The Iron Duke’s feminine side

For two centuries, gossip, rumour and legend have befogged reports of the Duke of Wellington’s relationships with women. Even his most celebrated words about one liaison are apocryphal. The claim that he returned a blackmailing letter from the courtesan Harriette Wilson (who demanded money to keep the names of eminent patrons out of her memoirs … Read more

A Genius on the Wrong Side of History: Tolstoy’s Conflicts and Contradictions

IT IS DAUNTING to write a biography of Tolstoy. Hundreds or even thousands of books have already put each detail of his life and work under a microscope, and the archives contain no more hidden treasures. Yet, new interpretations of Tolstoy’s life continue to pour in, with more expected in the run-up to the writer’s … Read more