Language

To their coy mistresses: two poems about the arts of seduction

17 June 2013 11:18

Andrew Marvell, from ‘To His Coy Mistress’ But at my back I always hear Times winged chariot hurrying near: And…

Discovering poetry: John Donne, from deviant to Dean of St. Paul’s

3 June 2013 12:43

Holy Sonnet 7, John Donne At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise From death,…

Schroder – one man’s journey into night

30 April 2013 10:54

Erik Schroder is an East German who last saw his mother when he was five years old. In 1975 only…

In defence of William Shakespeare’s nonsense

29 April 2013 10:43

‘It was a lover and his lass’ from As You Like It It was a lover and his lassWith a…

The Ize Have It

25 April 2013 10:05

She divided us in life, she’s dividing us in death. Baroness Thatcher was so controversial that a single letter in…

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…

Budget Day: should our times really be called ‘the age of austerity’?

20 March 2013 8:30

It is Budget Day. Prepare for another barrage of “messages” about the virtues or perils, depending on your point of…

Help! What is ‘lurching’?

11 March 2013 14:29

David Cameron is not for lurching. No lurch to the right, he says. The word ‘lurch’ underscores commentary on the…

Discovering poetry: how the Psalms made the English

19 February 2013 11:14

Psalm 42, verses 1-8 Philip Sidney                                         Miles Coverdale Miles Coverdale’s translation of the psalms was among the first fruit of…

Interview with a writer: John Ashbery

1 February 2013 9:30

John Ashbery is recognized as one of the most eminent American poets of the twentieth-century. He also been called America’s…

Junot Diaz, the new Saul Bellow

23 January 2013 17:29

Every so often a writer renovates a whole literary landscape from underneath. Armed to the teeth with slang and learning,…

Oxford Street, London, in 1890

Historical directories: Street View for time-travellers - Spectator Blogs

7 January 2013 12:40

Fancy a walk into London’s past? How about a stroll down Fleet Street in 1895? Or Oxford Street in 1899?…

Which words would you ban?

3 January 2013 12:38

Which words in current use would you ban? Lake Superior State University answers this question each year, with its famous…

Do you wish you were far from the madding crowd?

19 November 2012 14:20

From ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ ‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly…

The language of criminals

13 September 2012 10:47

The English language is, as English would have it, an odd duck.  Its nuances are capricious — to the non-native,…

A gallimaufry of new words

23 August 2012 17:52

Walk into a coffee shop on any high street today and you’re confronted by an amazing array of caffeine-connected choices:…

Butlins and the return of the apostrophe - Spectator Blogs

9 August 2012 13:45

When you begin in subediting – the odd little craft of preparing other people’s journalism for publication – certain things,…

Interview: James Kelman

3 August 2012 10:40

Born in Glasgow in 1946, James Kelman left school at fifteen to begin an apprenticeship as a compositor. His first…

The language of left and right

12 June 2012 10:30

Stephan Shakespeare has a fascinating article on Con Home today, comparing which words voters associate with the terms ‘right-wing’ or…

An arena where words are dangerous

10 January 2011 15:20

‘it was a deranged individual living in a time and place where anger and vitriol had reached such a fever…