The Thomas revival Premium

20 October 2016 | by Bernard McGinn
The weeping and wailing that accompanied the demise of neo-Thomism in the wake of Vatican II has been succeeded by what might have seemed an unlikely development 50 years ago—the unprecedented flourishing in recent decades of the study of Thomas Aquinas and his great work, the Summa Theologiae.

Hitting boundaries Premium

20 October 2016 | by Lucy Popescu
This impressive collection of short pieces is part travelogue and part medi­tation on other, metaphysical borders the biographer and poet Nicholas Murray has experienced.

Latin grammar Premium

20 October 2016 | by Maurice Walsh
In an extract from his memoir, Interesting Times, reproduced in this wide-ranging collection of political reportage and historical essays, Eric Hobsbawm acknowledged that it was easy to become a Latin America expert in the 1960s.

The centre of the storm Premium

12 October 2016 | by SHIRLEY WILLIAMS
Not long after Leon Brittan, Home Secretary in the Thatcher Cabinet, resigned over the Westland crisis which also led to Michael Heseltine’s departure, I began to hear gossip about his brilliant young assistant, Nick Clegg. Clegg had taken up a job in Brussels as Brittan’s chief assistant in negotiating trade deals, from China to Central Asia. Brittan, vice president of the European Commission, told friends that, such were his abilities, Clegg could one day be a Conservative prime minister.

Found in translation Premium

12 October 2016 | by Ian Thomson
Charles Baudelaire, an egregious bad boy of nineteenth-century French letters, was the son of an ex-Catholic priest and accordingly enriched by a symbolism of ritual and penitence.

Lost at sea Premium

12 October 2016 | by Clarissa Burden
Captain Cook’s voyages to the Southern Ocean on the sloop HMS Resolution have been written about many times, but never quite like this. A. N. Wilson’s new novel brings together history, memoir and philosophy, a Bildungsroman of the main protagonist, and introduces ­historical characters as varied as Cook himself: Alexander Humboldt and Goethe, and Marat and Charlotte Corday.

Well connected Premium

12 October 2016 | by Richard Owen
“Italian radio inventor, 7 letters” runs a classic crossword clue. Easy enough – except that Guglielmo Marconi was in fact only half Italian. His father Giuseppe was from the spa town of Porretta Terme, near Bologna, but his mother was Annie Jameson, of the celebrated Irish whiskey dynasty, who met Giuseppe while studying bel canto at the Bologna conservatory.

The roots of misrule Premium

06 October 2016 | by Simon Scott Plummer
Readers of The Tablet may well be familiar with the voice of Roger Hardy, who for over 20 years was a Middle East analyst with the BBC World Service. Widely travelled in the region, softly spoken and thoughtful, with an acute historical understanding and a journalist’s eye and ear for telling detail, he is an outstanding commentator on a part of the world which, in Western eyes at least, has become a byword for misrule.

Collaboration horizontale Premium

06 October 2016 | by Piers Paul Read
The history of France in the 1940s was a mix of heroism, shame and moral paradox, and so a rich source for authors and historians. In 1940 the Germans invaded France and, after a short blitzkrieg, occupied Paris.

God’s candidate Premium

06 October 2016 | by Paul Donovan
For the editor of a Catholic weekly, nothing matches a conclave for drama, for intrigue and getting the adrenalin going. I’ve been fortunate enough to oversee coverage of two conclaves and Robert Harris’ fictional account revived memories of the extraordinary excitement surrounding the election of a pope.

African voices Premium

06 October 2016 | by Patricia Duffaud

Dead zone Premium

29 September 2016 | by William Keegan
The problem with the euro, and the collective of nations belonging to the “common currency” arrangements known as “the eurozone”, is that, from its inception in 1999, it lacked the network of institutions and appropriate policies that enable a common currency to work efficiently, as in the United States.

Parable reborn Premium

29 September 2016 | by Hilary Knight
Behind this book lies an insight that came to to Brian Pierce 15 years ago. He suddenly saw that Jesus, like the Prodigal Son, “was dead and is alive again” (Luke 15:24). From this arose the startling idea that one way of interpreting the much-loved parable is to imagine Jesus as the Prodigal Son.

Guarded observer Premium

29 September 2016 | by Julian Margaret Gibbs
Since leaving the secret services in 1964, John le Carré has written 22 ­novels as well as countless adaptations of his work for radio and the screen.

Sibylline spirit Premium

29 September 2016 | by Benjamin Ivry
Ninety-five-year-old American Catholic poet Marie Ponsot, inspired by Donne, Hopkins, Joyce, Beckett, and Djuna Barnes, remains to be discovered by UK readers.

It’s the biggest show on earth Premium

22 September 2016 | by A. N. Wilson
This lovable book is clearly modelled on a best-seller from the same publisher, Gombrich’s posthumous A Little History of the World. It is even given a jacket which is all but identical.

Enchanted world Premium

22 September 2016 | by James Le Fanu
A Poet, novelist and essayist, Annie Dillard is rightly famed in the United States for her heightened sensitivity to the wonders of the natural world expressed in prose of at times hallucinogenic intensity, and is long overdue for discovery here. This fabulous anthology of extracts from her writings over the past 40 years leaves the reader gasping for more.

Kept in the dark­ Premium

22 September 2016 | by Jon M. Sweeney
Honesty is different from realism. One can snap a photograph and still deceive. Most novels attempt to deceive. Donal Ryan’s seem unflinchingly truthful. And lyrical. Common speech is beautiful by his pen, as are rough, common people.

An imperfect match Premium

22 September 2016 | by Lynn Roberts
“Hymn” is a quiet and sober word, a comforting, bread-&-butter, not-very-riotous word ... so I can’t say that A.S. Byatt’s new book is a hymn to its subjects. It is much wilder, richer and more evocative – a paean of praise to the imagination of the inventor, to Venetian water and English woods, and to the beauty of meticulous and absorbing work.

Star man Premium

22 September 2016 | by Brian Morton
We keep on reading Paul Morley, even though every instinct shouts “stop!”, because behind all the self-regarding blather there is a hard core of resonant perception, and this makes him valuable. With The Age of Bowie, it takes 206 pages, which still isn’t halfway.

Badge of honour Premium

22 September 2016 | by Michael Walsh
In September 1773 some Jesuit scholastics, making their way back to the English college in Liège from the college’s holiday house, met a group of their professors travelling in the opposite direction.

Becoming Christian Premium

15 September 2016 | by Teresa Morgan
When, in the early Roman Empire, people “turned from idols to serve the living and true God”, as St Paul says, what kind of activity did they think they were engaged in? What kind of group did they think they were joining? What to most people now is the obvious answer – that they were adopting a religion and joining a religious community in the modern (Christian) sense – is the least likely.

Quite contrary Premium

15 September 2016 | by Nicholas Tucker
Children’s literature up to 1945 was mostly written for middle-class children and their parents. Stories were set during long summer holidays enjoyed in the countryside, and boarding-school settings were the norm. Tales of adventure were also on hand, as often as not celebrating ruling the Empire.

Irish Gothic Premium

15 September 2016 | by James Moran
This utterly captivating debut novel revolves around a ghost estate in Ireland: one with actual ghosts. Helen returns home from continental Europe along with her partner Paul and their 12-year-old daughter, who speaks German.

Beyond recall Premium

08 September 2016 | by Richard Scorer
Memories, argues psychologist Julia Shaw, are not always an accurate record of the past. They can be manipulated, and in some cases completely fabricated. Much of Dr Shaw’s book is an entertaining explication of the science of memory but, as she goes on to explain, false memories generated by poor interviewing techniques or in some therapeutic settings may sometimes lead to “real horrors”.

Born again? Premium

08 September 2016 | by Aidan Bellenger
What does it mean to be a Catholic today? Catholic identity in England and Wales has been transformed as much by demographics as by doctrine. Immigration and the shift of Catholicism’s geographical centre from its northern heartland to the south has had as much impact as the Second Vatican Council.

Dysfunctional family Premium

08 September 2016 | by Kathy Watson
I will start with a confession. I don’t like fiction based on fact. I find myself thinking that the writer lacks the ­imagina­tion to create an original story. I have another confession. I find fiction based on real-life grisly murders distasteful.

Fantastic voyage Premium

08 September 2016 | by Peter Marshall
The life of Kenelm Digby (1603-65) is one you simply could not make up, though Digby himself had a good go at it, composing in his youth a chivalric romance called Loose Fantasies, in which he wove autobiography and fiction together in frustratingly seamless fashion.

On the money Premium

01 September 2016 | by Christopher Bray
When he was a young student in Berlin in the late 1830s, Karl Marx fancied himself a poet. The bulk of his verse was ­standard issue, hormonal adolescent stuff: “Jenny! Do I dare avow / That in love we have exchanged our souls / That as one they throb and glow / And that through their waves one current rolls.”

Voices from before Premium

01 September 2016 | by Emma Klein
After attending the funeral in Jerusalem of one of his aunts, Jonathan Wittenberg, rabbi of the New North London Synagogue, volunteered to help clear out her flat.

Rollicking in old New York Premium

01 September 2016 | by Sue Gaisford
It is 1 December 1746, and young Richard writes to his father, the Reverend Pompilius Smith. Pompilius is safe in his English pulpit where, his miserable son assumes, he is clapping a hand to his temple as he reads, for Richard is languishing in a debtors’ gaol in New-York (sic), imprisoned for fraud.

National treasure Premium

01 September 2016 | by Hilary Davies
Peter Parker sets himself an ambitious task, an “exploration of England and Englishness” that looks at the life, context and influence of A. E. Housman’s poetry. He investigates what he describes as “an English sensibility in which literature, landscape, music and emotion all play their part”.

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