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The Novel: a Biography by Michael Schmidt review a compelling yet limited survey

How has fiction changed down the ages? This ambitious study is fascinating on the great novelists but fails to capture the inner life of the formCan a history of the novel ever be written? The quantity of reading is inconceivable. I suppose people who say

The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke - David Bromwich

David Bromwich's portrait of statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is the first biography to attend to the complexity of Burke's thought as it emerges in both the major writings and private correspondence. The public and private writings cannot be easily dis

Under a Mackerel Sky - Rick Stein

Rick Stein's childhood in 1950s rural Oxfordshire and North Cornwall was idyllic. His parents were charming and gregarious, their five children much-loved and given freedom typical of the time. As he grew older, the holidays were filled with loud and live

Last Man Off review Matt Lewis's tale of survival on the high seas

This chilling account of a fishing trip that goes fatally wrong should take its place alongside The Perfect StormAs true-life tales of endurance and survival go, Matt Lewis's is one of the most dramatic in recent memory. And yet, until now, his story was

In Search of Gielgud: A Biographer's Tale by Jonathan Croall review

This account of a biographer's battles to beat his 'authorised' rival is full of illuminating insights.

The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke by David Bromwich review

Bromwich's biography From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence explores Burke's early career and uncovers a Romanticism at odds with his conservatism.

Rick Stein: 'My father was very charming to lots of people, but not to me'

Rick Stein talks to Matthew Stadlen about his rocky route to fame following his father's suicide.

Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love - James Booth

Philip Larkin was that rare thing among poets: a household name in his own lifetime. Lines such as 'Never such innocence again' and 'Sexual intercourse began / In nineteen sixty-three' made him one of the most popular poets of the last century. Larkin'

The Poets' Daughters review a meticulous double portrait

An elegantly interlocking biography of Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge shows us that greatness casts a long shadowThey might have believed that children should run "wild and free", but William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge both weighed heavily

Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love by James Booth review

A loving, loyal friend or a misogynist monster which was the real Larkin?Larkin's poems cultivate solitude, withdrawal, "the wish to be alone". His persona is that of an awkward bachelor, too fond of his own company to crave other people's, too old (eve