Laura Keynes

Laura Keynes

“I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music.” So wrote Charles Darwin, conceding that his mind seemed “to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts” causing “the atrophy of that part of the brain alone on which the higher tastes depend”.

Kate Cooper’s pacy tale of heroines, virgins and martyrs recounts the largely unknown role of women in shaping the early Church

George Herbert is the poet’s poet. John Drury’s biography is at times infuriatingly simplistic, but succeeds in its scholarship

Kristina Carlson’s Mr Darwin’s Gardener proves that the God debate still generates copy and sells books

Mealy-mouthed and equivocal or just shy? Two new books help us to understand the motives and beliefs of the enigmatic Pope Francis

There is a truth at the heart of his controversial comments about my antecedent which Niall Ferguson does not need to apologise for

Ian McEwan’s new novel Sweet Tooth is a brilliant exercise in deception

Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies is a dazzling exercise in literary ventriloquism, but it panders too much to modern sensibilities, painting Thomas Cromwell as a secular saint

Education does not disqualify women from having children, as Dr Lucy Worsley falsely claims; a grounding in the humanities provides the best basis for motherhood