News

Neil MacGregor on living with gods

THE modern human is by turns intrigued, bewildered, horrified and enraptured by religion. In a world where many people look to science to decipher the universe, there is something fascinating, and a bit frightening, about spiritual systems and codes which have commanded passionate loyalty among millions of people for millennia, …

Read More
News

The importance of proper and improper English

“LET’S talk properly.” Tom Sherrington had little reason to think that his blog post, so titled, would cause controversy. A British consultant and former head teacher, he had called on educators to work harder at getting their students to stop saying things like “We done lots of great activities” and …

Read More
News

The making of the “Psycho” shower scene

THERE have been plenty of feature-length documentaries about the making of classic films, but “78/52” may be the first to focus on one classic scene. It could be the last, too—not because it isn’t bubbling with insights and information, but because there are so few scenes which merit such a …

Read More
News

Rupi Kaur reinvents poetry for the social media generation

RUPI KAUR made her name on Instagram by attacking Instagram, a fitting ascent for the provocative 24-year-old poet who releases her short verses onto the slippery, reactive sphere of social media. In 2015, she uploaded a picture of herself lying in bed on sheets stained with menstrual blood. The post …

Read More
News

Who can fill the role of Tom Lehrer today?

IT FEELS quaint now: a man with tidy hair and an elegant suit sits at a piano, his thick glasses sticking to his nose. He makes a few quips, and the audience titters politely. Then the man begins to sing. Flowers in his voice, he tells the story of a …

Read More
News

A visual history of Benin City returns home

LAST month an extraordinary collection of photographs returned to Nigeria. Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge took pictures of the people of Benin City for over half a century, amassing an archive of more than 3,000 images. Spanning British rule and the early decades of independence, it is a visual record of …

Read More
News

The evolution of the ghost

The Ghost: A Cultural History. By Susan Owens.Tate Publishing; 288 pages; £19.99 and $29.95. KINGS, queens, horses, dogs, crows. A “whirling heap of hay”. A wronged lover, an old friend, a stillborn child, an atmospheric light. As Susan Owens highlights in her new cultural history of ghosts, phantasms and spirits have …

Read More
News

The Israelis and Palestinians are still haunted by their history

Enemies and Neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017. By Ian Black.Atlantic Monthly Press; 608 pages; $30. Allen Lane; £25.  IN THE roster of new states established in the past century, the creation of Israel has been extraordinary. It is one of the Middle East’s rare functioning democracies, with …

Read More
News

“Stranger Things 2” is a triumphant return to Hawkins

ALMOST the instant “Stranger Things” was released last year, the baying of fans desperate for the next instalment was ear-splitting. Hopes are so high for the second season—all nine episodes of which were released on Netflix on October 27th—that disappointment seems almost inevitable. But fans can breathe easy: “Stranger Things …

Read More
News

How China’s artists made sense of their country

The artistry of the ambulance HANGING from the ceiling of the magnificent rotunda that Frank Lloyd Wright created for the Guggenheim Museum in 1959 is an undulating black dragon. Twenty-six metres (85 feet) long, it is made almost entirely of the inner tubes of bicycles. Its head is a sculptural …

Read More