Essays

Oxford is full of overindulged whiners. It wasn’t like that in my day

23 April 2016 9:00 am

I was in the attic killing some Taleban on Medal of Honor when Girl interrupted and said: ‘Dad, what’s this?’…

Helen Vendler is full of condescending waffle (and not just when she’s attacking me)

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Is it possible to tell a good poem from a bad one? To put the question another way: are there…

Pricking the pomp of American society

4 July 2015 9:00 am

It doesn’t mean much to say that Renata Adler’s journalism isn’t as interesting as her novels — almost nothing is…

‘A Sounding Line’ (2006–7). Detail of de Waal’s 66 porcelain vessels in white and celadon glazes, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

How good an artist is Edmund de Waal?

26 July 2014 9:00 am

For Edmund de Waal a ceramic pot has a ‘real life’ that goes beyond functionalism.This handsome book (designed by Atelier…

Reviewing reviews of reviews — where will it all end? 

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Sam Leith reviews the reviews of David Lodge — and wonders where it will all end

Italo Calvino's essays, Collection of Sand, is a brainy delight

26 October 2013 9:00 am

The Japanese are sometimes said to suffer from ‘outsider person shock’ (gaijin shokku) when travelling abroad. Recently in London we…