Henry Hitchings

Spelling it out: the volunteers who made the dictionary

16 September 2023 9:00 am

From an employee of a tram company in Birkenhead to the deeply eccentric Alexander Ellis, a celebration of the army of unpaid contributors to the first edition of the OED

No chocolate-box portrait: Bournville, by Jonathan Coe, reviewed

5 November 2022 9:00 am

Queasy nostalgia gives way to mounting anger in a satirical novel about post-war Britain, seen through the eyes of a Birmingham family

Robert Harris's gripping Act of Oblivion is let down by anachronisms

17 September 2022 9:00 am

When Charles II became king of England in 1660, he pardoned most of those who’d committed crimes during the civil…

What do Beethoven, D.H. Lawrence and George Best have in common?

11 June 2022 9:00 am

This is not a book about tennis. Roger Federer appears early on, trailed by the obligatory question ‘When will he…

An inspirational teacher: Elizabeth Finch, by Julian Barnes, reviewed

9 April 2022 9:00 am

‘Whenever you see a character in a novel, let alone a biography or history book, reduced and neatened into three…

Are the English exceptionally gullible?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

The word ‘hoax’ did not catch on till the early 19th century. Before that one spoke of a hum, a…

A tide of paranoid distrust: The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again, by M. John Harrison, reviewed

8 August 2020 9:00 am

Over the past 50 years, M. John Harrison has produced a remarkably varied body of work: a dozen atmospheric novels…

Science and philanthropy meet in the Royal Society of Arts

13 June 2020 9:00 am

What does Jony Ive, the designer of Apple’s iPhone, have in common with Peter Perez Burdett, the first Englishman to…

London has a genius for self-renewal — but what do we miss as a result?

26 October 2019 9:00 am

In the autumn of 1987, after London had been hit by a fierce storm, Simon Jenkins wandered through Bloomsbury and…

Ronald Blythe took us back to an age when a tenant could be turfed out of a tied house simply for being 'rude'

Can giving voice to the horrors of the past re-traumatise?

26 October 2019 9:00 am

It is 50 years since Ronald Blythe published Akenfield, his melancholy portrait of a Suffolk village on the cusp of…

A love letter to all great dictionaries

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Asked to name a reference book, you may well choose the Encyclopaedia Britannica or the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary. But…

Ben Judah feels like a stranger in his native London

6 February 2016 9:00 am

‘I was born in London,’ Ben Judah tells us early in this vivid portrait of Britain’s capital, ‘but I no…

Charlotte and Susan Cushman as Romeo and Juliet c. 1849. Now comparatively obscure,Charlotte was widely considered the most powerful actress on the 19th-century stage

Shakespeare’s stagecraft — and his greatest players

16 May 2015 9:00 am

How many books are there about Shakespeare? A study published in the 1970s claimed a figure of 11,000, and today…