Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul are only three of many names for a city whose combination of sanctity with sensuous allure has seized the world’s imagination: the New Rome, the New Jerusalem, the “armpit of Greece”, the “bone in the throat of Allah”, the “World’s Desire”, Tsargrad and Miklagard.
An Irish century Premium16 February 2017 | by Mary Kenny
John Bowman is a much-respected broadcast journalist in Ireland, the author of an award-winning book about De Valera and the Ulster question.
A young woman, Sally Brody, goes to visit her younger brother Steven in Brighton, at the start of this first novel by Miranda Gold. He lives in a seedy boarding house where she hopes to stay three days but, in the event, she goes back home to London the following morning.
Faith against the odds Premium16 February 2017 | by Simon Scott Plummer
The story of Christianity in Japan is a gripping mixture of missionary zeal, political calculation, cowardice and heroism under persecution and, in numerical terms, ultimate failure.
Eyewitness history Premium09 February 2017 | by William Eichler
Describing the power vacuum left when a king dies and no one assumes the throne, the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci wrote: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”
Jungle book Premium09 February 2017 | by Nocholas Murray
Can fiction mend the world? Clearly that is the view of Peirene, hitherto acclaimed publishers of translated contemporary European fiction, now making a bold transition into fiction written in English with a new series Peirene Now!
Sins of the father Premium09 February 2017 | by Paul Routledge
Brilliant, enigmatic John Beckett, a rising Labour star in the 1930s who turned to Oswald Mosley’s Fascists, was a hero from literature “looking for a Father Brown and eventually finding him”.
The father of the Holocaust? Premium02 February 2017 | by Peter Marshall
In the reckoning after the Second World War, reproachful British and American commentators drew a straight line between Martin Luther’s hostility towards the Jews and the greatest crime of European history. Unrepentant Nazis acknowledged the connection.
Forgery or mystery? Premium02 February 2017 | by Robert Carver
“I will prove to the world that the black magic of the Middle Ages consisted in discoveries far in advance of twentieth-century science,” proclaimed Wilfred Voynich to The New York Times in 1916.
Mango-yellow sunlight Premium02 February 2017 | by Lynn Roberts
When Van Gogh was painting Félix Rey, the young hospital doctor who cared for him after the ear incident, he apparently declared, “there are only two colours, red and green”.
The boredom of nihilism Premium02 February 2017 | by Patrick West
Gerard Reve, who died in 2006, is considered one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors and his debut novel, The Evenings, published in 1947, is regarded as a masterpiece in his native land and continues to be taught in schools.
Power writing Premium25 January 2017 | by Denis MacShane
Is the political memoir dead? The answer is “No”, to judge from how many are published. But perhaps the market is going down. David Cameron got only a quarter of the advance that Tony Blair did for his memoirs.
There is something fascinating and repellent in equal measure about those who claim to be the reincarnation of Jesus. As a case study in both the power of charisma and the damage done by collective religious delusion, Anne Hamilton-Byrne takes some beating.
The roots of disorder Premium19 January 2017 | by Christopher Bray
What is going on? What’s happening to the world? Has everybody gone mad? As a reader of the books pages in a learned journal, no doubt you’ve likely been asking yourself some of those questions these past few years.
Parallel lives Premium19 January 2017 | by Jon M. Sweeney
Terence Ward works in documentary films and his book is written by one who thinks in screenplays. He describes heels “clicking crisply on stone-laid medieval alleys”, and light that “illuminates the dining room that faces the rippling great bay”.
Absent father Premium19 January 2017 | by Emily Holman
Imagine Me Gone begins with whiteness, melting icicles, fir trees whose colour is reviving, making them look “alive again, green and moist in the fresh light”.
It is almost impossible now to consider the political life and legacy of Clement Attlee without comparing the circumstances of the Labour Party during his 20-year tenure as its longest-ever serving leader with those of his party today.
Going for broke Premium12 January 2017 | by Kirsty Jane McCluskey
A Good Year, in outline, doesn’t sound very exciting. Seven reflections from seven Anglican bishops – four male, three female – for seven seasons of the liturgical year, from Advent to Pentecost.
Before the storm Premium12 January 2017 | by Thomas Tallon
This moving and vivid historical novel is set in Italy and London between 1928 and 1939 and cleverly interleaves the personal and the political, portraying the conflicts of loyalty produced by troubled times with great subtlety.
Peace and quiet Premium12 January 2017 | by Danny Sullivan
Thomas Merton wrote: “There is only one winner in war./The winner is war itself./ Not truth, not justice, not liberty, not morality./ These are the vanquished.”
Beyond satire Premium04 January 2017 | by Raymond Edwards
His major works don’t quite work but there are few things as good as the best of this priest-writer’s stylish vignettes and pastiches
Going far? Premium04 January 2017 | by Marcus Tanner
The great days of travel writing are surely far behind us now. What’s left to explore, beyond North Korea? TV, the internet and cheap air travel have shrunk the world.
Short sighted Premium04 January 2017 | by Gregory Wolfe
Being called a “writer’s writer” is usually the kiss of death for authors, at least in terms of sales.
Fallen from grace Premium04 January 2017 | by Laurent Mignon
In the aftermath of the failed coup of 15 July last year, there were reports in the Turkish media of the arrest of people who were burying books far from prying eyes.
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