The young Clarice Lispector was strikingly beautiful, with catlike green eyes and ‘very, very sexy’, remembered a friend

'She's the most important Jewish writer since Kafka!'

Ian Thomson on the turbulent life of Clarice Lispector


Femmes du monde

At the end of Dreaming in French, in ‘A Note on Sources’, Alice Kaplan terms her narrative ‘this pièce montée’,…

Resounding successes

The British Library’s ‘Spoken Word’ series, drawing heavily on the BBC archives, has already shown quite a range — from…


Man of mysteries

John Sutherland revisits the sensational world of Wilkie Collins, father of the detective story


A horrid story of intellectual corruption

The death of a great author often causes interminable displays of corrosive envy. Heirs, acolytes, interpreters and academics resent one…

A kind of tenderness

The son of a grocer, Anton Chekhov was born in 1860 in Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov. While studying…

Alfred Jarry: A Pataphysical life

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Entry to the sacred grove

Some readers may wonder if we need this book. Surely, the argument might go, one can summon up potted ‘lives’…


Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller by Jennifer Kloester

Those of us who have spent an embarrassing number of hours immersed in the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer have…


The worst crime was to be a bore

Gully Wells is a spirited and amusing writer, the daughter of the American journalist Dee Wells and the stepdaughter of the famous philosopher Freddie Ayer.