Civilisation

‘It has been said that Louis XIV invented France and Napoleon made it. Like Napoleon 150 years later, Louis found a country in turmoil and determined to turn it into a functional, modern state’

‘If Jacob Rees-Mogg is indeed a principled arch-eurosceptic, why did he vote both for and against Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal? If he is so politically acute, why did his attempt to assassinate the previous party leader fail so miserably?’

‘If Susan Sontag had been a man, if she hadn’t had such a pungent, fascinating character, if she hadn’t had a nonstandard sexuality, would her works get her a biography as big as this one? Does she merit it?’

‘Margaret Thatcher was a leader they had never wholly accepted; a radical, an outsider, a loner’

Why modernise old plays when their message is already topical?

Questioning the status of history’s ‘most dangerous’ spy

Thomas Grant’s “Court Number One” reveals the changing values of the society which the criminal justice system ultimately exists to enforce

‘An ominous development in the “unsettling” of Europe is the increasing restriction on what may be said about migration, and the increasingly strict policing of language’

Louis de Funès may be France’s most beloved actor. The choice tells us a lot about those who love him

State of the nation plays like 1980s-set Hansard now have to compete with extraordinary real life drama