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History

Way Of The Cross Led By Pope Benedict XVI

Laughing at sin

1 July 2013 11:27

Francis Quarles, An emblem on books ‘The world’s a book, writ by the eternal art Of the great Maker, printed in man’s heart; ‘Tis falsely printed, though divinely penned, And… Continue reading

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U.K. Sterling Bank Notes As Cameron Warns Of Euro Risk

Jane Austen and Winston Churchill are practically the only credible banknote candidates

26 June 2013 12:37

Silly season is here. A minor row has broken out over which long-dead figures should appear on the reverse side of Bank of England notes. I can’t be bothered to… Continue reading

10 Comments
Fireworks light up the night sky above the National Stadium also known as the "Bird's Nest" during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 24, 2008.(FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy Beardson interview: It’s urgent that China reforms

25 June 2013 11:32

Recent convulsions in China’s banks will not, I suspect, have surprised Timothy Beardson, a sinophile, veteran Hong Kong financier and author of Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China’s Future. He… Continue reading

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The Astronaut Wives Club

20 June 2013 10:25

There I was, slowly and not ungrumpily coming to terms with the fact that there weren’t going to be any more decent books about the Apollo missions. Only 12 men… Continue reading

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Reading With Dad

Fathers, sons and the beauty of a “borrowed” book

17 June 2013 18:28

I spent the weekend in Dublin; consequently, I am suffering from what Apthorpe would have called ‘Bechuana tummy’. For the uninitiated, Apthorpe is the premier fool in Men at Arms,… Continue reading

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Jane Austen’s pinny

28 May 2013 9:30

This is the third entry in an occasional series by Christopher Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections at the Bodleian Library. You can read the other instalments here. It’s almost two… Continue reading

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Tory backbencher Jesse Norman. Picture: PA

Jesse Norman interview: Edmund Burke, our chief of men

24 May 2013 9:00

When he arrived in London, Burke had a very brief career in law. He soon dedicated his time to critical thinking, writing and politics. Burke published a number of ground… Continue reading

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The crown of England being offered to William of Orange (1650 -1702) and his wife, Mary (1662 - 1694) by the Lords and Commons at Whitehall. Engraving by H. Bourne from the fresco by Edward Matthew Ward in the new Houses of Parliament, painted circa 1860. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Glorious Revolution and small ‘c’ conservatism

13 May 2013 9:45

From a dialogue  between a non-juring clergyman and his wife by Edward ‘Ned’ Ward Wife: Why will you prove so obstinate, my dear, And rather choose to starve, than yield to… Continue reading

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The crowned heads of Europe attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. It is extraordinary that so many royal families survived the 20th century. (OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Dreams and Nightmares: Europe in the twentieth century

10 May 2013 17:11

So much abuse has been heaped on the European Union in recent years that it is easy to forget that Europe and the EU are not the same thing. Geert… Continue reading

12 Comments
A picture taken after the wedding, in 1925, of John Maynard Keynes and the Russian ballet dancer M Lydia Lopokova.

More Niallism: Keynes opposed Versailles because he was a screaming queen

8 May 2013 11:57

When I heard that Niall Ferguson had said that JM Keynes advocated reckless economic policies because he was gay and childless, and hence had no concern for the future, I… Continue reading

33 Comments
A woman campaigns for the taxing of rich people at an Occupy protest. Picture: Getty.

Interview: David Graeber, leading figure of Occupy

3 May 2013 9:00

The anarchist movement in the United States has had the support of leading libertarian intellectuals, such as Noam Chomsky; but it has lacked a figure who could transform its guiding… Continue reading

16 Comments
Meeting of Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold outside Calais in 1520.

Brendan Simms: A strong, united Europe is in Britain’s interest

2 May 2013 12:25

Since the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, European history has been dominated by two themes: the centrality of Germany and the primacy of foreign policy. This is the argument of… Continue reading

12 Comments
Representatives of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stand outside Downing Street to hand a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the withdrawal of the British naval task force heading for the Falklands because the government refused to deny the presence of nuclear weapons in the task force. (Picture: Press Association)

CND cannot rewrite its own history

29 April 2013 14:28

Last week I recorded an edition of Hardtalk for the BBC which has gone out today.  It is a discussion with Kate Hudson, the General Secretary of the Campaign for… Continue reading

25 Comments
Oscar Wilde and Carlos Blacker grace the front cover of J. Robert Maguire's 'Ceremonies of Bravery', published by the OUP.

Ceremonies of Bravery: Oscar Wilde, Carlos Blacker, and the Dreyfus Affair by J. Robert Maguire – review

24 April 2013 9:36

The life of Oscar Wilde is so wearily familiar that we assume that there is nothing new to think or say about him. This book proves us wrong. Carlos Blacker… Continue reading

3 Comments
The ‘Catalogus Plantarum’ is an early botany book that urges its reader to walk in the British wild.

The Secret Lives of Books – occasional tales from the Bodleian

22 April 2013 13:28

Does monotropa hypopithys, or yellow bird’s nest, still grow in Mickleham, Surrey, in the woods once owned by Sir Lucas Pepys the celebrity physician who, in ministering to King George… Continue reading

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Dancers of the Badora Dance Company perform on the stage of the National Dance Theatre in Budapest on December 20, 2011 during their rehearsal of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", choreographed by Hungarian Dora Barta. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK (Photo credit should read ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Falling out of love, William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 97 – discovering poetry

15 April 2013 9:07

How like a winter hath my absence been From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen, What old December’s bareness everywhere!… Continue reading

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The sun sets over the river Liffey in Dublin. (BARRY CRONIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Interview with a writer: Kevin Maher

5 April 2013 10:30

Kevin Maher’s debut novel The Fields is set in the suburban streets of south Dublin in 1984. The story is narrated by Jim Finnegan: an innocent 13-year-old boy who lives… Continue reading

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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 picture taken during the Special Air Service's celebrated operation in the Iranian embassy in London, 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Zero Six Bravo proves that too much secrecy over Special Forces is a bad thing

3 April 2013 9:30

Zero Six Bravo tells of 60 Special Forces operators forced to remain silent in the face of accusations of ‘cowardice’ and ‘running away from the Iraqis’ in the 2003 war.… Continue reading

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A gathering around 'our chief of men', by the Cromwell Association in 2008.

John Milton’s ambiguous love for Oliver Cromwell – Discovering poetry

2 April 2013 10:28

‘To Oliver Cromwell’ Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud Not of war only, but detractions rude, Guided by faith and matchless fortitude To peace and truth thy… Continue reading

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Three Mitford sisters in the early thirties. Nancy Mitford (right) pinched 'U and non-U' pronunciation from Professor Ross, author of 'How to Pronounce It'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How To Pronounce It – U and non-U. A guide for George “innit” Osborne.

28 March 2013 11:38

Sometimes, in the joyous lotteries we call ‘secondhand bookshops’, you find a volume that takes you back to a different era because of its physical appearance. Sometimes you find one… Continue reading

23 Comments
People light candles in front of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) to commemorate the bombing of Dresden, which was so vividly described by Victor Gregg in Rifleman. Gregg was a British prisoner being held in Dresden at the time of the bombings. (ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Rifleman by Victor Gregg is a book you ought to read

21 March 2013 10:00

I live in New York and until this month I had never heard of Victor Gregg, the World War II veteran whose 2011 memoir, Rifleman, was hailed as possibly the… Continue reading

33 Comments
Circa 1700, Drawings of classical ladies' hairstyles. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Was Katherine Philips a lesbian love poet?

18 March 2013 9:58

To my Excellent Lucasia , on our Friendship. I did not live until this time Crowned my felicity – When I could say without a crime I am not thine,… Continue reading

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A statue of General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees. (JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

A tale of two colonels

15 March 2013 9:05

This week, March 11th, marks the 50th anniversary of the shooting by firing squad near Paris of the last person (so far) to be executed by the state for political… Continue reading

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

Review – Invisible Romans, by Robert Knapp

5 March 2013 12:39

It’s tempting to reduce the Roman Empire to a roll call of famous men and their infamous deeds. The Republic toppled with Caesar on the steps of the senate; freedom… Continue reading

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