Books

‘The Ladder of Divine Ascent’, 12th century, from St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, Egypt. (This image and one below from Chromaphilia, by Stella Paul). akg-images/Erich Lessing

The mysteries of colour

18 March 2017 9:00 am

When Australia imposed generic packaging in its war on cigarettes, there was consumer research into the most deterrent colour. Pantone…

Forbidden love and the beautiful game

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Nowadays, most of us living in the liberal West agree that there can never be anything morally wrong with love…

The magnificent Clifden Nonpareil — or Blue Underwing — faced extinction as a breeding species in Britain. There are now at least four colonies thriving in Sussex

Speckled Footman and Maiden’s Blush

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Last year, I attempted to pass through security in an American airport carrying a small black box, containing eight batteries…

Comfort the suffering

11 March 2017 9:00 am

If a single book could help you to be kinder and more compassionate, could expand and deepen your understanding of…

A mother and child, refugees from Raqqa, wait to cross into Turkey in September 2014

Descent into hell

11 March 2017 9:00 am

In my work as a reviewer, a small, steady proportion of all the books publishers send me concern the Holocaust.…

Father, son and holy ghost

11 March 2017 9:00 am

No disrespect to any of the present incumbents, but Karl Miller (1931–2014) was a literary editor in an age when…

Nothing matters very much

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Nothing will come of nothing, said Lear, because he wasn’t familiar with quantum physics. According to our current best theories,…

Paris-born Pearl Witherington led a force of over 1,500 maquisards in the summer of 1944

Carve their names with pride

11 March 2017 9:00 am

‘Women,’ Captain Selwyn Jepson, SOE’s senior recruiting officer, once wrote, ‘have a far greater capacity for cool and lonely courage…

Night of the living dead

11 March 2017 9:00 am

On 5 February 1862, the night Abraham Lincoln and his wife gave a lavish reception in the White House, with…

Portrait of Persia’s Prince Abbas Mirza, c.1820. From his bailiwick near the Russian border he dispatched educational missions to Europe, sponsored translations of key European works and imported metal casting techniques and the printing press. (Getty images)

Light in the East

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Christopher de Bellaigue, a journalist who has spent much of his working life in the Middle East, has grown tired…

Watercolour sketch of Jane Carlyle by Karl Hartmann (1850)

Back with a vengeance

11 March 2017 9:00 am

One hour in No. 5 Cheyne Row, Virginia Woolf observed, will tell you more about the Carlyles than all the…

Father, son and holy ghost

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

No disrespect to any of the present incumbents, but Karl Miller (1931–2014) was a literary editor in an age when…

Portrait of Persia’s Prince Abbas Mirza, c.1820. From his bailiwick near the Russian border he dispatched educational missions to Europe, sponsored translations of key European works and imported metal casting techniques and the printing press. (Getty images)

Light in the East

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

Christopher de Bellaigue, a journalist who has spent much of his working life in the Middle East, has grown tired…

Nothing matters very much

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

Nothing will come of nothing, said Lear, because he wasn’t familiar with quantum physics. According to our current best theories,…

A mother and child, refugees from Raqqa, wait to cross into Turkey in September 2014

Descent into hell

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

In my work as a reviewer, a small, steady proportion of all the books publishers send me concern the Holocaust.…

Paris-born Pearl Witherington led a force of over 1,500 maquisards in the summer of 1944

Carve their names with pride

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

‘Women,’ Captain Selwyn Jepson, SOE’s senior recruiting officer, once wrote, ‘have a far greater capacity for cool and lonely courage…

Watercolour sketch of Jane Carlyle by Karl Hartmann (1850)

Back with a vengeance

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

One hour in No. 5 Cheyne Row, Virginia Woolf observed, will tell you more about the Carlyles than all the…

Night of the living dead

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

On 5 February 1862, the night Abraham Lincoln and his wife gave a lavish reception in the White House, with…

Comfort the suffering

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

If a single book could help you to be kinder and more compassionate, could expand and deepen your understanding of…

Short – but far from sweet

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Like his Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel, The Sympathisers, the stories in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees are set largely among…

An 18th-century engraving of Praetorian guards by Jacques Grasset de Saint Sauveur and L.F. Labrousse

Who will guard the guards?

4 March 2017 9:00 am

The history of an army is essentially the history of its deeds. The history of an army within an army…

Denton Welch with baroque angel at Hadlow Road, Tonbridge, 1937

Undone by love

4 March 2017 9:00 am

On the Whitsun weekend of 1935 an art student called Denton Welch was knocked off his bicycle by a car…

It’s in the memes

4 March 2017 9:00 am

The greatest of Bach’s 224 cantatas is BWV 109, ‘Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben’. Its subject — the…

Worming out the truth

4 March 2017 9:00 am

In Delmore Schwartz’s story ‘In Dreams Begin Responsibilities’, a young man dreams he is watching his father and mother’s engagement…

Fantastic interpretations of the inkblots might imply either madness or high intelligence and creativity. Rorschach was convinced the tests could distinguish between the two

All in the mind’s eye

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Everyone knows what the Rorschach tests are. Like Freudian slips, boycotts, quislings and platonic friendships, however, it was long ago…