Giddy times at Gordon Square

In this colorful book about some of the younger acquaintances of the Bloomsbury artists and writers, Nino Strachey sets out to explore the influence that these new and unorthodox figures had on the original members of the group and vice versa. Related to Lytton Strachey – and hence a member of a family who “nurtured … Read more

So it goes

In keeping with Kurt Vonnegut’s mischievous “meta” style, Unstuck in Time is a documentary about what happens in the making of one. Directed by Robert B. Weide, a fan who approached Vonnegut to film him forty years ago, but has only now got round to finishing, it weaves together Vonnegut’s comic-tragic life story with a … Read more

Why everyone is the greatest

Donnie Evil, a musician from Bozeman, Montana, was never going to sell more records worldwide than Kanye West. But in the week before Christmas 2010, Donnie beat Kanye’s sales at a local music store, Cactus Records. “My life’s goal was to outsell Kanye at something”, Donnie told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “Now I can die … Read more

To the memory of an angel

Everyone in 1930s Vienna seemed to be agreed that Manon Gropius was an angel. Her mother, Alma Mahler Werfel, said so; her father, Walter Gropius, called her an angel in his letters, as did Elias Canetti in his memoirs; to Franz Horch, Manon’s drama teacher, she was “the image of an angel”; the psychologist Martha … Read more

Riverside views

This book is about the heyday of the so-called Strand palaces: eleven great houses, now destroyed, that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries flanked the Strand. Then, as now, the Strand – from the Old English “strand”, meaning the edge of a river – ran parallel to the Thames for nearly a mile, from Temple … Read more

Not born to rule

Some years ago, in the members’ tea room, when MPs were about to vote themselves a massive pay increase to which I was vocally opposed, one of the wealthier Tories remarked to me: “What you don’t realize, Chris, is that no Tory MP can survive on an MP’s salary”. He spoke with great passion and, … Read more

The day the movies died

A decade ago, when the show Mad Men was must-watch television, the New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik proposed a theory for its success, which he called “the Golden Forty-Year Rule”: “The prime site of nostalgia is always whatever happened, or is thought to have happened, in the decade between forty and fifty years past” . … Read more

shilling rhymes

Sir Walter Ralegh (1554-1618) is often associated with audacious action and speech: as the cleric and historian Thomas Fuller put it some forty years after his death, he was “dexterous … in all his undertakings, in Court, in Camp, by Sea, by Land, with Sword, with Pen.” Fuller reports that, early in his court career, … Read more

Lindon larks

It is the holiday season. We turn once more to Everyday Play (see NB, March 25) in search of some necessarily frivolous means of entertainment. The art critic Mel Gooding is quoted here, for example, provocatively suggesting that real artists are prepared to deface, deform, destroy and generally trash books – to commit “shocking Crimes … Read more

TLC Scholarship 2022 – The Literary Consultancy

We are delighted to announce that the TLC Scholarship is returning for 2022. Through the Scholarship, TLC offers one selected writer free access to TLC’s popular 12-month Chapter and Verse Premium mentorship program with a publishing industry editor, working one-on-one to develop their writing and complete their novel. The scholarship is open to writers from … Read more