Sir Humphry Davy Was not fond of gravy. He lived in the odium Of having discovered sodium E C Bentley published his first collection of clerihews in 1905, as Biography for Beginners, and in this he was clearly the inspiration for such other classics of amateur history interpretations as 1066 And All That, and … Continue reading E C Bentley and Trent’s Last Case
Warning: part-way through this novel about the author teaching poetry and drinking with Keats and Walt Whitman, I realised that it’s a sequel, of sorts. I’ve now got a copy of it, Maxwell’s On Poetry, but I haven’t read it yet. So I might have missed something in this review. Bear with me. Glyn … Continue reading Glyn Maxwell Drinks With Dead Poets
In this week's Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up, I re-read that bit in Louisa M Alcott's Good Wives (1869) where Jo March goes to work in New York. (I should warn any Alcott scholars looking in that I haven’t read any Alcott criticism for years.) Alcott was a great believer in work – on evangelical grounds, … Continue reading A working girl in New York: Louisa M Alcott’s Good Wives
As regular readers will recall, I bought this book on spec before Christmas from a wily book catalogue. Reading it - it is a long essay on why people hate poetry - is an unfolding sequence of stimulants, a nuggetty book about what poetry is and does, from the perspective of those who hate it. Lerner, … Continue reading When is poetry bad? Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry
I've wielded the hatchet over at Vulpes Libris, on a biography of William Wilberforce. Great subject, awful execution.
This week in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up, I plunge into Rudyard Kipling’s least read novel, The Naulahka. It was an absolute joy to read, because it was a rare treat: a novel by one of my favourite authors that I hadn’t already read, despite having been reading Kipling for about 40 years. I simply … Continue reading The Rudyard Kipling novel no-one ever remembers: The Naulahka
I love it when Jim Al-Khalili communicates science. He’s a physicist, a BBC Radio 4 presenter of science programmes (The Life Scientific is a great podcast, btw) and he’s written, among other books, a fine work on the history of medieval Arabic science. (I have no idea about his academic publications because I can’t read … Continue reading Microbes are out there: Aliens, ed. Jim Al-Khalili