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Kathryn Hughes

Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake review

A vain and unpleasant man - but what pictures! Daniel Sutherland is dazzled by Whistler's work, and takes the artist at his own estimation It is one of the great unfairnesses in life that bad people sometimes produce great art. That is certainly true of J

Censoring Queen Victoria review - how two men created an icon

Yvonne M Ward shows how a royal reputation was tidied up for posterity - no more sex drive and rude comments about foreigners Read a review of Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun Almost before Queen Victoria drew her last breath on 22 January 1901, th

Dreams of the Good Life by Richard Mabey - review

The real Lark Rise to Candleford: Flora Thompson didn't write it as a pastoral Arcadia - more a history of rural England's undoing Towards the end of this terrific book, Richard Mabey points out how odd it is that no one knows whether Flora Thompson wa

The Bloomsbury Group Memoir Club by SP Rosenbaum and James M Haule - review

How a writing group - and some shocking recollections - influenced classic novels Given that we live in an age of memoir, both silly and profound, it seems extraordinary that no one has written a book about the Memoir Club before now. The club was set up

The True History of Merlin

Kathryn Hughes uncovers the extraordinary textual forgery behind the story of the legendary wizard It turns out that Merlin isn't real. He is, in fact, a big fat hoax, made up by a writer who had run out of things to say and was getting desperate. "Geoff

High Minds: The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain by Simon Heffer - review

Told through the biographies of eminent Victorians, this history is overearnest, schoolmasterly and limited There is something very Victorian about Simon Heffer 's book on the Victorians. At nearly 900 pages it exudes a can-do confidence about its mamm

Southern discomfort: artist Kara Walker continues to shock and awe

On the opening of her first UK show, celebrated American artist Kara Walker talks about why her controversial work challenges racism, not - as critics claim - upholds it.

Victoria's Madmen by Clive Bloom - review

Crafters, Chartists and spiritualists are brought together in this account of radical protest and reform in the 19th century "Victoria's Madmen" is a misleading title, since virtually no one in Clive Bloom's book appears to be suffering from a serious me

The Society of Timid Souls by Polly Morland - review

In an age of so many real and imagined terrors, can we learn to be brave? In 1999, documentary maker Polly Morland bought some unfeasibly big pants from M&S in readiness for a trip to Kosovo. She would be shooting a sequence that involved the excavation

LS Lowry: from table mats to the Tate

At last the painter of the industrial landscape is being given the recognition he deserves, says Kathryn Hughes.