Relative Values

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

It took me a while to figure out what exactly this book was about. Einstein famously said (or is reputed to have said) that his biggest mistake was the inclusion in his general theory of relativity of a ‘cosmological constant’, which he came to regard as spurious. But he also made other mistakes, some arguably […]

Dedicated Followers of Fascism

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

A partnership of Beckett and Joyce might suggest an alliance between two of Ireland’s greatest writers, but in this case the individuals in question are John Beckett and William Joyce. Ejected from Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF), they together formed the National Socialist League in 1937, a farcical enterprise that, deservedly, swiftly fizzled out. […]

Saving His Soul

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The first volume of The Letters of T S Eliot – immaculately edited by his widow, and published in 1988 – closed with The Waste Land just published, and Eliot (in addition to a full-time job at Lloyds Bank) editing a newly launched quarterly magazine, The Criterion. He had been married for seven years to […]

Artistic Impressions

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

If we were to think of one universally famous name which most perfectly embodied the idea of the artist as a tormented, suffering and near-sacred being, it would almost certainly be that of Vincent van Gogh. What other member of the artistic fraternity suffered quite so famously? That other Dutchman, Rembrandt? Well, to an extent, […]

Man of Spirit

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

This is something very exciting: a complete book, hitherto unknown, from the desk drawer of the late Henry Chadwick, doyen of church historians, musician, academic grandee, and serene and generous human being. Written a quarter-century ago, it is Chadwick at the height of his powers, distilling a life’s reflection on the rise of Christianity into […]

Posted in 372 | Tagged | Comments Off on Man of Spirit

Buffy’s World

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The Queen Mother’s life was one of the longest, happiest and most successful of her time. She was not only happy herself but had the gift of making those around her happy too. She has quite captivated her official biographer, William Shawcross. He obviously enjoyed tracing her footsteps, inspecting her many homes and, above all, […]

Three Graces

Posted on by David Gelber

In 1913, when Perf Wyndham married the Honorable Diana Lister, an onlooker, observing the remarkable family assembled for the occasion, commented, ‘The Wyndham clan – all so beautiful and so well pleased with each other.’ The remark, while astutely nailing one of the feelings induced by reading about these intensely self-obsessed, largely leisured women for […]

Wit & Whiggery

Posted on by David Gelber

For Hugh Trevor-Roper the writing of a letter was part entertainment, part lecture and part therapy. He was clear that ‘if one never writes real letters one can never acquire the art of expressing one’s self, and at times it is such a relief to do so’. It was a form that allowed people to […]

Posted in 417 | Tagged | Comments Off on Wit & Whiggery

Dancing Queen

Posted on by David Gelber

One of the Indian subcontinent’s many paradoxes is that its menfolk still tend to regard the female sex as subservient to them while at the same time idolising women who refuse to play second fiddle. It explains the extraordinary hold that some women politicians have over the popular electorate, from Sonia Gandhi to Mamata Banerjee […]

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

A Mirror - Westend