Between freedom and formality

When, in 1958, Roland Barthes described Voltaire as “the last happy writer”, the accolade was surprisingly valedictory. Voltaire had customarily been acclaimed as the first, not the last, of a kind. Proud to have introduced Shakespeare to the French, he was also, it seems, the first to have written about Newton’s apple. Described as the … Read more

Glory, turmoil and freedom?

Postwar Modern opens with an unofficial announcement of the end of war: the unforgettable photograph of Lee Miller taking a bath in Hitler’s tub. On arriving in Munich, she and her fellow war photographer David Scherman had wrangled a billet in a house where the 45th Division had set up a command post. Apparently, the … Read more