Arts and Entertainment

I wish I could give this sublime marrying of the art and the life 10 stars. This is very much a writer’s biography, and an absolutely gorgeous demonstration of how to frame a narrative begins, appropriately enough, with the framing by Gorra of the author, Henry James: “Many years later he would remember the way the book had begun. He was old then, and in England ....” It’s a description that mirrors beautifully the framing by James himself of the entrance of his great heroine, Isabel Archer, in The Portrait of a Lady, as “the girl in the doorway”.

Words: churchyard, adj.

JOHN BUCHAN'S output yields 427 OED citations. Small beer beside 1,350 from Ulysses, but he, too, had a dextrous way with language, for which he has only recently won credit. This account of the valet to the ill-fated Scudder is worthy of Waugh: "he was a whining fellow with a churchyard face, and half-a-crown went far to console him". More than sullen, churchyard concisely suggests stubble, pockmarks and wrinkles, and was first used as a metaphorical adjective in the 17th century, as in the doom-laden churchyard cough.

Letter: Turn of the year

Sir: Ted Hughes said: "Before us stands yesterday." So it does, but what if we choose to ignore it?

Ted Hughes: 1930-1998: A poet pinned and wriggling

The day of his death was a dark cold day. Auden's great elegy for Yeats might have been written with last Wednesday and Thursday in mind, when the shattering news of Ted Hughes's death broke. Black storm clouds covered the entire country. Torrential rain and hail beat down, gales blasted autumn trees, the rivers he loved were in spate everywhere, drowning fields and villages, as if in grief.

Words: analeptic, adj. or n.

STRANGE THE way that the mind works. Some of us cannot hear the pop of the cork being released from a bottle without the word analeptic springing to mind. Such is poetry.

Literary Notes: The fertile season for Robert Burns

SPRING MAY inspire some poets, but it was Robert Burns's lowest time. Each winter his health declined, his spirits ebbed, and only by early summer did his strength and passion begin to return. He fathered a dozen or so children (including two sets of twins) in and out of marriage, and all but two were conceived during the fertile second half of the year.

Obituary: Viola Keats

AN ACTRESS of vigour and conviction, Viola Keats had a fertile career on both stage and screen in the Thirties and continued acting for more than 40 years. Her early films included two directed by Michael Powell, who in his autobiography wrote somewhat enigmatically of his leading ladies in The Night of the Party: "Jane Baxter was to play the juvenile lead and the other girl would be played by Viola Keats, a redhead. Both ladies were my type." Keats was indeed a redhead of aquiline sophistication and subtle attractiveness.

Free verse joins the free market

Tuesday Book; THE DEREGULATED MUSE BY SEAN O'BRIEN, BLOODAXE BOOKS, pounds 10.95

Arts: Hughes breaks silence with secret poems to Sylvia Plath

The Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, today breaks his silence over the life and suicide of his first wife, Sylvia Plath, with a volume of poems that few knew existed. Clare Garner reports on the poetic account of his days with Plath.

Books: Radically Romantic

Keats by Andrew Motion Faber & Faber, pounds 20; Lachlan Mackinnon uncovers a tough side to the 'Cockney' poet who trained as a surgeon and consorted with rebels

Poetry in Motion, Larkin and Keats

The subjects of Andrew Motion's two literary biographies - Larkin and Keats - couldn't have been more opposite in temperament. Not so, the poet tells Jasper Rees

Apollo's rebel angel

Do we need a new biography of Keats? Aren't the facts of his life well known?

Letter: Consenting life masks

Sir: Jane Wildgoose is in error in describing the National Portrait Gallery's masks of Blake and Keats as "death masks" ("Is it wrong to use a dead body for art?", 18 August). Both were made when the subjects were still living, and, more to the point, consenting participants in the procedure - which cannot be said of the subjects featuring in Anthony-Noel Kelly's artefacts.

Into something rich and strange

SALT WATER by Andrew Motion, Faber pounds 7.99

Letter: British poets for export

Sir: I can sympathise with Ruth Padel's annoyance at not being included in the British Council's touring exhibition "Contemporary Poets" ("Poetry in the land of Saint Patrick", 17 March): no one likes being left out.

Obituary:George Goyder

George Goyder combined a successful business career with a wide range of other interests and an unfailing enthusiasm for anything that would make for a more civilised society. In his 88 years, he fitted in at least five different lives, any one of which would have kept most people fully engaged. He was a businessman, a social philosopher and reformer, an author, a distinguished collector of rare books and, not least, a paterfamilias.
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
Apparently McDonald’s has trouble making sausage and eggs at the same time as burgers and chicken
newsNo Was fast food chain was aiming for the munchies market?
News
i100
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and artistic director Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic party to honour Spacey
theatreStar's successor at Old Vic theatre admits he's 'allergic to hype'
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders