Atheism

Damned by Despair, Olivier, National Theatre, London

Spare a thought for poor Bertie Carvel. One minute, he's a camp brute of a headmistress swinging schoolgirls round by the plaits in the rip-roaring hit of Matilda. The next, he's being brutish – and strangely camp – all over again, this time, though, as a murderous Neapolitan thug in Damned by Despair, a venture that looks set to go down in history as one of the National Theatre's rare turkeys.

Fact File: Secular Britain

In the beginning, there was Bideford. In February 2012 the High Court ruled council meeting prayers in the Devon town unlawful, and reignited a row about encroaching secularisation that’s been rumbling in the background of British public life for over a century.

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Antoni Tapies: Catalan artist celebrated for his use of found

Antoni Tapies was the most important Catalan artist of the 20th century. He was a self-taught painter and sculptor, his later works instantly recognisable for their stark contrasts of colour, incorporation of found materials and widespread use of written language and geometric symbols.

All About Love, By Lisa Appignanesi
Love: a History, By Simon May

Our shelves groan with love. Out in the visual world, sex sells, but take down any novel, book of poetry or biography and it's clear that, on the page, love is most often the hook. As a magic word that all can use, but few define, its potency might be down to nothing more than the bewildering variety of experiences it covers, next to which the supposedly exotic range of options on the sexual menu seems staid. That this one word can be applied to romantic love, parental love, love between friends and love of God seems perverse, as if it is a deliberate semantic ploy to complicate and intensify our lives.