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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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game