Books

What really happened at Troy?

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Heinrich Schliemann had always hoped he’d find Homer’s Troy. Although he had no archaeological background to speak of, he did…

How Nova revolutionised women’s magazines

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Batsford has just brought out a huge tome on Nova — ‘one of the most influential magazines in history’ —…

God awful: BBC1’s His Dark materials reviewed

9 November 2019 9:00 am

‘Here’s your new Sunday night obsession…’ the BBC announcer purred, overintoned and mini-orgasmed, like she was doing an audition for…

‘The only place I can’t get my plays on is Britain’: Sir Peter Brook interviewed

2 November 2019 9:00 am

‘Everyone of us knows we deserve to be punished,’ says the frail old man before me in a hotel café.…

The beauty of Soviet anti-religious propaganda

19 October 2019 9:00 am

Deep in the guts of Russian library stacks exists what remains — little acknowledged or discussed — of a dead…

A modern-day El Dorado: the Serra Pelada gold mine, Brazil, 1986

Sebastiao Salgado – master of monochrome, chronicler of the depths of human barbarity

5 October 2019 9:00 am

Occasionally, we encounter an image that seems so ludicrously out of kilter with the modern world that we can only…

Do Jews think differently?

5 October 2019 9:00 am

Sixteen years into a stop-go production saga, I got a call from the director of The Song of Names with…

Why do we write dedications in books?

28 September 2019 9:00 am

When my siblings and I were clearing out my dad’s bookshelves (he died earlier this year), I made sure to…

Will you last beyond the madeleine? Radio 4’s In Search of Lost Time reviewed

24 August 2019 9:00 am

The madeleine upon which Proust’s seven-volume epic In Search of Lost Time pivots makes its significant appearance after just 18…

Lines of beauty: Nancy Ekholm Burkert’s illustration for James and the Giant Peach

Before Quentin Blake, there was Nancy Ekholm Burkert – Dahl’s forgotten illustrator

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Bunnies were out. Beatrix Potter had the monopoly on rabbits, kittens, ducks and Mrs Tittlemouses. ‘I knew I had to…

‘The Yucca Motel’, 1995, by Fred Sigman

Geoff Dyer on the poetry of motels

22 June 2019 9:00 am

It’s to be expected. You take photographs in order to document things — Paris in the case of Eugène Atget…

‘True Love’, 1981, by Posy Simmonds

The quiet genius of Posy Simmonds, Hogarth’s heir

1 June 2019 9:00 am

‘It’s no use at all,’ says Posy Simmonds in mock despair, holding up her hands. ‘I can’t tell my left…

Why is a book like a sarcophagus?

25 May 2019 9:00 am

‘Is it like a packet of fags?’ asked my husband, less annoyingly than usual, but still in some confusion. I…

‘Come on, cancel me’: An interview with Bret Easton Ellis

11 May 2019 9:00 am

‘I grew up in LA where we all thought fame was a joke,’ says Bret Easton Ellis. ‘My class was…

Lance encounters: a plate from The Book of Tournaments, Maximilian’s remarkable encyclopedia of jousting

The joy of jousting

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Emperor Maximilian I liked to say he invented the joust of the exploding shields. When a knight charged and his…

The eyes have it: ‘The Zebra’, 1763, by George Stubbs

What makes British art British?

27 April 2019 9:00 am

There’s no avoiding the Britishness of British art. It hits me every time I walk outside and see dappled trees…

Northern soul: Whitby Abbey was built on the site where the date of Easter was decided

Whitby Abbey is at the heart of Britain’s spiritual and literary history

20 April 2019 9:00 am

The 199 steps up to the ruins of Whitby Abbey are a pilgrimage; they always have been. And any good…

Scala Radio is a real threat to Radio 2

16 March 2019 9:00 am

It’s not surprising given the way that electronic communication has taken over so much of our daily business, minimising human…

Kingsley Amis (Getty Images)

Kingsley Amis on Lolita: It’s not pornographic enough

9 March 2019 9:00 am

From ‘She was a child and I was a child’ by Kingsley Amis, 6 November 1959: The only success of…

Dominique Swain as Lolita and Jeremy Irons as Humbert in Adrian Lyne’s 1997 film (Rex Fea-tures)

Would any publisher dare to print Lolita now?

9 March 2019 9:00 am

The other day Will Self unburdened himself on the state of fiction with crushing hauteur. ‘What’s now regarded as serious…

The first great English artist – the life and art of Nicholas Hilliard

23 February 2019 9:00 am

When Henry VIII died in 1547, he left a religiously divided country to a young iconoclast who erased a large…

A letter from Vincent van Gogh to his younger brother Theo, dated 28 October 1883

‘Lock him in a motel & he’d do something astonishing’: Hockney on the genius of Van Gogh

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Being in the south of France obviously gave Vincent an enormous joy, which visibly comes out in the paintings. That’s…

The people have not forgotten me: the exiled Empress of Iran interviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Somewhere in the bowels of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is a portrait from a lost world. Its subject…

Twiggy photographed by Justin de Villeneuve in the Rainbow Room at Big Biba, early 1970s. [JUSTIN DE VILLENEUVE]

A short history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, garden gates to Twiggy

1 December 2018 9:00 am

On 10 September 1973 the 1930s Kensington High Street department store formerly known as Derry & Toms reopened as Big…

Joanna Murray-Smith as Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo: Robbie Jack/ Corbis via Getty Images

Intelligent, unfussy, literate – the West End needs more plays like this: Switzerland reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

I know nothing about Patricia Highsmith. The acclaimed American author wrote the kind of Sunday-night crime thrillers that put me…