Craig Raine says that Jonathan Bate’s unauthorised biography of Ted Hughes gets it wrong on every level
Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg), the prolific, Oscar-winning auteur, New Orleans-style jazz clarinettist, doyen of New York delicatessen society,…
I have a confession to make. I really enjoyed this book. It’s been a while since I admitted something of…
William S. Burroughs lived his life in the grand transgressive tradition of Lord Byron and Oscar Wilde and, like all…
London, 1794. It’s a different world from that portrayed by the Mrs Radcliffes and Anons of the time: rich young…
A new kind of unrest is making itself felt throughout the Arab world. Women are beginning to assert themselves and voice their frustrations, says Caroline Moorehead
‘All human life is binary’, explains a Vestal Virgin to the time-travelling heroine of Ranjit Bolt’s verse novel, Losing It.…
Sometimes, only the purest smut will do. Scotty Bowers’s memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex…
When I saw the title of this book, then read that it only covered the period 1600-1800 I hoped this…
Reviewing Lindsay Clarke’s Whitbread-winning The Chymical Wedding a small matter of 20 years ago, and noting its free and easy cast and wistful nods in the direction of the Age of Aquarius, I eventually pronounced that it was a ‘hippy novel’.
If ever there was a novel to which that old adage about not judging a book by its cover could be applied, it’s this one.
Memory Lane always looked so unthreatening to me.
The most striking thing about Piers Paul Read’s early novels was their characters’ susceptibility to physical decay.
The somewhat straightlaced theatre-going audiences of 1880s America, eager for performances by European artistes like Jenny Lind and solid, home-grown, classical actors such as Otis Skinner, were hardly prepared for the on-stage vulgarity that the (usually) Russian and Polish immigrant impressarios, with their particular nous for show-biz, were to unleash into the saloons and fleapits across the young nation.
‘His cursed concubine.’ That was the imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys’ judgment on Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.
The 22nd Earl of Erroll, Military Secretary in Kenya in the early part of the second world war, was described by two of his fellow peers of the realm as ‘a stoat — one of the great pouncers of all time’ and ‘a dreadful shit who really needed killing’.
Lesley Downer is one of the most unusual authors writing in English.
I have always been sceptical of those passages in the ‘Ancestry’ chapters of biographies that run something like this: Through his veins coursed the rebellious blood of the Vavasours, blended with a more temperate strain from the Mudge family of Basingstoke.
For once, I felt sorry for Bill Clinton.
I know a British couple with a Chinese daugh- ter, pretty and fluent in English.
In little more than a decade, the cosy world of Anglo-American crime fiction has been transformed by wave after wave of Scandinavian invaders.
For someone who barely left the house, Emily Dickinson didn’t half cause a lot of trouble.
Books about marriage, like the battered old institution itself, come in and out of fashion with writers, readers and politicians, but never quite die away.
For those unfamiliar with Martin Amis’s short story, ‘What Happened to Me on My Holiday’, written for The New Yorker in 1997, it was a purist exercise in autobiographical fiction; not even the names were changed.
Edmund White is among the most admired of living authors, his oeuvre consisting of 20-odd books of various forms — novels, stories, essays and biographies — though each one is imbued with his preferred subject, homosexuality.