Civilisation

A revival in figurative art and the changing face of portraiture

Privileged images: the photography of Jacques Henri Lartigue

A celebration of Sufi sounds in Rajasthan offers much to treasure

John Buchan was a writer with a rich hinterland—and an affection for “shockers”

“Until the 17th century, travel to and on the European continent was commonly the concern of missionaries and pilgrims. With time, it became codified, packaged; it could be visited and ticked off”

“For all that they purport to be intimate, on-the-hoof overflows of feeling and scatterings of snatched apercus, letters are usually just as artificial, laboured, and rehashed as essays, articles, or anything else that is written for public consumption”

“Half a century since their break-up, the Fab Four grimly reaped to the tiresome two, the Beatles go on. Documentaries and dramas continue to be made, interviews are bigged-up, and last year, as so often, the Beatles made the top 10”

“Some woozy sage slumped next to you catches your eye, cueing a directionless odyssey through time and space. The following morning, while drinking your coffee, you are at loss to say whether the man—it is most often a man—had really cracked some great mystery of the mind or was just five spliffs deep”

Hollywood lacks the wit and the will to convey the complexities of the secret world

Musical excellence can blunt the edge of political disputes