Critique

All Edgar Speyer’s good works could not save him amid the hysteria of the First World War

Cocteau’s poetic protégé was a louche literary wunderkind the world lost too soon

Berlin’s vast correspondence is a true monument to European, Jewish and liberal civilisation

“English writers have fallen out of love with marriage, and I shared their scepticism — until now.”

The letters of the great writer reveal affairs with both sexes but also an intense intellectual and spiritual life

Beethoven set the bar impossibly high but composers like myself still regard it as the ultimate challenge

Leonardo is seen as the presiding genius of his age, but his drawings reveal a reassuringly human artist

Commercial art forms may yet save the Western tradition from its propensity to self-destruction

Composers who try to create culture in a vacuum will struggle to be heard by a hostile public

A new biography of the American novelist presents a comic genius who never claimed to be exemplary