I think those on the front line must have sympathised with the people affected by the disaster, and considered themselves lucky not to live near hazardous industrial parks. I believe they must have done...

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Maggie, Denis and Mandy

Andrew O’Hagan, 2 January 2020

We sat upstairs under a huge portrait of Disraeli. Thatcher was across from me, wearing a blue, sparkly twinset and a flowery brooch. She looked very tired, like someone who’s done too much with...

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Jonathan Miller

Neal Ascherson, 2 January 2020

I first met Jonathan’s knees. This was because Cambridge sofas in the 1950s had broken springs. Once they had buoyed up culture heroes like Rupert Brooke, John Cornford or Guy Burgess.

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Thatcher Undone

David Runciman, 2 January 2020

Her vision of Britain as a Singapore off the coast of Europe no longer has to be hidden. Some, indeed, hope it will soon become official government policy. Yet anyone who wants to see the coming Johnson...

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Short Cuts: ‘Little Women’ Redux

Joanna Biggs, 2 January 2020

I envy girls their literature. There’s no literature about getting old, staying in (or leaving) a marriage, raising (or not raising) children comparable with that about growing up.

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Diary: What I did in 2019

Alan Bennett, 2 January 2020

Whereas a play or whatever on TV would invariably prompt a tipsy telephone call from Peter Cook with congratulations that one had got away with it yet again, Jonathan and I were less indulgent, tending...

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Diary: A Whiff of Tear Gas

John Lanchester, 19 December 2019

You get told, repeatedly, that the protesters are ‘children’, as young as 14 or 15 or even younger. This is supposed to suggest that the protests are in some sense trivial, though of course...

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‘Lost Girls’

Ysenda Maxtone Graham, 9 December 2019

Rather​ D.J. Taylor than me, when it comes to untangling the unbelievably complicated and messy love lives of the so-called Horizon circle: the people who clustered adoringly around Cyril...

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Lewis Namier’s Obsessions

Colin Kidd, 25 November 2019

In​ 1951, at the height of his celebrity and a year before he received his knighthood, the historian Lewis Bernstein Namier was sufficiently well known to appear – only lightly...

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Diary: California Burns

Meehan Crist, 21 November 2019

As we glide along the path of our own destruction, this is how we normalise it – one tweet at a time.

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‘On Chapel Sands’

Bee Wilson, 19 November 2019

In our age of selfies, no one could pretend that the camera never lies. It is capable of obfuscating and deceiving every bit as much as the people who compose, take and edit the photos. But that is not...

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On Michael Neve

Mike Jay, 19 November 2019

Michael​ Neve died on 9 October. I first met him in 1995, at a funeral. We had been taught Nietzsche by the same lecturer at Cambridge; that had been enough academia for me, but Michael had...

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Harold Bloom

Colin Burrow, 19 November 2019

Harold​ Bloom, who died at the age of 89 just before the publication of The American Canon, made his name in 1973 with The Anxiety of Influence. It was a great title, which soon became a...

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Short Cuts: Anonymous and Abuse

Chris Mullin, 19 November 2019

One​ Saturday some years ago, while cycling over Wearmouth Bridge in the centre of Sunderland, my young daughters and I got mixed up with the football crowd. ‘There’s that MP,’...

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Cole Porter’s secret songs

John Lahr, 19 November 2019

Of​ the many remedies Cole Porter used to kill pain – boys, drink, luxury – the most powerful was song. In October 1937, at the age of 46, out for an early morning canter at the...

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Chaucer’s Voices

Barbara Newman, 19 November 2019

Every age creates its own Chaucer. For Eustache Deschamps, a contemporary, he was the ‘grant translateur’. For Hoccleve, a disciple, he was ‘my deere maistir’ and ‘the firste...

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The Wittgensteins

Jonathan Rée, 19 November 2019

Wittgenstein wasn’t particularly impress­ed by Bertrand Russell’s adoration. If his philosoph­ical capacities were as exceptional as Russell seemed to think, then this was a curious...

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On Octavio Paz and Marie-José Tramini

Homero Aridjis, translated by Chloe Aridjis, 13 November 2019

One afternoon in June 1962 Octavio Paz and I, until then only acquainted through letters, met at the studio of the painter Juan Soriano in Mexico City. From there we went walking down Paseo de la...

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