Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare is a writer and cultural historian.

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High spirits: Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens in 'Private Lives' now running at the Gielgud Theatre

Private Lives: How Noël Coward's drama about champagne-fuelled hedonists retains its cocktail power

As the play returns to the West End, Coward's biographer Philip Hoare looks at how the drama chimes with modern-day audiences

Book of a lifetime: The Rings of Saturn, By W G Sebald

In the spring of 2001, I received a postcard in the mail. On the front was Poussin's L'Orage ("The Storm"). On the back, written in an elegant script, was a note of appreciation for a book I'd just published, called Spike Island. It was signed "W.G. (Max) Sebald".

Clarke: whales had begun to annoy him, he said, because they ate the other animals he studied

Professor Malcolm Clarke: Acclaimed authority on the
sperm whale and giant squid

Malcolm Clarke was an international expert on two animals which remain among the most mysterious on the planet: the sperm whale and the giant squid. He spent most of his adult life pursuing these creatures, from the whaling grounds of the Antarctic,to the deep waters off the Azores – the remote archipelago where he lived latterly, within daily sight of his subjects.

In danger: the red squirrel

Every creature's needless death diminishes us all

A 60 per cent decline in our national species should alarm us, yet few of us act. But to mind more about animals would reflect well on society

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.

The Boston bombing has shown how America's old certainties are under attack

America used to have a childlike belief in the power of freedom, and the power of firearms to defend that freedom

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.

The Boston bombing has shown how America's old certainties are under attack

America used to have a childlike belief in the power of freedom, and the power of firearms to defend that freedom

Punishment and poverty of imagination

It is hard to conceive the effect of the deprivation of freedom and human dignity

My wild swimming ways and why it is the season to get back in touch with nature

Some call open-air swimmers like the Devon fundraisers foolhardy, but isn't there something heroic in this desire to reconnect with what we've lost?

Weird science: Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster

Frankenstein's monster: Why gothic is more popular than ever

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein still stokes our fear of apocalypse, bad science and corruption. As a new documentary looks at its cultural legacy, Philip Hoare explains why gothic remains a perennial theme

Symbol of life: Witnessing a whale surface is a physical rebuke to humans for the damage they are inflicting on the oceans

The whale - so special, and scarcely understood

What is it about these stupendous, gregarious yet mysterious creatures that creates such an ambivalent bond with humankind?

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Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea