Charities are the last bastion of corporate greed

Charities’ fundraising practices are out of control


The wonderful, vanishing world of the handwritten letter

In praise of the old-fashioned letter-writer

Vladimir and Véra: in love for life

Nabokov’s love letters are some of the most rapturous ever written

Vladimir Nabokov was happily married for over 50 years and rarely apart from his wife. More’s the pity, discovers Philip Hensher

Letters of Note includes letters from Elvis Presley to President Nixon Photo: Mondadori via Getty

'God has given me a new Turkish colleague called Mustapha Kunt...'

Under normal circumstances, Simon Garfield’s chatty and informative excursion into the history of letter-writing would be a book to recommend.…

Leonard Bernstein in 1945

Did Leonard Bernstein do too much to be a great artist?

Nigel Simeone’s title for his edition of Leonard Bernstein’s correspondence rings compellingly, novellistically, through the force of the definite article,…

Ernest Hemingway (Picture: Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Does the world need 17 volumes of Hemingway's letters?

‘In the years since 1961 Hemingway’s reputation as “the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare” shrank to the extent…

Diana Cooper,with her son John Julius Norwich in London, 1944

Darling Monster, edited by John Julius Norwich - review

It must have been awful for Diana and Duff Cooper to be separated from their only child during the war,…

Don Bachardy poses beside his portrait of Christopher Isherwood, Santa Monica, 2010

To 'Flufftail' from 'Pinkpaws': The Animals is only good for celebrity-spotting

The correspondence between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy is good for celebrity-spotting but too cloyingly self-absorbed to be of wider interest, says D. J. Taylor

Dear Lumpy, by Roger Mortimer - review

After the success of Dear Lupin, Roger Mortimer finds himself facing something not normally experienced by former Guards officers who…

Why is there such guff in the online comments below my articles?

What’s to be done about the online comments sections in daily newspapers? These (for those estimable Spectator readers who have…

Here and Now, by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee - review

In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek. So too in the luckless genre…


Joining the club Sir: As Robert Hardman notes (Royal notebook, 16 March), not only is the C back in FCO…


Sir David must stand down Sir: Reading the reports of Sir David Nicholson’s evidence before the House of Commons Health…


‘A world dying of ugliness’

Philip Hensher on the marvellous, brutal, excoriating letters of the novelist Joseph Roth


The truest man of letters

Geoffrey Wheatcroft continues to mourn his friend John Gross on the first anniversary of his death

Friends across the sea

On 12 February 1952 the novelist Anthony Powell received a letter from a bookseller in New York. Robert Vanderbilt Jr…

A gimlet eye

We should be grateful to families which encourage the culture of writing letters, and equally vital, the keeping of them.…

A serenely contented writer

Beaming Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, D.Litt. (Oxon), Mark Twain medallist and co-founder of the Hollywood Cricket Club (1881-1975), personified…


My Dear Hugh: Letters from Richard Cobb to Hugh Trevor-Roper and Others edited by Tim Heald

Richard Cobb had many good friends, among them Hugh Trevor-Roper, who kept letters, and so made this selection possible. There…


The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume II, 1941-56, edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck

The die was miscast from the start, more’s the pity. As we reach the halfway point in this massy four-volume…


Dark art

Shadow Catchers is an effective title, with its magical and occult associations, and a nice echo of body snatchers into the bargain.

Bad enemy, worse lover

Five years after his death, Saul Bellow’s literary reputation has yet to suffer the usual post-mortem slump, and publication of these lively letters should help sustain his standing.


Two of a kind

They were ‘soulmates’ according to people who knew both of them.


Young man on the make

We are not going to agree about Bruce Chatwin.


Before she was a novelist

‘It’s hard in letters quite to hit the mean between being earnest and sounding damn silly’ — as Iris Murdoch admits on page 205 of this book.