Civilisation

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

A revival in figurative art and the changing face of portraiture

Privileged images: the photography of Jacques Henri Lartigue

How Jan van Eyck changed the trajectory of Western art

Based on the impulse to look at everything afresh, Modernist photography could not help but deliver a jumble of perspectives, on both sides of the Atlantic

“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”

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

A book by Coleridge published in 1830 offers useful advice for perplexed Anglicans today

Fans of George Eliot are celebrating her bicentenary

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

Having stolen a Klimt masterpiece, the Nazis could only show it if they hid the Jewish identity of its subject

A new thriller set in late-Stalinist Soviet Union has alarmed Russian authorities

A psychologist and sex therapist wonders where E.L. James’s celebration of sadomasochism comes from and what it means for human relationships  

A celebration of Sufi sounds in Rajasthan offers much to treasure

Musical excellence can blunt the edge of political disputes

Is music expressing or evoking emotion?

Before his journey into atonality, Schoenberg composed the surprisingly accessible “Verklärte Nacht”

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

A film about the the Holodomor’s exposure should prompt debate on the famine-denialist Walter Duranty

Jewish boys who survived the Holocaust recall their time in a charmed Italian villa

Anti-Christian bile may be inventive, but it stems from dangerous misunderstandings

Hard times on stage—and off it

Tom Stoppard’s roots and Caryl Churchill’s dystopia

The National finds a niche in staging literary adaptations while Shakespeare returns to school in the Donmar’s Teenage Dick

Two dramas of gender tension are re-explored for the era of #metoo by the RSC