Voltaire

The Enlightenment was a many-splendoured thing

19 December 2020 9:00 am

History used to be so much easier. There were the Wars of the Roses, then the Reformation, the Civil War,…

Hostility to Islam has disguised a host of other prejudices

8 June 2019 9:00 am

In 2011, when the editor of Charlie Hebdo put Muhammad on the cover, he did so as the heir to…

The sacrifice of Iphigenia: Agamemnon’s crime was ‘impious’, according to Lucretius

What did the ancient Greeks believe?

27 February 2016 9:00 am

It is a curious fact that the modern Hebrew for ‘atheist’, Tim Whitmarsh notes in passing, is apikoros. The word…

The ruthless Romanovs’ horrible history

30 January 2016 9:00 am

It’s hard to tell at times who came off worst in Romanov Russia — the tsar or his subjects, says Adam Zamoyski

(Photo: Getty)

Has the Archbishop of Canterbury forsaken God?

28 November 2015 9:00 am

The Archbishop of Canterbury, we heard during the BBC’s Songs of Praise broadcast last Sunday, ‘doubted God’ after the Paris…

‘The Duel after the Masquerade’ by Jean-Léon Gerome was exhibited to great acclaim in Paris in 1857, and a year later in London. The art historian Francis Haskell has suggested that the mysterious duelling figures from the commmedia dell’arte are characters in a story by Jules Champfleury

Crossed swords and pistols at dawn: the duel in literature

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Earlier this century I was a guest at a fine dinner, held in a citadel of aristocratic Catholicism, for youngish…

Alexander Pope, inventor of celebrity

26 July 2014 9:00 am

‘The Picture of the Prime Minister hangs above the Chimney of his own Closet, but I have seen that of…

‘Harmony and order were what Jane Austen sought in her life and work’. Chawton House, in Hampshire (above), was inherited by Jane’s brother, Edward.

Brains with green fingers

5 April 2014 9:00 am

‘Life is bristling with thorns,’ Voltaire observed in 1769, ‘and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one’s garden.’…

Mark Ravenhill’s take on Voltaire’s Candide

21 September 2013 9:00 am

Ah yes, Candide, the adventures of an innocent abroad in ‘the best of all possible worlds’, as philosophers of the…