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

Looking ahead

‘Seeing is believing’, we used to say, and,  ‘the camera cannot lie’. Afterwards we became suspicious: Hollywood’s special effects, and Photoshop, made us doubt what we saw. In the 1930s … Continue reading

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Friday, 10 March, 2017 · Leave a comment

Persian fact and fiction

I’ve been fascinated by ancient history ever since schooldays, when Brother Chrysostom, my science teacher, once moonlighted as an ancient history teacher and blew me away with a thrilling account … Continue reading

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Sunday, 26 February, 2017 · Leave a comment

Dashiell Hammett’s 5 novels

I first read the books of Dashiell Hammett after reading Raymond Chandler. Chandler’s essay The Simple Art of Murder, and some of his letters, give Hammett his due as one … Continue reading

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Saturday, 7 January, 2017 · 4 Comments

The magus and his spell

John Fowles (1926-2005) was an English novelist fortunate enough to sell the screen rights of his first three novels: The Collector (book 1963, film 1965); The Magus (book 1966 and … Continue reading

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Thursday, 24 November, 2016 · 3 Comments

Henry Lawson: Past Carin’

Henry Lawson (1867-1922),  poet, story writer and journalist, is associated in most people’s minds with the Australian outback, the bush, the Never-Never. He wrote about swaggies, drovers, shearers, and small … Continue reading

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Thursday, 10 November, 2016 · Leave a comment

Biography: PG Wodehouse

I’ve just finished reading Frances Donaldson’s biography of PG Wodehouse (Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1980, Andre Deutsch 2014). It was the second time I had read it, and I felt again … Continue reading

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Monday, 12 September, 2016 · Leave a comment

Stock Characters

In a documentary on PG Wodehouse i watched recently, a reporter asked a friend of the family where Wodehouse’s characters came from; he was nonplussed by the response that they were … Continue reading

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Thursday, 1 September, 2016 · 2 Comments