Imaginary conversations

What famous people might have said to one another had they ever met is an intriguing speculation. Quite possibly nothing more than comments on the weather. The British radical writer and poet Walter Savage Landor published his Imaginary Conversations between 1824 and 1846, in which people who should have met, talk about the issues of … More Imaginary conversations

Shakespeare the actor

Praise for William Shakespeare’s poetry began early, when Francis Meres published his quarto Palladis Tamia, which was entered on the Stationers’ Register on 7 September 1598: “As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras: so the sweete wittie soule of Ouid liues in mellifluous & hony-tongued Shakespeare, witnes his Venus and Adonis, his … More Shakespeare the actor


There have been very many gods and goddesses in mankind’s religious history. I think myself we put too much emphasis on their names, when we should be concentrating on their functions, which are much fewer. One of the Sufi poets comments that there are 10,000 names of god, all of them wrong. One of the … More Inanna

John Street days

As one grows older one remembers more and more of earlier times. That’s what’s happening to me anyway. Here is what I remember of characters I knew at one stage of my life. Though I don’t expect anyone to be interested, it is satisfying to recall: keeps my inner librarian quiet. Most people could give … More John Street days

Value judgments

Martin Palmer, in his book Dancing to Armageddon (HarperCollins London 1992), put forward the idea that we are motivated in our attitudes and actions by what he calls stories, or myths, rather than by facts. These stories make up what we call our reality. We accept them uncritically while growing up, Palmer says, which gives … More Value judgments

Giant steps for mankind

I came across the theories of archaeologist Juris Zarins on the Biblical Garden of Eden recently, and was interested to find a coherent historical account, instead of the moral tale of how sin was introduced into the world that is contained in the book of Genesis. I have nothing against moral instruction, but enjoy reading … More Giant steps for mankind