Portraits

The Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal

Bohumil Hrabal — king of palaverers

The Czech writer, whose lively and rambunctious fiction sees his characters veer between lunacy and frivolity; pleasure and pain, lived a complex life, laying bare his own suffering in his prose.

chiang ching kuo

Chiang Ching-kuo — dictator or democrat?

To Chiang’s backers, he was a well-intentioned autocrat who put in place the foundations for Taiwan’s democratic transition; to his critics he was a sometimes brutal dictator who acted as he did out of necessity to ensure the survival of his party and its hold on power.

German Chancellor Gustav Stresemann

Gustav Stresemann: The man who almost saved the world

Stresemann guided the Weimar Republic through its post-war crisis with agility and tenacity. The question of whether he might have been able to do the same following the Wall Street Crash and the ensuing chaos remains bitterly alluring.

Statue of Pittacus

Pittacus – the good tyrant

After unpromising beginnings and innumerable controversies, Pittacus, seventh-century ruler of Mytilene on Lesbos, should be remembered as one of the great leaders of his age.

Priaulx Rainier

Priaulx Rainier: Fearless and pioneering composer

This astonishingly inventive, often radical, composer and musician, Priaulx Rainier, whose influence, imagination, and friendship were cherished by her artistic contemporaries – Barbara Hepworth and Michael Tippett among them – deserves to be better remembered.

Raïssa Maritain: more than a mystic

Driven by a desire for intellectual and spiritual truth, Raïssa Maritain’s writings search for peace and justice – but are sadly forgotten in our own time.

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