Thomas W. Hodgkinson

A Roman gladiator fighting a tiger

Mary Beard minds her S, P, Q and R

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Having rattled and routed Mark Antony and his bewitching Egyptian at the battle of Actium in 31 BC, Octavian was…

beauty girl cry

Proof that the British hardly ever had a stiff upper lip

10 October 2015 9:00 am

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

26 September 2015 8:00 am

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

25 July 2015 9:00 am

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

29 November 2014 9:00 am

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

22 November 2014 9:00 am

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

20 September 2014 9:00 am

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?

13 September 2014 9:00 am

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

12 July 2014 9:00 am

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

24 May 2014 9:00 am

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

1 March 2014 9:00 am

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

8 February 2014 9:00 am

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?

23 November 2013 9:00 am

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

21 September 2013 9:00 am

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

14 September 2013 9:00 am

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

24 August 2013 9:00 am

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

10 August 2013 9:00 am

‘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

23 March 2013 9:00 am

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


Pyrrhic victories

16 February 2013 9:00 am

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

9 February 2013 9:00 am

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

Understated elegance

19 January 2013 9:00 am

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

1 December 2012 9:00 am

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

24 November 2012 9:00 am

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

13 October 2012 9:00 am

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

6 October 2012 9:00 am

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