Daniel Swift

Shakespeare’s Richard III is ‘pathologically narcissistic, supremely arrogant, born into wealth and a bully’

Donald Trump: a Shakespearean tyrant to a T

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘What country, friends, is this?’ asks Viola at the start of Twelfth Night. She is shipwrecked and heartbroken; she does…

The changing face of war and heroism

14 April 2018 9:00 am

On War and Writing by Samuel Hynes is hardly about war at all. There is little about combat here, or…

The interior of the Swan Theatre, Southwark, in 1596, based on a sketch by a Dutch traveller, Johannes de Witt, and probably the best indicator of what the Globe Theatre would have looked like.

William Shakespeare: all things to all men

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Who’s there? Shakespeare’s most famous play opens with this slightly hokey line, and the question remains for his countless audiences,…

Karl Ove Knausgaard describes nothing happening — wonderfully

12 March 2016 9:00 am

It is hard to explain the contents of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s vast series My Struggle because not much happens. Or…

Hide and seek with T.S. Eliot

12 December 2015 9:00 am

When The Waste Land first appeared, there were rumours that it was a hoax. It seemed so strange: 400 lines…

‘Doorways to the unknown’: Clive James’s Latest Readings

22 August 2015 9:00 am

In the preface to his great collection of essays The Dyer’s Hand, W.H. Auden claimed: ‘I prefer a critic’s notebooks…

Helen Vendler is full of condescending waffle (and not just when she’s attacking me)

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Is it possible to tell a good poem from a bad one? To put the question another way: are there…

Pricking the pomp of American society

4 July 2015 9:00 am

It doesn’t mean much to say that Renata Adler’s journalism isn’t as interesting as her novels — almost nothing is…

Edward Thomas: the prolific hack (who wrote a book review every three days for 14 years) turned to poetry just in time

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Edward Thomas was gloomy as Eeyore. In 1906 he complained to a friend that his writing ‘was suffering more &…

Tom Eliot — a very practical cat. Did T.S. Eliot simply recycle every personal experience into poetry?

31 January 2015 9:00 am

The musical Cats reopened in the West End in December, with a judge from The X Factor in the lead…

Lance Sieveking (right) with Colonel G.L. Thompson broadcasting a running commentary on the final bumping race from a tree in Rectory Meadow, Cambridge, June 1927

'One warm night in June 1917 I became the man who nearly killed the Kaiser'

1 March 2014 9:00 am

The traditional story told about the first world war is that it changed everything: that it was the end of…