essays on history, myth, ideas, books, film, music…

Black Sea letters

There are two mysteries about the Roman poet Ovid. The first one is political. After 30 years of fame in Rome as a wildly fashionable poet, Ovid, aged 50, was … Continue reading

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Saturday, 24 June, 2017 · Leave a comment

Foot of clay

Akhenaten, the Pharaoh who introduced worship of the Aten, the one god, and banished the rites of other Egyptian gods, left a revolutionary legacy that undermined the role of Pharaoh … Continue reading

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Tuesday, 20 June, 2017 · 2 Comments

Too fond a friend

In May 1593 the famous playwright Thomas Kyd was arrested in London by officials of the Privy Council, the executive government body of Queen Elizabeth. Kyd was the author of … Continue reading

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Sunday, 11 June, 2017 · 2 Comments

Famous then forgotten

I’ve been reading some of the detective novels of Freeman Wills Crofts (1879-1957), and found him almost completely unknown now other than by a brief biographical notice on Wikipedia. Throughout … Continue reading

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Thursday, 8 June, 2017 · Leave a comment

The letter and the spirit

I was watching some old episodes of Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect (thanks to a few dedicated Youtubers) and was intrigued at the reasoning of some of the panel members who … Continue reading

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Wednesday, 17 May, 2017 · Leave a comment

Margery Allingham: a review

Could Margery Allingham have achieved something unique in her writing, a contemporary novel based on the structure of the detective story? I believe so. I read Julia Jones’ biography of … Continue reading

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Sunday, 14 May, 2017 · 3 Comments

Holy books

I’d like to begin this with an acknowledgment of the role of women religious leaders, who have influenced much of the world’s population. They were powerful in many early cultures, … Continue reading

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Thursday, 20 April, 2017 · 2 Comments