Diary of a Somebody

Image: Wikimedia Commons The Diaries 1918-1938 Henry Channon, edited by Simon Heffer, Penguin, London, hb, 1,002 pages, £35 KEN BELL dives into an interwar atmosphere of complacency and privilege The complete diaries of Sir Henry “Chips” Channon are now being published and the first volume will be required reading for anyone interested in the interwar…

Battles royal

The statue of King Alfred at Winchester Image: Shutterstock Eþandun Epic Poem William. G. Carpenter, Beaver’s Pond Press, 2021, 252pp LIAM GUILAR finds much to admire in an ambitious new epic of Alfred, but fears it misses the mark Eþandun ((The title, with a modernised spelling would be Ethandun. The place of the battle is…

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…

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…

Colin Wilson redux

Eagles and Earwigs: Essays on Books and Writers Colin Wilson, Eyewear Publishing, 2018, 412 pages, £16.65 GOMERY KIMBER welcomes a resurgence of interest in one of the cleverest ‘Angry Young Men’ If the novelist, philosopher and critic, Colin Wilson is remembered at all it is as one of the ‘Angry Young Men’, and for his…

A realm apart – why Brexit happened

SHUTTERSTOCK This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe Robert Tombs, Allen Lane, 224 pages, £11.22 KEN BELL praises an exceptionally historically-informed Brexit explainer The small numbers who read the Guardian will no doubt disagree, but the argument over Brexit is now as much a part of history as the Free Trade debate that…

Aeneas in tears

The Cumaean Sibyl, by Elihu Vedder, 1876 The Aeneid: A New Translation Shadi Bartsch, Profile Books Ltd., 2020, 400 pages [Book VI only for this review] Aeneid Book VI Seamus Heaney, Faber and Faber, 2016, 53 pages LESLEY SAUNDERS compares two notable translations of The Aeneid’s pivotal Book VI It feels peculiarly apt, and particularly…