Lead book review

Straight lines and grandiose schemes — Napoleon the gardener

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Not content with imposing his will on nations, Napoleon tried to subdue nature too, says David Crane

Why should art have ever been considered a male preserve?

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Sixty years ago, women were still excluded from the art history canon, says Laura Freeman

Two of a kind: Monica Jones proved Philip Larkin’s equal for racism and misogyny

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Monica Jones certainly proved Philip Larkin’s equal for racism and misogyny, says Andrew Motion

An unsuitable attachment to Nazism: Barbara Pym in the 1930s

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Vicars, tea parties and village fetes were a far cry from Barbara Pym’s early enthusiasms, Philip Hensher reveals

Bob Dylan — from respected young songwriter to Voice of a Generation

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Bob Dylan didn’t just assimilate the Great American Songbook – he vastly increased its size and variety, says Andrew Motion

Philip Roth — most meta of novelists, and most honest

3 April 2021 9:00 am

Philip Roth was prepared to stare the soul resolutely in the face – and for that he can be forgiven most things, says David Baddiel

The making of a monster: Paul Kagame’s bloodstained past

27 March 2021 9:00 am

We have all become Paul Kagame’s useful idiots, says Nicholas Shakespeare

Jordan Peterson is the Savonarola of our times

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher feels he should be on Jordan Peterson’s side, but finds it a struggle

Edward Said — a lonely prophet of doom

13 March 2021 9:00 am

Even Edward Said would not have claimed to be ‘the 20th century’s most celebrated intellectual’. But neither was he ‘Professor of Terror’, says Justin Marozzi

Chips Channon’s diaries can read like a drunken round of Consequences

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Chips Channon was conceited, snobbish, disloyal, voyeuristic and wrongheaded – all qualities most helpful to a great diarist, says Craig Brown

Up close and personal: voices from the Great War, week by week

27 February 2021 9:00 am

As the Great War unfolds, voices we don’t usually hear describe with a terrible raw honesty the realities of their experience, says David Crane

The stuff of fiction: Elizabeth Bowen exploits her extra-marital affairs

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Lara Feigel tells of the passion, pain and sexual exploitation involved in Elizabeth Bowen’s affair with a young married scholar

The serious rows at Marvel Comics

13 February 2021 9:00 am

If Marvel characters seem dysfunctional, just look at their creators, says Dorian Lynskey

Imagining a future for John Keats — the novelist

6 February 2021 9:00 am

Keats is a much stranger poet than we tend to realise – who shocked his first readers by his vulgarity and gross indecency, says Philip Hensher

Rescuing Elizabeth Barrett Browning from her wax-doll image

30 January 2021 9:00 am

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an ambitious, passionate, determined woman – not the sad-eyed invalid of legend, says Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

The art of the short story: what we can learn from the Russians

23 January 2021 9:00 am

Viv Groskop takes a masterclass in the art of the short story

Dolly Parton represents all that’s best about America

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Dolly Parton is the living embodiment of America’s best values, says Philip Hensher

The life and loves of Mary Wollstonecraft

9 January 2021 9:00 am

Ruth Scurr reveals what an impulsive, life-loving individual Mary Wollstonecraft was

Will we soon see the end of conservatism as we know it?

19 December 2020 9:00 am

The future of conservatism depends crucially on its ability to withstand the new hard right, says William Hague

The tug of war over the Rosetta Stone

12 December 2020 9:00 am

The decipherment of the Rosetta Stone led to bitter feuding – but there was mutual curiosity and collaboration too, says Elizabeth Frood

Roy Strong’s towering egotism is really rather engaging

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Stephen Bayley recalls his (mainly enjoyable) encounters with the flamboyant former museum director

Barack Obama was decidedly a man of action as well as words

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Barack Obama was famous for his rhetoric, but his achievements show just what a steely political operator he was too, says Sam Leith

Harold Bloom finally betrays how little he really understood literature

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Harold Bloom devoted his life to literature – but he had little feeling for words, says Philip Hensher

Books of the Year II — chosen by our regular reviewers

14 November 2020 9:00 am

David Crane If nothing else, this has been a good time for catch-up. Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest (translated by Walter…

Books of the year, chosen by our regular reviewers

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Reviewers choose the books they have most enjoyed in 2020 – and a few that have disappointed them