Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare is a writer and cultural historian.

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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?

Tailspin: A sperm whale dips back under the water

Into the blue of the Azores: It's even easier for whale-watchers to catch one of the planet's great spectacles

Direct flights to these Atlantic islands have resumed.

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Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
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Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
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If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
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Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
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New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

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For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

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Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

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With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on