Spirits of the Jazz Age – the Spiritualist craze of the Twenties

CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD evokes an age of desperate belief On 7 September 1919, the 60-year-old Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, GP, lecturer, seafarer, sportsman, indefatigable social campaigner – and globally-renowned author of the Sherlock Holmes tales – shared the platform of a Spiritualist rally at the seafront Grand Hotel in Portsmouth with a 38-year-old medium named Evan…

The decadence and darkness of Symbolism

Caresses, by Fernand Khnopff Decadence and Dark Dreams: Belgian Symbolism Ralph Geis (ed.), Hirmer, 2020, hardback, 336pp, fully illus., €45/£42/$50 ALEXANDER ADAMS immerses himself in disquiet and dreamscapes Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie exhibition of Belgian Symbolists, Decadence and Dark Dreams: Belgian Symbolism, closed last month. As few were able to attend, for obvious reasons, this article…

Of course a man can imagine what it’s like to be a woman!

GUY WALKER says we must be allowed to imagine opposites Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Dr. Lydgate, Edward Casaubon, Will Ladislaw, and Daniel Deronda are excellent examples of well-rounded and believable male literary inventions, with a variety of qualities of character. Portia, Beatrice, Miranda, and Viola are excellent examples of brave, intelligent, and virtuous women, while…

Brexit blindness

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain Fintan O’Toole, Head of Zeus, 2019 Three Years in Hell: The Brexit Chronicles Fintan O’Toole, Head of Zeus, 2020 KEN BELL says a prominent Remainer still doesn’t comprehend Brexit I have just finished reading Heroic Failure and Three Years In Hell, both by Fintan O’Toole, which is…

The rights of the human heart: essays by Camus

via Wikimedia Commons Personal Writings Albert Camus, Penguin, 2020, 224 pages, £7.07 Committed Writings Albert Camus, Penguin, 2020, 160 pages, £7.21 ALEXANDER ADAMS revisits the rich oeuvre of one of 20th century France’s finest thinkers Albert Camus (1913-1960) confessed that he had one wellspring of inspiration: his Algerian childhood. His silent unlettered mother, his absent…

American piety: meet the new Boss

SHUTTERSTOCK MARK GULLICK sees wrinkles on the Free World's senior stuffed-shirt “I confess that in America I saw more than America; I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or to hope from its progress” ((Alexander de…