Critique

‘Perhaps tying works of art to their originating topography is vulgar and needs to be kept discreet. But history needs Nabokov. During the artistically formative years, he lived here in the 1920s and 1930s, he peerlessly described how Berlin’s 300,000 Russian émigrés endured life after the Bolshevik Revolution.’

‘”You can’t write a novel,” she said. But, at last, I have’ – Craig Raine details the lengthy birth pains of his fiction debut

Hugh Trevor Roper was the greatest historical stylist of the 20th century. Yet he never produced a masterpiece to rival that of his great hero and predecessor, Edward Gibbon

Allan Massie salutes Sir Walter Scott, master of historical fiction and author of among others, Rob Roy and Waverley

Britain’s most distinguished literary critic, who turned 90 last year, has many achievements to be proud of. But does the indefatigable grand old man of EngLit ever regret his role in promoting Deconstructivism, thereby unleashing a tide that he couldn’t stem?

As anti-Thatcher literature blossomed in the 1980s, it was tempting to argue that the Right had won the economic war and the Left had won the cultural war. But the real victors of the past 30 years are blaring populists, ignorant and proud of it. 

Thomas Hardy and T.S. Eliot are the two greatest 20th-century poets in the English language, despite what they may have thought of one another. It is remarkable that the readers of Hardy’s fiction remain unaware that his poems are far more affecting than any of his novels

The plays of Friedrich Schiller can guide us, or offer a guide to self-guidance, so that we may preserve our freedoms in the face of conflicting moral imperatives

We in the Western World have moved on from Christianity to worship the pagan gods of power, money, sex and fame

Dr Johnson, the greatest writer of critical prose in the English language, was able to impart to his readers both human nature in general, and the character of Englishness in particular