There are hundreds of ways of writing about Venice. One can be lyrical and high-flown like Ruskin; fastidious and dismissive like Gibbon; melancholy and nostalgic like Proust; ghoulish and disapproving like Dickens; sensitive and almost unbearably precise like Henry James. One can write histories or guidebooks, disquisitions on the painting or the architecture, poems, descriptive essays or novels. Watermark, however, is none of these things. It is hard to say what it is; hard, even, to be sure whether it is really about Venice at all.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
What's the worth of being zen when the icecaps are melting and populism looms? The world's leading thinkers including @ronpurser will assess the 'mindfulness' craze at the world's largest philosophy and music festival, @HTLGIFestival, this May. Learn more: http://ow.ly/STu650ywARQ
'Feminists have been caricatured so often that it’s worth recalling the many obstacles placed in the path of women campaigning for equal rights.'
@polblonde on @helenlewis's new book about difficult women throughout history.
'Too many historians sneer at our forbears; scolding them if they follow the customs of their own day ... tut-tutting if the poor things are detected having a little fun.'
From the archive, Mary Clive on medieval travellers.