Archive for 2020

In defence of permanent institutions

February 14, 2020 1 Comment
In defence of permanent institutions

It’s a truism to say that the destruction of trust is at the heart of societal decline.  We’ve known for a long time that politicians come bottom, or close of bottom, in league tables of professions in whom the public has confidence.  It’s no surprise to find that, since the financial meltdown of 2008, bankers […]

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Llangeitho mewn lluniau

February 7, 2020 0 Comments
Llangeitho mewn lluniau

Digwydd bod yn Llangeitho y dydd o’r blaen, ac yn y pentrefan gerllaw, Capel Betws Lleucu.  Pentref digon tawel yw Llangeitho heddiw, ac fe welais neb bron ar y strydoedd.  Ond ganrif a hanner yn ôl roedd pethau’n wahanol: llawer mwy o bobl yn byw a gweithio yn yr ardal, llawer mwy o Gymraeg i’w […]

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Down the rabbit hole: an early example from Gower

January 31, 2020 0 Comments
Down the rabbit hole: an early example from Gower

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland – in Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript it was entitled Alice’s adventures under ground – is probably the best-known of all tales about a child passing through a hole or tunnel in the ground to reach another world populated by strange, small creatures.  It’s a common motif in fairy stories around the […]

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Lucian Freud and Celia Paul

January 25, 2020 0 Comments
Lucian Freud and Celia Paul

Lucian Freud isn’t one of those big artists whose star quickly fades after death.  To judge by a visit to the Royal Academy exhibition of his self-portraits (it finishes tomorrow), his work still attracts plenty of public interest. The paintings were arranged chronologically, so you could follow easily the track of Freud’s development, and how […]

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A fruit bat, displayed

January 18, 2020 0 Comments
A fruit bat, displayed

This is one of those important, but well-concealed exhibitions that attracts large numbers of visitors mainly by word of mouth.  When I was there, in the cramped basement of the Wallace Collection last weekend, I was surprised to be sharing the space with many others.  Most of them seemed as smitten as I was by […]

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At Strata Florida: Gerald’s vision of male beauty

January 10, 2020 0 Comments
At Strata Florida: Gerald’s vision of male beauty

I’ve been reading the account written by Gerald of Wales of the tour he made, on horseback and on foot, around the perimeter of Wales in the year 1188.  The manuscript – there are actually three versions – is usually called the Itinerary through Wales, and it’s the earliest account of a long journey in […]

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Writing as self-torture

January 3, 2020 0 Comments
Writing as self-torture

In Prague Franz Kafka, then 28 years old, wrote this paragraph in his diary on 12 October 1911: Yesterday at Max’s [Max Brod, K’s close friend] wrote in the Paris diary [K visited Paris in September 1911].  In the half-darkness of Rittergasse, in her autumn outfit, fat, warm R. whom we have known only in […]

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