Hugh Gordon Porteus was a minor but engaging figure in London’s pre-war bohemia 

James Stourton’s biography of Kenneth Clark offers insights into a life riddled with paradox

The colourful life of Steven Runciman: historian, scholar-diplomat, and possibly spy

Elizabeth Jane Howard showed deep emotional insights as a writer, but could not apply them to her own life

Mme de Staël’s works are once again being read, but she deserves to be remembered as a realist as well as a fabulist

David Astor was the man who made the Observer the most popular Sunday paper of its time

Paula Bartley’s biography of Queen Victoria, based on the monarch’s letters and journals, brings out surprising contradictions

A new biography of Eamon de Valera, one of the most important and mysterious figures in Irish history

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