Thomas W. Hodgkinson

beauty girl cry

Proof that the British hardly ever had a stiff upper lip

The last time I cried was September 1989. That was my first week at public school. The reason I cried…

Beatles mania! (Photo: Getty)

The best of British — from Agatha Christie to the YBAs

Is it true that, having lost an empire, we reinvented ourselves as an island of entertainers? Do we channel the…

Author Harry Mount

Harry’s Homer — a humorous history

It was a certain unforgettable ex-girlfriend, Harry Mount confesses — named only as ‘S’ in his dedication — who came…

Jack O’Connell in ‘Unbroken’ — out next month — one of the few films today with a star writing team, the Coen brothers

How Hollywood is killing the art of screenwriting

Cinema is tough right now for writers. Thomas W. Hodgkinson reports from the front line at the Austin Film Festival

Neil Young and Billy Idol Photo: Getty

Songs for the road: through his music and his classic car collection Neil Young hopes to escape his childhood traumas

Why do people talk about ‘experimenting’ with drugs when mostly they just mean that they’re doing them? Perhaps, as I…

Tennessee Williams on the stage set of A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

Confused, unbalanced, brilliant: the Blanche Dubois of Tennessee Williams biographies

Thomas W. Hodgkinson finds John Lahr’s ‘stand-alone’ biography of Tennessee Williams as confused and unbalanced as Streetcar’s heroine

Screenwriter William Goldman Photo: Getty

How dare this author trash one of the great screenwriters of the 20th century?

Should one say ‘vicious circle’ or ‘vicious cycle’? That’s a question that just goes round and round inside my head.…


A guide to marriage, moving and fatherhood – and also not a bad tool with which to beat your solicitor to death

Over the past 12 months, I’ve proposed to my girlfriend, moved house, got married, and become a father. The most…

Author P.J. O'Rourke Portrait Session at Book Soup

The man who went to Hell and back – for a laugh

Since the passing of Auberon Waugh, there haven’t been many really successful right-wing comedians. The Mayor of London is one.…

Stirring the imagination into overdrive: ‘The Sinner’ by John Collier (1904)

Sex, secrets, and self-mortification: the dark side of the confessional

I have a confession to make. I really enjoyed this book. It’s been a while since I admitted something of…

Hotel Chelsea

Where artists went to drink and die

Once below a time (to quote the man himself) the bloated poet Dylan Thomas slouched back to New York’s Chelsea…

Hitler In Weimar

Did Hollywood moguls really make a pact with Hitler?

At the recent Austin Film Festival, at every ruminative panel or round-table discussion I attended, I slapped my copy of…

Bran Castle — but don’t mention Dracula

Transylvania Diary by Thomas W. Hodgkinson - diary

Ehe-Gefängnis. The word, strictly speaking (which is how one should always speak), means ‘marriage prison’, and refers to an austere…

A 14th-century French edition of Galen illlustrates the proper bedside manner

The Prince of medicine, by Susan P. Mattern - review

In the first draft of the screenplay for the film Gladiator, the character to be played by Russell Crowe (‘father…

Paul Bowles

Tangier, by Josh Shoemake - review

This may sound a little orientalist, but Tangier has some claim to being the most foreign city in the world.…

Island, by J. Edward Chamberlin - review

‘Tom Island’ — that was the name I was given once by a girl I met on an island in…

The Emperor Elagabalus delighted in watching his dinner guests slide to the floor as the evening progressed

Confronting the Classics, by Mary Beard - review

The Emperor Augustus, ruler of the known world, once spotted a man in the street who looked a bit like…


Pyrrhic victories

In 193 BC, Scipio met Hannibal at Ephesus, and asked him who, in his opinion, were the greatest generals of…

Alexie: ‘If you want a woman to love you, you have to dance’

Indian giver

A 465-page volume of short stories by a Native American author — it’s not, perhaps, the kind of thing everyone…

Understated elegance

A man raised by apes is discovered in Africa, recognised as an English lord, and escorted home. At a formal…

The only truly great Redgrave: Vanessa in 1966

The gulf of greatness

Ladies and gentlemen,’ Laurence Olivier declared in his clipped, semi-metallic tones to the audience at the Vic as he took…

L. Ron Hubbard

Going overboard

The founder of Scientology’s stay in Corfu was brief but eventful

Taylor and Burton on the set of ‘The VIPs’ in 1963

Man of many parts

My father, a man not given to hero-worship, once told me that the only actor he really admired was Richard…

Orson Welles, ‘the interminable prodigy, who left his promise, though not his waistline, unfulfilled’

The stuff of dreams

‘As I was writing this book and trying to discover what it was about .…’ With his very first words,…


Sweetest songs of saddest thoughts

In February 1966, in the first flush of his fame, an interviewer asked Bob Dylan what his songs were about.…