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Daisy Dunn rss

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When it comes to childbirth, I’d rather be a sheep than a woman

7 April 2014 10:51

I know this because I have now sat through five series of One Born Every Minute (Channel 4) and three series of Lambing Live (BBC 2), and compounded it all with a weekend on… Continue reading

5 Comments
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It was all going so well till the fishnet tights. A Classicist reviews 300: Rise of an Empire…

13 March 2014 11:25

It is 490 BC and it is raining. Themistocles, the Athenian general, is at Marathon, preparing to shoot an arrow at the great Persian King Darius I. Xerxes, Darius’ son,… Continue reading

3 Comments
ITV's Take Me Out: the new Blind Date. Photo: Talkback Thames/ITV

Saturday night telly worth staying in for

23 February 2014 12:00

If you don’t go out on a Saturday night, you stay in and imagine what it would be like to be out. And if you do that, there’s a chance… Continue reading

7 Comments
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What might link Cleopatra, Augustus, Constantine, Barbarossa, Tamerlane and the Farnese?

22 August 2013 10:30

The stone called sardonyx looks a lot more fragile than it actually is. It’s luminous like glass, but hard like steel, which explains why so much of it has survived… Continue reading

1 Comment
Van Dyck's first self-portrait (C.1615), which forms the cover of 'The Young Van Dyck' edited Alejandro Vergara and Friso Lammertse. (Courtesy of Thames and Hudson)

The Young Van Dyck edited by Alejandro Vergara and Friso Lammertse – review

4 April 2013 10:00

Precocious genius will never fail to impress. But it is also very hard to relate to. Aged 14, Anthony Van Dyck painted a Portrait of a Seventy-Year-Old man that looked… Continue reading

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A view of the Himalayan Mountain range of Annapurna and Mount Machhapuchre. PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images

The pleasure of reading Rumer Godden’s India

27 February 2013 11:07

Rumer Godden’s prose tugs two ways at once. It is subtle, descriptive, and light, but also direct and unashamed of being turned inside out until darkness consumes it, rendering what… Continue reading

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Madame Tussauds launch the new George Clooney waxwork ahead of Valentine's Day. Image: Getty

The true romantic

14 February 2013 9:30

Schmaltz just doesn’t sit well with traditional English sensibilities. We spend hundreds of millions of pounds on Valentine’s Day each year whilst acknowledging that it’s a load of commercial tosh.… Continue reading

0 Comments
Paul Emsley's portrait of Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, presently showing at the National Portrait Gallery. Image: Getty

The Duchess of Cambridge, defining a portrait

14 January 2013 12:26

Poor Kate Middleton. In the royal tradition of artistic and literary representation, what defines her at this moment in time? The creepy feature on her wardrobe statistics in February’s Vogue?… Continue reading

1 Comment
(Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

Crime and Guilt, by Ferdinand Von Schirach

9 January 2013 10:00

Tis the season for shopping mall scuffles. A man with a red face prized the last Magimix (steel, 600 rotations per minute) from my hands yesterday, citing ‘the stress of… Continue reading

1 Comment
Night falls on Seattle, and Tom Hanks' vigil at the telephone begins. One of the known 'disectia' that Nicholson Baker devotes himself to is 'Sleepless in Seatlle'. Image: Getty.

The Way the World Works by Nicholson Baker – an ideal Christmas present

28 November 2012 9:51

Nicholson Baker is intensely interested. He looks at the world like he has never seen it before, fixating on the mundane and capitalizing upon the strange lacunae which exist between… Continue reading

1 Comment
The Collini Case is a fictionalised account of a murder that took place in Berlin. Image: Getty.

Review: The Collini Case, by Ferdinand von Schirach

31 October 2012 10:30

During the Second World War both Germans and Allies routinely shot civilians in reprisal for attacks on their armed forces. One shudders to think that a ratio could even be… Continue reading

4 Comments
Claude Monet taking in the air and the water lilies in his garden at Giverny, circa 1910. Image: Getty

Plein-air pleasures and the great indoors

24 October 2012 16:44

Some say it’s the walk there that does it. The promenade down a rambling city path and through a crowd of coffee-swigging commuters that fuels the inspiration that can only… Continue reading

1 Comment
The Colosseum. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/GettyImages)

What makes a man

16 October 2012 16:28

The Roman orator Quintilian offered some practical advice to the budding politician: don’t move too languidly, flick your fingers, or tilt your neck in a feminine way if you want… Continue reading

4 Comments

Outliving Ozymandias

9 October 2012 10:02

In 1842, a wealthy heiress called Sarah Losh built a church in Wreay (rhymes with ‘near’, apparently), close to Carlisle. Coupling carvings of caterpillars with turtle gargoyles and a spattering… Continue reading

1 Comment
Katherine Angel's 'Unmastered' is a singular exploration of female sexual desire. Image: Getty.

Unmastered: A book on desire, most difficult to tell (…or read)

26 September 2012 9:42

Among the new words which entered the English Dictionary last year was ‘overshare’, def: ‘to reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life’. If that detail pertains to… Continue reading

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'Story of O' recalls what the Greeks knew best, everything in moderation. Image: Getty.

‘Story of O’ and the Oral Tradition

21 September 2012 14:40

A fascinating case was recently brought before the Italian courts. After six years of conjugal submission to her padrone (far better than master, give it that) a woman has filed… Continue reading

1 Comment
Robert Hughes' 'Culture of Complaint' is a brilliant guide to the various culture wars that have raged around us in recent days. Image: Getty

Robert Hughes – The novelty of the shock

18 September 2012 9:43

The real shock of the new came in 1991. It was sobering, and it was reverent, which aren’t exactly the first words one would associate with The Shock of the… Continue reading

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Stepping out with my baby. Image: Getty

The language of patronage

4 September 2012 14:58

Somehow, sex is less appealing when it’s characterised as ‘equitable return’. Though I’ve heard the phrase used in a similar context a dozen times since, I wasn’t quite sure what… Continue reading

1 Comment
Commuter Train 2000

China’s labours

10 August 2012 14:44

This review will not be kind. But let’s not start that way. Ground lies between. Rewind. Am I the only person to find being addressed like this intensely irritating? China… Continue reading

2 Comments

Down the rabbit hole

3 May 2012 7:37

In the US, Simon Mawer’s new novel The Girl Who Fell From The Sky is rather more optimistically entitled Trapeze. It opens as a girl with three aliases hurls herself… Continue reading

1 Comment

Overcoming war

1 May 2012 8:07

Some war veterans slip back into civilian life with reasonable ease, stiff of limb, stiff of upper lip. If at first it’s a case of concealment and self-restraint, there’s at… Continue reading

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The name’s Boyd, William Boyd

12 April 2012 12:52

William Boyd is to write the next book in the James Bond franchise. The as yet untitled novel will be published next autumn. To mark the announcement, Daisy Dunn casts… Continue reading

1 Comment

Interview: Tom Holland on the origins of Islam

5 April 2012 10:53

In the fifth century BC Herodotus of Halicarnassus set out a history of hostilities between the Greeks and the Persians. For all his quirky non-sequiturs (Ethiopians’ skin is black, so… Continue reading

3 Comments

Mother tongues

2 April 2012 11:36

Elif Shafak, the most widely read novelist in Turkey, was in advocatory mood at Oxford Literary Festival last Saturday. Lamenting the demise of the kind of oral tradition former generations… Continue reading

1 Comment

Reading in Florence

15 March 2012 11:44

Ninety per cent of the population of Florence is Roman Catholic. Apparently that’s common knowledge, but sometimes it’s the little things that hammer home the big statistics. In my case… Continue reading

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