‘There are an awful lot of my paintings I don’t like,’ admitted Francis Bacon

11 May 2024 9:00 am

While waspishly dismissive of many of the 20th century’s greatest artists, Bacon was also critical of his own work, in conversation with David Sylvester

Emily Dickinson was not such a recluse after all

27 April 2024 9:00 am

Far from being closeted in her bedroom, her letters show that she was still travelling in her mid-thirties, and taking pleasure in gardening and the glories of nature

Lord Byron had many faults, but writing dull letters wasn’t one of them

17 February 2024 9:00 am

Andrew Stauffer traces the poet’s tumultuous life through some of the most remarkable missives in the English language

Music was always Anthony Burgess’s first love

3 February 2024 9:00 am

A gifted pianist and composer, Burgess combined his talents in a superb series of music reviews, published for the first time in a complete collection

An insider’s account of the CCP’s stranglehold on China

27 January 2024 9:00 am

A high-ranking intelligence officer leaves a cache of letters revealing his increasing disenchantment with the party after being purged numerous times

Seamus Heaney’s letters confirm that he really was as nice as he seemed

14 October 2023 9:00 am

Seamus Heaney’s letters are full of energy and joie de vivre, but a darker note persists as the pressure of celebrity grows, says Roy Foster

The making of a poet: Wilfred Owen’s ‘autobiography’ in letters

5 August 2023 9:00 am

How, between 1911 and 1917, Owen became the dazzling poet we know and love is the story told in Jane Potter’s new edition of his selected letters

Frederic Raphael settles old scores with a vengeance

8 July 2023 9:00 am

The nonagenarian’s critical faculties are as sharp as ever in these imaginary letters addressed to Kingsley Amis, Jonathan Miller, Doris Lessing and many others

Who needed who most? The complex bond between Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby

29 October 2022 9:00 am

Claudia FitzHerbert explores the complex bond between two remarkable writers in the interwar years

A complex, driven, unhappy man: the truth about John le Carré

15 October 2022 9:00 am

Adam Sisman on the private life of John le Carré, revealed in letters and a kiss-and-tell

The ‘delishious’ letters of Lucian Freud

24 September 2022 9:00 am

Love him or loathe him, Lucian Freud was a maverick genius whose life from the off was as singular as…

As normal as blueberry pie: Oscar Hammerstein II, through his letters

10 September 2022 9:00 am

Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? Picasso or Matisse? Lennon or McCartney? Impossible to call? No such quandary with Rodgers and Hart and…

What I’ve learnt from editing a newspaper letters page

13 August 2022 9:00 am

The joys of editing a newspaper letters page

The sad, extraordinary life of Basil Bunting

30 July 2022 9:00 am

Funny old life, eh? Small world, etc. In one of those curious, Alan Bennett-y, believe-it-or-not-but-I-once-delivered-meat-to-the mother-in-law-of-T.S.-Eliot-type coincidences, it turns out…

You’d never guess from her art how passionate Gwen John was

2 April 2022 9:00 am

‘Dearest Gwen,’ writes Celia Paul, born 1959, to Gwen John, died 1939, ‘I know this letter to you is an…

T.S. Eliot’s preoccupations in wartime Britain

25 September 2021 9:00 am

In her essay ‘A House of One’s Own’, about Vanessa Bell, Janet Malcolm says memorably that Bloomsbury is a fiction,…

Sun, sex and acid: Thom Gunn in California

1 May 2021 9:00 am

San Francisco is a fantastic place… it’s terribly sunny… I am having a splendid hedonistic time here… I find myself…

Suicide was always a spectre for John Berryman

28 November 2020 9:00 am

‘A matter that hurts me is that I have made many hundreds of people laugh, in various cities, during the…

A literary scoop: the passionate correspondence between R.L. Stevenson and J.M. Barrie

7 November 2020 9:00 am

This book has appeared with no fuss or fanfare and yet by any account it is something of a scoop.…

A passionate wartime love story is rescued from oblivion

16 May 2020 9:00 am

Once in a while, just at the right moment, a truly gorgeous real-life love story appears out of the blue,…

The marvel of Mozart’s letters

18 April 2020 9:00 am

It’s 1771, you’re in Milan, and your 14-year-old genius son has just premièred his new opera. How do you reward…

Portrait of Carrington by Mark Gertler

Love and letters in a Bloomsbury triangle

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Dora Carrington (1893–1932) was at the heart of the Bloomsbury story. As an art student, she encountered the love of…

Mary Wesley’s passionate lifelong love affair

2 December 2017 9:00 am

The novelist Mary Wesley never forgot the night of 26 October 1944. She was then 32, locked in a loveless…

Charities are the last bastion of corporate greed

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Charities’ fundraising practices are out of control

The wonderful, vanishing world of the handwritten letter

4 July 2015 9:00 am

In praise of the old-fashioned letter-writer