Judith Flanders

A group of boys riding in an army tank on the roundabout at the Hampstead Heath Fairground in 1944.  (Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Beer and skittles and Lucian Freud and Quentin Crisp – a Hampstead misery memoir

The rise of the ‘misery memoir’ describing abusive childhoods, followed by the I-was-a-teenage-druggie-alkie-gangbanger-tick-as-appropriate memoir, pushed into the shadows an older…


The pen was mightier than the brush

Of the making of books about the Pre-Raphaelites, it appears, there is no end. Like the Bloomsberries, most of the…


Making sense of a cruel world

The actor-biographer Simon Callow has played Dickens, and has created Dickensian characters, in monologues and in a solo bravura rendition…


The odd couple

Carola Hicks was an acclaimed art historian, and, as she phrased it, a biographer of objects, exploring the ‘lives’ of…

An upside-down world

Last year, with William Ryan’s The Holy Thief, detective-fiction aficionados welcomed the thrillingly horrific first instalment in a new series set in 1930s Moscow.

Pearls before swine

The story of Harry the Valet is the stuff of fiction.


Massacre of the innocents

‘La justice flétrit, la prison corrompt et la société a les criminels qu’elle mérite’ — Justice withers, prison corrupts, and society gets the criminals it deserves.


A palace in miniature

There’s nothing like a really good wallow in nostalgia.


Lurking beneath the surface

One’s past life is, usually, comfortably past.


Life beyond the canvas

Angela Thirlwell’s previous book was a double biography of William Rossetti (brother to the more famous Dante Gabriel) and his wife Lucy (daughter of the more famous Ford Madox Brown).


Riding for a fall

Many attempts have been made to portray the ‘Roaring Twenties’, or the ‘Gilded Nineties’, or the something-or-other sometime-else, but in truth the 1930s is one of the few decades that fits neatly into a nice round summary, with the Great Depression at one end, the second world war at the other.

Not perfect freedom

‘Servants’ and ‘service’ have not always meant ‘servility’.

Ten minutes that shook Europe

Wrath of God: the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, by Edward Paice


Out of the frying pan . . .

Stranger in the House: Women’s Stories of Men Returning from the Second World War, by Julie Summers

A dying fall

Judith Flanders reviews Stephen Galloway's novel about the siege of Sarajevo 

When pink was far from rosy

Judith Flanders on the new book by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

Beautiful Victorian behemoth

It would take a heart of stone to contemplate St Pancras station and its appended Midland Grand Hotel without laughing,…

Pea-soupers and telegraphic paralysis

Lee Jackson is the creator of that cornucopia of Victorian delight, the Victorian London website (www.victorianlondon.org). From Mogg’s Strangers’ Guide…

The bad old East End

‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ L. P. Hartley’s famous opening is used by Gilda…

The Boogie and Ginnie double act

Relationships between mothers and daughters are sometimes harmonious, often troubled, and always contradictory. Daughters want to break away, be independent,…


The master and the loyal retainer

Listing page content here It was not easy to be an attendant at the court of King Pablo, for Picasso,…

The Goddams and the snail-eaters

A French journalist writing in 1999 was succinct: ‘The English hate the French. Who reciprocate … A purée of prejudice…

Lust for life

I must declare an interest. At my solitary meeting with Maggi Hambling, she suddenly barked, ‘Would you like to see…

Dogged does it

William Boyd has written a dozen novels and short stories in the past quarter-century. That makes him a fairly prolific…

New technology, component costs and product placement

The fashion for novelty is scarcely, well, novel. In the 18th century Dr Johnson warned that the frenzy for the…