I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

James Ward

All Boys Together

After uttering a choice remark, Dr Johnson would look around the room to check that his audience was sufficiently appreciative. He once woke up sweating from a dream where someone had bested him, but was soon relieved to find the contest had been between two versions of himself.

Glorious Luminary

A new study provides impressively wide-ranging commentary on William Blake’s sources, influences, and working methods, as well as his cultural afterlives. Blake was not just an eccentric but a genius and visionary who was repeatedly debilitated by paranoia and depression.

This Life a Long Disease

Some recent writers have strongly emphasised the morbidity of Jonathan Swift’s temper, but a new biography restores some balance, putting the Dean’s apparent savagery into the context of his century and equally emphasising his huge gifts and the glamour and intrigue of parts of his life.