Issue: December 2009

Conversation Stopper

Zoffany, 'the one-eyed German', was one of many masters of a very British sub-genre

The Messiah’s Latest Coming

Will Handel's most famous oratorio work on the stage?

Revolutionary Rediscovered

The BBC has created an admirable series about a pioneering barrister — Garrow's Law

Is Angst Adolescent?

Simon McBurney and Complicité have created a memorable production of Beckett's Endgame

Getting Even

The liberals don't like them, but films about vigilantism — like Law Abiding Citizen — are a huge success

Heroes of Hope

‘We, the victors of the Cold War, the liberators of the evil empire, could never have accomplished our bloodless triumph without a good measure of idealism’

Eliot versus Hardy

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

University Challenged

Our Mole wonders whether it was worth the effort to embark on a life in academia

This is England

‘England is perceived by my Continental friends as being a country that is all about belonging or not belonging’

Moscow’s Middle Ground

‘Turning Russia around to support sanctions against Iran would be a great achievement. But will it happen?’

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"