SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Harry Mount

June 06, 2020
“Gripping” and “delicious”: Harry Mount reviews The Blue Guide’s latest offerings for Chapter House. Ever since 1918, Blue Guides have been the best guides to European cities. No other guide has the sheer quantity of facts. For people who want to know why a building is where it is, who built it, when and in what style,
March 01, 2021
Hidden gems: An intriguing guide to a neglected corner of London
September 24, 2020
An Elephant in Rome: Bernini, The Pope and The Making of the Eternal City By Loyd Grossman Pallas Athene, £19.99 Loyd Grossman, presenter of Through the Keyhole and Master-Chef, writing about Bernini, the 17th-century baroque magician who could turn stone into flesh? Surely that’s like listening to Simon Cowell on Tiepolo? Well, no. Dr Grossman,
July 02, 2020
Bored, bored, bored … That’s been my coronavirus experience. Luckily, I’ve avoided the plague. But I’ve been thrown on my own inner resources – and found them woefully inadequate. I’ve tiled the tiny floor of my boiler cupboard – badly. I’ve framed two pictures – badly – and hung them in my flat. I’ve read
March 12, 2020
Before the journalist and former Private Eye editor Christopher Booker died last year, aged 81, he’d just finished a book, Groupthink: A Study in Self-Delusion, published this week.  Under that catch-all heading of Groupthink, Booker nimbly skewers the malaise of the modern age: how an “in-group” polices society with its new form of puritanism, coming down hard on
January 16, 2020
Last Wednesday, at 9pm, I had a splendid choice of murder programmes to watch. There was White House Farm, about the 1985 Jeremy Bamber murders (I’m convinced he did it) on ITV. There was a new series of Silent Witness on BBC One. And, on BBC Two, there was The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming, about
January 02, 2020
How to Think about God By Marcus Tullius Cicero, translated by Philip Freeman Princeton, 151pp, £13.99/$16.95 This handy little book could just have well been called “How to Think about God – just before Jesus Turned Up”. It is a translation (with Latin on the lefthand page, as in a Loeb) of Cicero’s works On
December 19, 2019
What should you wear at Christmas parties? And how should you look presentable without looking vain? I stumbled upon the answer at the inaugural Idler of the Year Awards, recently held by the Idler magazine in Pushkin House, a charming, 18th-century building in Bloomsbury. The Idler celebrates not so much lethargy as the need to
November 21, 2019
Long Live Latin by Nicola Gardini, Profile, 256pp, £14.99/$26 Is Latin still alive? Yes, there are some intellectuals like Benedict XVI who can speak Latin. He gave his resignation statement in Latin in 2013 – mirabile dictu! The Vatican now has a marvellous news programme in Latin, too. But these are some of the last
November 14, 2019
A new all-women’s club, AllBright, is doing fantastically well in its branches in Mayfair and Fitzrovia. So well, in fact, that it’s opened a branch in Los Angeles and is opening two more in New York and Washington, DC. Why do people join clubs? I speak as a member of the Beefsteak Club and the
September 05, 2019
“Of course, no one ever actually spoke Latin,” a particularly stupid – and incompetent – Latin teacher once told a friend of mine. The teacher had been so perplexed by the difficulties of Latin – particularly the ablative absolute and the difference between the gerund and the gerundive – that he thought the language had
August 01, 2019
This weekend, I nearly died of embarrassment – literally. I was making my way down to Bullslaughter Bay, a remote Pembrokeshire beach, with my father, sister and niece. As we scrambled down the path, we saw an elderly man sitting on a rock, staring out to sea – completely naked. He didn’t hear our approach.
June 20, 2019
What a pleasure it is to listen to the Vatican news in Latin – or Hebdomada Papae, notitiae vaticanae latine redditae, to give the broadcast its wonderfully unwieldy, proper name. Last week, the first edition was aired. The announcer, Massimiliano Menichetti, speaks Latin beautifully. His Latin is well enunciated – you can hear every word.