Civilisation

When a gossip columnist criticised Thackeray, Dickens weighed in to savage his rival

Inconsequential and vacuous, Cathy Wilkes is the perfect representative for Britain at the Venice Biennale

The forthcoming sale of a purported Caravaggio is set to exceed £100m, but its provenance is far from clear

British arts venues want to become bastions of “inclusivity” at the expense of connoisseurship

The restoration of great works of art is increasingly being carried out in public before an admiring audience

The Booker-winning Marlon James takes on the fantasy genre with a novel sent in a phantasmagorical version of Africa

Kidnapping remains a lucrative business. Anja Shortland’s new book examines how and where it thrives

Free trade is not without costs — but those costs are outweighed by the benefits. And where costs exist, the answer to “open” is rarely “closed”

The lives of Southern Irish Protestants are almost invisible to external observers. A new book of essays sets out to reveal something of them

When a gossip columnist criticised Thackeray, Dickens weighed in to savage his rival

A Florence exhibition celebrates one of the most influential artists you’ve never heard of

Nothing written is utterly without value, as I proved to myself by reading two random works

Self-help advice might seem painfully obvious, but those who struggle with “normality” need it

Having stolen a Klimt masterpiece, the Nazis could only show it if they hid the Jewish identity of its subject

A new thriller set in late-Stalinist Soviet Union has alarmed Russian authorities

A psychologist and sex therapist wonders where E.L. James’s celebration of sadomasochism comes from and what it means for human relationships  

A pivotal moment in British movie history — and Bob Hoskins’s greatest performance

Only a few great composers are equally gifted writers: their work can be sacred or hatefully profane

The Concertgebouw’s trailblazing conductor sublimated his libido in worship of Hitler and Mussolini

Few of even the greatest writers have managed to capture the emotional, elusive, essence of music

Inspirational amateur companies are flourishing, yet damned as elitist by London’s culture czars

Can society stand by and allow the technology that allows people to simulate sex with their neighbour?

Promoting demagogues of Left and Right makes for increased ratings but is bad for democracy

Eurosceptics lacked the integrity to acknowledge the consequences of leaving the EU’s single market

Hollywood has finally washed its hands of a sexual predator, a mere 40 years after his conviction

Willy Loman is back in town, still pursuing the American dream, while Ibsen’s unhappy ghosts return too

A new production of Betrayal reminds us of the playwright’s insights into male relationships

Joshua Harmon’s new play about the struggle to get into top American universities could not be more timely

The classic Tartuffe transposed to Highgate provides a witty commentary on post-crash London