Reading matters

I’m a great admirer of Somerset Maugham, though I’ve only read his short stories and Of Human Bondage. I’m reading the stories now for the second time and find them even better than I remembered. I picked up another title by Maugham, called Books and You. Maugham here sets out to define one of the … More Reading matters

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Politically correct?

‘Politically correct’ is one of those phrases used in different ways for different purposes, and so potentially meaningless. I find it sinister. I file it with ‘euphemism’, ‘censorship’ and ‘hypocrisy’ in my lexicon. Ignore its use in school or academic circles, where it has no effect on students but makes teachers feel happy and useful. … More Politically correct?

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Confusion over Kennedy

The recent release of up-to-now-classified-secret files held by the FBI and CIA on the murder of US President John Kennedy 22 November 1963 (or just a few of them as it turned out) has sparked renewed interest in the unsolved crime. What is remarkable is the confusion still typical of that interest. Poor John Fitzgerald … More Confusion over Kennedy

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The Kennedy murder again

UPDATE 26 OCTOBER: Some documents in the JFK murder case have been kept secret by President Trump at the request of the CIA, on grounds of “national security”, 54 years after the murder. Most of the material is now available for scrutiny, but the documents in question need to be “assessed”. Americans are kept very … More The Kennedy murder again

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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 exiled to Tomis in present day Romania, a port on the western shore of the Black Sea, spent his last 10 years there, and died … More Black Sea letters

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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 and led to the end of his dynasty. Akhenaten and his chief wife Nefertiti. These portraits might be in a naturalistic style, and the two … More Foot of clay

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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 The Spanish Tragedy, a revenge play of European wide fame and influence and he had also written versions of King Lear and of Hamlet, both … More Too fond a friend

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