Samuel beckett

Divine comedy: Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy

The best tribute possible to the greatest comics ever: Stan & Ollie reviewed

12 January 2019 9:00 am

You mess with Laurel and Hardy at your peril. Their fan base is essentially the entire world. Samuel Beckett adored…

A real-life Tristram Shandy – found in a skip

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Most modern biographers feed off celebrity like vampires let loose in a blood bank. That is why their books sell:…

Repetitive but compelling: Giacometti at the National Portrait Gallery reviewed

24 October 2015 9:00 am

One day in 1938 Alberto Giacometti saw a marvellous sight on his bedroom ceiling. It was ‘a thread like a…

If there’d been a Gilbert and Sullivan opera about Roland Barthes, it might have sounded like John Banville’s The Blue Guitar

12 September 2015 9:00 am

The Blue Guitar is John Banville’s 16th novel. Our narrator-protagonist is a painter called Oliver Orme. We are in Ireland,…

Portrait thought to be of Francis Barber by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Francis Barber: reluctant member of Dr Johnson’s mad ménage

23 May 2015 9:00 am

We know a great deal about Samuel Johnson and virtually nothing about his Jamaican servant, Francis Barber. The few facts…

The secret life of the short story

4 April 2015 9:00 am

The short story likes to play the underdog. Famously unfavoured by publishers, it has none of the commercial clout of…