Essays

Essays

Jan 27th 2015

We gaze at the night sky and see the comforting order of constellations in the random distribution of stars. We look up and discern shapes of animals in the wispy condensation of clouds.

Jan 26th 2015

DAVOS – What would happen if the ancient Greek philosopher Plato partook in contemporary dialogues about the types of questions that he first posed, and that continue to vex us?

Jan 26th 2015
On January 29 1945 Victor Klemperer, a Jewish academic in Dresden, recorded in his diary being told by a friend about a speech on the radio given by the émigré writer
Jan 23rd 2015
It was 1930. Winston Churchill was a 55-year-old Conservative Party politician who had been a member of parliament for three decades. He had eventually risen to the position of chancellor of the exchequer six years earlier but, in the peace and prosperity of the 1920s, had done a terrible job.
Jan 22nd 2015

I remember that a friend of mine in California sent me a heads-up on the 17th of December saying that the USA and Cuba were about to free some of their prisoners in a gesture of better times to come. But as everyone now knows, it wasn't just a mere prisoner exchange.

Jan 22nd 2015

For those who enjoy debunking the reputations of national heroes, there can be few softer targets than Winston Churchill. The phrase “flawed hero” could almost have been invented to characterise his long, wilfully erratic career.
Jan 17th 2015

The American philosopher Richard Rorty once wrote that academe's obsession with theory creates a 'shibboleth' in the university system, sheltering and confining its debates and polemics from the public sphere.

Jan 15th 2015
This year the UK’s biggest poetry award, the TS Eliot prize, has gone to David Harsent for his 11th collection, Fire Songs.
Jan 7th 2015

Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright has just published a thrilling, compulsively readable account of the 1978 Camp David accords titled Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David.  

Jan 7th 2015
Marcus Aurelius (121-180CE) was emperor of Rome at the height of its influence and power. One can only imagine the pressures that a person in his position might have experienced. The military might of the empire was massive, and much could happen in the fog of war.
Jan 5th 2015

Periodically we hear the anguished voices of sensitive aesthetes lamenting the deplorable and degraded state of contemporary art.

Jan 1st 2015

As the end of the year approaches, we reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the one ahead, celebrating the transition between old and new.

Dec 31st 2014

What do James Taylor and The Beatles have in common with the Head of the National Institute of Health?

Dec 30th 2014

Our poor old world lurches from crisis to crisis:

Ebola.  Ferguson. Syria. ISIS.

So New Year’s most welcome.  Let’s start again

With peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

Dec 26th 2014
I am a member of the Lotos Club in Manhattan, a literary club celebrated for having Mark Twain as its most famous member. Apparently, he had spent many happy hours with fellow members there in his declining years.
Dec 24th 2014

Do we need religion in order to be moral?
Dec 22nd 2014

Rudy Giuliani is blaming President Obama for the murder of two NYPD officers.

Dec 21st 2014

The holiday season is always a good time to take stock of the year just past and see what we might anticipate in the 12 months to come. In the case of Pope Francis, it is fair to say that a great deal went well.

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