Kipling’s shadow: Orwell, Rushdie and the critics

This piece follows on from my other post about Kipling here. Both first appeared as part of Norman Geras' Writer's Choice feature on his blog. If we are ever to understand and appreciate Kipling’s art, we have to discard all our preconceptions about him and his world view. It is surprising how hard many critics … Continue reading Kipling’s shadow: Orwell, Rushdie and the critics

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The Jungle Book, Kipling and me

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Norman Geras had been kind enough to invite my to contribute a post to his Normblog series, Writer's Choice. In the end, I contributed a lengthy piece about Kipling that we agreed should be split into two. I am now reposting them on my blog. The first of … Continue reading The Jungle Book, Kipling and me

North, a film by Temujin Doran

Film-maker Temujin Doran contacted me in the summer of 2010 with the intention of making a film based on The Balloonist’s Tale in my book Impossible Journeys, which recounted the failed 1897 attempt by Salomon August Andrée to reach the North Pole by hot air balloon. In the end, Doran decided to make a different … Continue reading North, a film by Temujin Doran

The Dutch Church: the dissolution and its tragic aftermath

It is convenient for historians to conceive of history in neat discrete categories, but all too often that approach both obscures continuities and suggests that events are less brutally random than they are. There are, for instance, many ways of writing about the influence of the English Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries on … Continue reading The Dutch Church: the dissolution and its tragic aftermath

Ralegh’s reputation in the 20th century

This article first appeared in the July issue of History Today. It was part of the magazine's regular 'From the Archives' feature, and is a response to an excellent 1998 essay by Robert Lawson-Peebles titled 'The Many Faces of Sir Walter Ralegh', which traced Ralegh's reputation through history. Lawson-Peebles essay can be viewed in History … Continue reading Ralegh’s reputation in the 20th century

The Hollow Crown: Q&A

After the screening of both parts of Henry IV at the BFI on July 2 – reviewed here – Sam Mendes led a Q&A with the director Sir Richard Eyre and Simon Russell Beale, who played Falstaff. Richard Eyre explained that Henry IV parts I and II were his second favourite Shakespeare plays after King … Continue reading The Hollow Crown: Q&A