Books

Trump’s greatest legacy could be his power to reshape the Supreme Court

4 February 2017 12:00

James D. Zirin is an experienced litigator as well as the host of a popular television talkshow. In this provocative…

‘A banishment’ – Gloria Deak describes the visits of celebrated Victorians to America

17 September 2013 13:17

No, they decidedly did not like us — this is true at least for the majority of the nineteenth-century British…

Has anything in the recent past had a bigger effect on writers and writing than Twitter?

12 September 2013 9:30

I’ve been trying to think of something – anything – in recent years that has had a bigger effect on…

Discovering poetry: Lord Byron’s myth-making through verse

11 September 2013 9:00

‘So, we’ll go no more a roving’ So, we’ll go no more a roving So late into the night, Though…

Man Booker prize shortlist 2013 - how was our tipping?

10 September 2013 12:28

One of Philip Hensher’s many qualities as a critic is that he doesn’t take prisoners. So his entertaining and judicious…

Interview with a poet: Richard Murphy, an old Spectator hand

10 September 2013 10:30

Richard Murphy was born in County Mayo in Ireland in 1927. He spent part of his childhood in Ceylon (now…

Interview with a writer: Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Booker longlisted The Lowland

9 September 2013 9:30

The Lowland is the magnificent new novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, which has been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize.…

Must read: Jenny McCartney on Seamus Heaney and Ulster’s divide

6 September 2013 9:00

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to read Jenny McCartney’s piece in this week’s issue of the…

Rosh Hashanah reading list

5 September 2013 9:57

Happy New Year! No, it isn’t three months’ early if you’re Jewish, and those of you who aren’t might like…

Bookies following Philip Hensher’s Booker shortlist

4 September 2013 12:22

The Guardian notes that Ladbrokes and William Hill share Philip Hensher’s hunch for the Booker shortlist, which is to be…

Here, Mr Gove, is the thrill of raw, unvarnished history

4 September 2013 9:36

Our unrelenting appetite for historical drama is fed by a ceaseless stream of novels and dramatisations – usually, these days,…

Hitler’s missed opportunity: failing to smash the rock of Gibraltar

3 September 2013 11:37

It may be that only geological erosion, expected to occur sometime over the next ten million years, will finally remove…

A Little Something: remembering Seamus Heaney

2 September 2013 16:59

‘So.’ So begins Seamus Heaney’s translation of ‘Beowulf’. I know it didn’t come easy to him. The morning after he…

Foresworn: Jonathan Lethem, Kenneth Tynan, and the unpredictable progress of swearing

2 September 2013 16:31

For a few days last week, it seemed that Jonathan Lethem had achieved something unique: he had become the first…

What if Byron and the Shelleys had live tweeted from the Villa Diodati?

2 September 2013 13:38

It’s one of the most famous – indeed infamous – episodes in English literary history. In the summer of 1816…

My holiday from reading books is to read them as Caxton intended

29 August 2013 10:30

On hearing that Easy Jet had changed its hand luggage allowance, two questions struck me. First, was the airline in…

Losing Your Mind – The Novel That Induces Insanity

28 August 2013 10:30

Nobody wants to go mad. We try to live healthy lives so that we won’t die slowly of lung cancer…

How long until novels are published with video inserts?

27 August 2013 10:30

In Charlie Kauffman’s Bafta lecture (a startlingly honest reflection on film writing, and well worth a listen), the screenwriter, producer…

Is England too good for the English? Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt seems to think so

26 August 2013 9:30

From Shakespeare’s Richard II, lines spoken by John of Gaunt. This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth…

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…

Review: In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge – a tale of rebellion and conformity

21 August 2013 15:30

In Times of Fading Light’s seven narrators exist in an almost permanent state of bewildered disappointment. Given that the narrators…

Final call for Propaganda: Power and Persuasion at the British Library

21 August 2013 11:57

For the first time in years, I thought of Tony Hancock. In the ‘Blood Donor’ episode of Hancock’s Half Hour,…

Elmore Leonard

On borrowing Elmore Leonard

20 August 2013 16:59

When you walk into a new branch library, or stumble across an unfamiliar secondhand bookshop, which writer do you look…

Elmore Leonard dies aged 87

20 August 2013 15:18

Elmore Leonard has died aged 87. Leonard began his career as a hack and ended it as a modern master. His rule was:…

Amartya Sen interview: India must fulfil Tagore’s vision, not Gandhi’s

20 August 2013 11:19

Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Sen’s previous books…