Charles Osborne

Charles Osborne Literature Director of the Arts Council of Great Britain, is the author of several books, including W. H. Auden: The Life of a Poet and The Complete Operas of Verdi.

Diary: Arts Council Subsidies

Charles Osborne, 7 June 1984

A few weeks ago, in New York, I accompanied a friend on a shopping expedition. While we were in a novelty gift shop on Columbus Avenue, she bought me a rubber stamp which she said I’d find useful when I got back to my Arts Council office in London. I know what she means, though, in fact, I’ve found myself using it, not on office memos (strong at times though the temptation has been), but on press clippings relating to the Arts Council. The stamp reads ‘BULLSHIT’ and it has recently been slapped on articles in the Sunday Times, Publishing News and the Times Educational Supplement. As the 1940 Deanna Durbin song says, ‘it’s foolish but it’s fun.’

Verdi’s Views

John Rosselli, 29 October 1987

Few creative artists have moved forward on as broad a front as Verdi has in the past half-century. Just before the Second World War he remained, for the public at large, the composer of three or...

Read More


J.I.M. Stewart, 5 May 1983

In the opening chapter of A Study in Scarlet Dr Watson is introduced to Sherlock Holmes. Holmes says, ‘How are you?’ and adds: ‘You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.’...

Read More

Taking sides

Karl Miller, 17 April 1980

In 1960, Auden completed his third decade as a poet with the volume Homage to Clio. By then, Charles Osborne writes, he was ‘widely regarded as among the few really great poets of the...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences