Literary Essays

Literary Essays

Sep 13th 2016

It is 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl – considered by many to be the world’s number one storyteller. His books have received enthusiastic responses from millions of children all around the world.

Mar 5th 2016

Language pedants who take pleasure in policing other people’s use of grammar often have an air of respectability about them, but it’s usually a sheen hiding something more pernicio

Oct 23rd 2015
NEW YORK – It was 1985, and change was in the air in the Soviet Union. Aging general secretaries were dropping like flies.
Sep 25th 2015

How many novels can truly be called epoch-defining?

Sep 18th 2015

"Rare words, those that go beyond the 3,000 most common ones, are 10 times more likely to show up in dinner conversation than in storybooks."
Sep 6th 2015

Lore Segal, author of Shakespeare’s Kitchen, Her First American and Other People’s Houses, talked with Mary L.

Aug 20th 2015

One of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival is undoubtedly a new production of Paul Bright

Aug 13th 2015

T.S. Eliot reflected that if there was one word that could be associated with classic works of art, it was maturity. He compared Shakespeare's creative life cycle to that of an exact contemporary:

Aug 10th 2015

Showing my class of children’s literature students around the child’s section of a large bookshop recently, the kindly bookseller showed us where they displayed the classics.

Jul 28th 2015


Jul 24th 2015

The unhappy life of the classical pianist is rarely featured in modern novels.  I’ve always found this odd. The inherent drama of a career soloist should be raw meat for the writer.

Jul 23rd 2015

It’s a rare medical man who can shift from his world of arcane jargon to a vigorous, earthy style suited to non-fiction novels. Once in a while, a Chekhov or a Somerset Maugham comes along to make an exception and prove the rule.

Jul 23rd 2015

We are a society which, as a rule, prefers good order to bad, desires sensible laws to prevail over anarchy and proposes for all just the right amount of liberality to allow us to feel free without the inconvenience of actually being so.

Jul 23rd 2015

Have we ever known him? The Will of Rosalind and Kate, Puck, Hal, Macbeth and Beatrice? And, if not really knowing Will, are these people who came mewling, laughing, raging or loving to the stage also strangers to us?

Jul 23rd 2015

Bernard Shaw once observed that a biography tells more about the biographer than the subject.

Jul 23rd 2015

Any person who has reached a reasonable age will probably have endured that unpleasant feeling, on waking after a satisfactory night of too much alcohol and an abundance of spirited conversation, of feeling embarrassed at things they remember saying and anxiety about w

Jul 23rd 2015
I'm going to indulge myself. I'm going to forsake topics that tend towards the weighty or serious. For today I learned that Peter O'Toole has retired from acting.

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