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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”.

BOOK REVIEW / Hairum-scairum ram-stam boy: Tomorrow is Burns Night: Scots go crazy. Tom Paulin reappraises his poetry in the light of two new books

ROBERT BURNS's republican jouissance exists uneasily within the canon of English verse. In Scotland the cult of Burns has turned Rab the Ranter into a tame heritage symbol to compensate for the humiliations of the country's position within the Union; in England he has been rendered almost invisible. With the exception of A H Clough, no significant English poet has been influenced by his work, while critics and literary historians have failed to notice that he is a major poet whose roots are in the radical Enlightenment.

Letter: Keats amid violets and Protestants

Sir: In the 1800s, the name for Keats's burial ground was the Protestant cemetery. Shelley in his preface to Adonais (1821) writes:

Letter: Where Keats rests in peace and beauty

Sir: I feel I must protest at the appropriation for the English by Mrs O. Buglass (letter, 28 December) of the cemetery in Rome where Keats is buried.

Letter: Keats is given the squeeze in Rome

Sir: Two references to Roman lettering on monuments in Rome were made in the article 'Is the writing on the wall for public inscriptions?' (16 December). May I add to the list the inscription on Keats's headstone in the English Cemetery in Rome.

BOOK REVIEW / Battlefield of the body: The patient by George macBeth, Hutchinson pounds 7.99

GEORGE MACBETH died earlier this year, aged 60, of motor neurone disease. Scottish by birth, 1890s-ish by inclination, he seemed not so much a man divided as one who revelled in his various incarnations: the Oxford-educated litterateur, the dedicated BBC professional, the selfless talent-spotter, the demon-lover and lord of misrule, the exuberantly happy family man. Behind all these was the poet, and one whose work was more problematic: confident in its versatility, but less certain which of its several voices was the truest. The compassionate ironist? The wounded autobiographer, dourly paying his debts to the wartime past? The dandy indulging dark fantasies, glorying in the name of MacBeth?
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices