Tag: literature

The parliament of invisible people

You see them sometimes, late at night, cleaning offices for people they never meet; or unloading vans from empty bus lanes in the small hours. Mostly, though, we don’t see them, even on the other side of a counter, or a phone… Read More

I believe in doubt, part two

I do not believe in Belief. But this is an age of faith, where one is surrounded by so many militant creeds that in self-defence, one has to formulate a creed of one’s own. Tolerance, good temper, and sympathy are no longer… Read More

The Pinning Stones

Portraits from The Pinning Stones by Ray Smith On Thursday, the residents of Scotland decide whether to leave the United Kingdom and establish their own state. Whatever your view of the possible outcomes, we should be thankful that negotiations are not being conducted with arms… Read More

What life entails

‘The next generation don’t want old books – they don’t seem to want books at all. This is very painful to me.’ Linda Grant Great expectations Miss Havisham and Magwitch each have great expectations. From opposite ends of the social spectrum, they… Read More

Whose line is it, anyway?

One lovely evening this summer, I stood waiting in the lobby of the Market Theatre in the Herefordshire town of Ledbury. The sunshine spilling through the windows was starting to get uncomfortably warm, but no one seemed to mind. The space was… Read More

Cui bloody bono?

The speech of women There is a paradox, acknowledged by the speaker herself, in a woman giving a lecture about how the female voice has been excluded from public discourse since the origins of Western culture. Mary Beard’s lecture, given at the… Read More

A small boat on a dark sea

Text of a talk for the Greek EU Presidency conference, “Heritage First! Towards a common approach for a sustainable Europe” • ‘Two gross of broken statues’ In August this year, Europeans will mark the centenary of the start of the First World War,… Read More

An artist out of time

I was driving home through the Scottish Borders—like Debatable Lands everywhere, this lovely region is used to strangers—when I passed a sign to Abbotsford. I’d seen images of Sir Walter Scott‘s home that had given me the impression of a vast faux-baronial… Read More

Regular Marvels, in Theory (RMT)

Originally posted on Regular Marvels:
One reason for creating Regular Marvels is to look for better ways of writing about people’s experience of art and culture. That experience is important and endlessly interesting to me, but any understanding of it, indeed the experience…

Artful integrity: on Alistair Cooke

In August 1983, New York experienced a heat wave of unusual ferocity. One evening, in his 15th floor apartment overlooking Central Park, the BBC’s correspondent, Alistair Cooke, sought to divert himself with a video. He was disappointed to find the screen displaying… Read More