leavis once denounced the Twickenham edition of Pope’s Dunciad for producing a meagre trickle of text through a desert…

Hughes in 1986: Bate simply fails to make the case his book stands on – that the poet was a sadist

An unauthorised, and unconvincing, biography of Ted Hughes

3 October 2015 8:00 am

In Testaments Betrayed, Milan Kundera says: ‘Biographers know nothing about the intimate sex lives of their own wives, but they…

Family photo of Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow’s fiction: a warehouse of stolen property

2 May 2015 9:00 am

Saul Bellow died in 2005. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. The first installment of Zachary Leader’s…

Seamus Heaney in 1996

Seamus Heaney: no shuffling or cutting — just turning over aces

13 December 2014 9:00 am

The impersonator — Rory Bremner, Steve Coogan — speaks, in different voices, to a single primitive pleasure centre in his…