SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Arts
September 29, 2020
Gertrude Clarke
It’s the stuff of feminist polemic: what might female painters have achieved in history if they only had had the opportunities that men did? Artemisia Gentileschi shows what one woman achieved: she was not the only notable female painter in Italy in the seventeenth century but she was valued highly in her own lifetime in
September 21, 2020
David Crystal
A word? Well, it was voted “word of the year” by the American Dialect Society in 1998, because it was becoming increasingly used in such expressions as email and e-business – “e” being short for electronic. But for most of us, e is just a letter – though in English an especially interesting one. I’m
September 18, 2020
David V Barrett
Aubrey Beardsley’s work is instantly recognisable: sweeping, sinuous black lines, sensual, mythological, with a haunting beauty all of its own. The new exhibition of his work at Tate Britain is the first there in almost a century, and the largest anywhere in 50 years. And it’s a delight to see. As well as covering his
September 11, 2020
Harry Cluff
In mid-20th-century American art, Mark Rothko’s work is the best-known example of abstract expressionism. Famous for his featureless clouds of colour, his rejection of form and his belief that abstract images can – in his friend Adolph Gottlieb’s words – “simply express complex thoughts”, Rothko is often assumed to be an individualist who broke with
August 28, 2020
Mark Pattison
'As a Christian, I joyfully agreed to provide my contribution to develop such a moving and crucial story for the big screen,' Andrea Bocelli said
August 21, 2020
Lucien de Guise
There has never been much that China has wanted from the outside world. Exotic produce from Southeast Asian rainforests used to be of interest; now it’s luxury goods from London and Paris, plus entire vineyards in Bordeaux. Foreign ideas, too, have rarely interested China. It took millennia to develop the blend of Confucianism and Taoism
August 21, 2020
David Crystal
Typo was originally a short form of typographer – that is, a printer. Its first known use is 1816, but by the end of the century it had come to have its present-day meaning: a typographical error. Of course it leaves open the question of whether an error is inadvertent or deliberate. I choose this
August 06, 2020
Konstantin von Eggert
Seventy-five, 1945, 1418 … To understand the concept of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ one needs to know the meaning of these numbers. The cathedral, an imposing edifice in the town of Odintsovo near Moscow, was consecrated in June by Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church and is now the official church
July 22, 2020
Constance Watson
It is a treasured place for fiction lovers: the house in the village of Chawton, Hampshire, where Jane Austen lived for the last eight years of her life, from 1809 to 1817, and wrote some of her best-known novels. But last month the house, now a museum, was threatened with permanent closure due to the
July 10, 2020
Edward Feser
That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation By David Bentley Hart Yale University Press, 222pp, £20/$26 Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart denies that hell is everlasting. He does not merely claim that we have grounds for hope for the salvation of all. Nor does he hold that the unsaved will be
July 10, 2020
Elizabeth Lev
I was a single mum in Rome during the heyday of The West Wing, so I come to this a couple of decades and a few elections short, but my quarantine catch-up came as a shock. One of the smartest examples of TV writing I have ever seen, The West Wing has a captivating cast
July 10, 2020
Matthew Schmitz
Perry Mason HBO/Sky Atlantic Like most shows produced by HBO, Perry Mason wants to be taken seriously as prestige drama, not mere TV. So in the early minutes of the first episode, we hear characters gratuitously using the f-word and view a dead baby with its eyelids sewn open (a sight not made any less