Alexander Mosaic (detail), House of the Faun, Pompeii

Like so many Alexanders

Few historical figures have left such a lasting impression on such a variety of cultures as Alexander the Great.

Good poetry in a crisis

Seamus Heaney’s poems are a valuable, moving register of individual intimacy and national pain.

On the art of metallurgy

Georgius Agricola’s De Re Metallica gives us a fascinating insight into the late medieval view of metal and its uses.

The enduring spirit of cricket

Cricket was one of the few sports that was played near-normally this summer – its modern form is a welcome emblem of global connection.

The demon of the house

The pandemic has forced us all to live more wholesome lives, but some danger still exists between the pages of the novel.

Waugh’s war

Evelyn Waugh’s humour is sparkling and amusing, but with its anti-authority jibes and social commentary it is more than just a light laugh.

Essaying a genre

The classical essay – with all its ease, polished prose, and trivial subjects – is a medium we would do well to re-capture.

Once Upon a Time in Iraq

That was once upon a time in Iraq

In the BBC’s documentary Once Upon a Time in Iraq, we are invited to not avert our eyes from the long catastrophe of Iraq and to leave grand judgments about the rights and wrongs of intervention and dictatorship to one side.

john milton

Milton vs the echo chamber

Thought centuries apart, John Milton and George Orwell offer complementary arguments for free speech and a free society.

Portrait Ettrick Shepherd

The Ettrick Shepherd stands watch

The pioneers of Enlightenment believed a new spirit of human sympathy could provide a lasting basis for political association – the Ettrick Shepherd, James Hogg, satirized that ethic in grand style.

First orders please

On Saturday, pubs re-opened in England. It was a day politicians had dubbed ‘super Saturday’, although much of the press hailed it ‘sardine Saturday’. A

Manchester street nineteenth century

Crowded out

In an era of social distancing, the city is stripped of its landscape of adventure and danger, its quality of ‘sheer life’.

Any old way you use it

What do Dolly Parton, U2, and Woodie Guthrie have in common? Respectively, each artist has had a song used on the American Presidential campaign trail:

The limits of scientism

The mantra ‘following the science’ has become a commonplace of the coronavirus vocabulary. And indeed, social distancing represents a virtually unparalleled opportunity for scientists to

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