Biography

Ladies’ man: Tom Stoppard’s love life revealed

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Tom Stoppard is a non-stop genius of jokes – but many of them make his latest biographer uneasy, says Craig Raine

The magic of JFK remains undimmed

12 September 2020 9:00 am

It’s easy to forget that John F. Kennedy lived such a short life. At 43, he was the second youngest…

As Lucian Freud’s fame increases his indiscretions multiply

5 September 2020 9:00 am

Staying with Peregrine Eliot (later 10th Earl of St Germans) at Port Eliot in Cornwall, Lucian Freud remembered that the…

The paradox of Graham Greene – searching for peace in the world’s warzones

5 September 2020 9:00 am

Graham Greene was constantly searching for peace of mind along with escapist thrills, says Nicholas Shakespeare

Never a dull sentence: the journalism of Harry Perry Robinson

29 August 2020 9:00 am

Is Boris Johnson a fan of Harry Perry Robinson? If he isn’t, he really ought to be. Reading this absorbing…

It’s time to leave Chopin in peace

22 August 2020 9:00 am

There’s a scene early on in A Song to Remember — Charles Vidor’s clunky Technicolor film of 1945 — in…

The heroic couple who defied Hitler

8 August 2020 9:00 am

Philippe Sands on the heroic couple who defied Hitler and paid the ultimate price

Killing time: the poetry of Keith Douglas

1 August 2020 9:00 am

Keith Douglas is perhaps the best-known overlooked poet. He died following the D-Day landings in 1944, and his Collected Poems…

A power for good: the Sharp family were a model of vision and humanitarianism

18 July 2020 9:00 am

Who would imagine that Johann Zoffany’s celebrated 1780 depiction of the extensive Sharp family happily making music on their pleasure…

Why Niki Lauda was considered the bravest man in sport

20 June 2020 9:00 am

Formula One motor racing is the perennial, worldwide contest that most reliably gratifies hero-worshipping, power-worshipping, money-worshipping, technology-worshipping ghouls, and some…

The many rival identities of Charles Dickens

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst explores the many rival identities of Charles Dickens

Houdini looks bound to captivate us forever

16 May 2020 9:00 am

Give thanks to the person who invented Venetian blinds, they say, or it would be curtains for us all. Curtains…

Without Joseph Banks, Cook’s first voyage might have been a failure

9 May 2020 9:00 am

When the wealthy young Joseph Banks announced that he intended joining Captain Cook’s expedition to Tahiti to observe the Transit…

René Dreyfus: the racing driver detested by the Nazis

2 May 2020 9:00 am

I have driven a racing car. On television, it looks like a smooth and scientific matter. It is not. A…

Why are musicologists so indifferent to their subjects’ love lives?

2 May 2020 9:00 am

People often say that the battle for male gay rights has been won, at least in the West, and that…

When Idi Amin threatened to shoot the cook

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Private chefs keep many secrets and are expected to go to their graves without sharing a morsel of gossip about…

For Ravi Shankar, music was a sort of religion

11 April 2020 9:00 am

When musicians from outside the Anglo-American pop mainstream achieve success in the West, there are conflicting reactions. Seun Kuti, the…

Gustav Mahler’s bid for greatness: the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Gustav Mahler was a passionate enthusiast for the colossal in music. Even so, his mighty eighth symphony stands apart, says Philip Hensher

The good boy of jazz: Dave Brubeck’s time has come round at last

7 March 2020 9:00 am

On 8 November 1954, Dave Brubeck’s portrait appeared on the cover of Time magazine, accompanied by the words ‘The Joints…

Dangerously desirable: the white-morph gyr falcon commands sky-high prices

29 February 2020 9:00 am

The art of falconry is more than 3,000 years old and possibly as popular now as at any time. Its…

The wizard that was Warhol

29 February 2020 9:00 am

In 1983 I was sent to New York to interview Johnny Rotten and I took the opportunity to call on…

Death in the Cape – the lonely fate of Mary Kingsley

15 February 2020 9:00 am

What compelled three well-known British writers to leave their homes and travel 6,000 miles to participate in a nasty late-19th-century…

The stomach for the fight: cooking for Churchill during the war

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Georgina Landemare cooked for the Churchill family in all their kitchens, during the 1930s and 1940s. She got as close…

Rembrandt remains an enigma

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–69) is not only the presiding genius of the Dutch golden age of painting, but one…

We were highly amused: the Queen — and Mrs Thatcher — thought Ken Dodd tattyfilarious

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Doddy! Thou shouldst be living at this hour. England hath need of tickling sticks. So also hath the rest of…