Biography

Louis-Ferdinand Céline was lucky to escape retribution in 1945

11 September 2021 9:00 am

They rather like bad boys, the French. Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961) is one, in a tradition that stretches from François Villon…

Was Josiah Wedgwood really a radical?

28 August 2021 9:00 am

No wonder Josiah Wedgwood, the 18th-century master potter, was a darling of the Victorians. From W.E. Gladstone to Samuel Smiles…

Should the Duke of Windsor have been tried for treason?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

In Traitor King, Andrew Lownie shows how the Duke of Windsor — the former Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936…

Why did the Allies dismiss the idea of a German resistance movement?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

In 1928, a modest young lecturer from Wilwaukee, Mildred Harnack, née Fish, arrived in Berlin to begin her PhD in…

Fascist, anti-Semite and dupe: the dark side of G.K. Chesterton

21 August 2021 9:00 am

The Sins of G.K. Chesterton demands our attention because, as Richard Ingrams notes in his introduction, the literature on this…

W.G. Sebald’s borrowed truths and barefaced lies

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Why did W.G. Sebald risk his reputation by telling such strange, repeated lies, wonders Lucasta Miller

An interest in the bizarre helps keep melancholy at bay

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher finds Robert Burton’s perception of the world and the human condition endlessly fascinating

A true bohemian: the story of Nico’s rise and fall

7 August 2021 9:00 am

It is well established that artists are not always the nicest people. On the surface, the life of the model,…

The complex character of Tricky Dick

7 August 2021 9:00 am

In this Age of Trump, as we cast about for some moment in American history that might help us make…

What is the secret of Duran Duran’s durability?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

In my second year at secondary school we were all deeply envious of a girl named Judi Taylor because, obviously,…

The disappearing man: who was the real John Stonehouse?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Craig Brown describes his various encounters with the MP who notoriously faked his own death in 1974

Foucault was shielded from scandal by French reverence for intellectuals

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Consider the hare and the hyena. The hare, Clement of Alexandria told readers of his 2nd-century sexual self-help manual Paedagogus,…

We’ve embraced William Blake without having any idea of what he was on about

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Whose were those feet in ancient time that walked upon England’s mountains green? That William Blake assumed his readers were…

The short, unhappy life of Ivor Gurney — wounded, gassed and driven insane

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Andrew Motion describes the inner turmoil of the neglected poet Ivor Gurney

Waiting for Gödel is over: the reclusive genius emerges from the shadows

29 May 2021 9:00 am

The 20th-century Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel did his level best to live in the world as his philosophical hero Gottfried…

Over the rainbow: D.H. Lawrence’s search for a new way of life

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher describes D.H. Lawrence’s restless search of a new way of life

A pawn in the Great Game: the sad story of Charles Masson

22 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Everyone knows the Alexandria in Egypt,’ writes Edmund Richardson, ‘but there were over a dozen more Alexandrias scattered across Alexander…

Stirling Moss’s charmed life in the fast lane

22 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Who do you think you are — Stirling Moss?’ a genially menacing traffic cop would ask a hapless motorway transgressor.…

Out-scooping the men: six women reporters of the second world war

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Two war correspondents were hitching a lift towards Paris in August 1944 when a sudden wave of German bombers forced…

Arthur Bryant: monstrous chronicler of Merrie England

22 May 2021 9:00 am

If you want to judge how much society has changed, you might do worse than visit a few secondhand bookshops.…

How St Ives became Barbara Hepworth’s spiritual home

15 May 2021 9:00 am

‘To see a world in a grain of sand’, to attain the mystical perception that Blake advocated, requires a concentrated,…

Straight lines and grandiose schemes — Napoleon the gardener

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Not content with imposing his will on nations, Napoleon tried to subdue nature too, says David Crane

The high and low life of John Craxton

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Charm is a weasel word; it can evoke the superficial and insincere, and engender suspicion and mistrust. But charm in…

The jab that saved countless lives 300 years ago

24 April 2021 9:00 am

This timely book celebrates one of the most remarkable women of the 18th century. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was so…

Apostle of modernism: Clive Bell’s reputation repaired

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Clive Bell is the perennial supporting character in the biographies of the Bloomsbury group. The husband of Vanessa Bell, brother-in-law…