Revealing Wilde letters sold for £30,000

A series of rare letters in which Oscar Wilde appears to proposition the editor of a ladies' magazine sold for more than £30,000 today, an auction house said.

How I learnt to love musicals: Michael Bywater on the purest form of theatre

Don't be a snob, says Michael Bywater – musicals are the purest form of theatre, and they're booming. But why? Could it be, simply, that they cheer us up in these recessionary times?

For sale: letters from a love-sick Wilde to the object of his affection

Correspondence reveals the burgeoning homosexuality that would land writer in prison

Poisoned Pens: Literary Invective from Amis to Zola, ed Gary Dexter

From Aristophanes, who attacked Euripedes in his play The Frogs (Euripedes was safely dead by that point), to the critic Harold Bloom, who recently consigned Harry Potter to the "vast concourse of works that cram the dustbins of the ages", Gary Dexter's book compiles pithy put-downs and waspish jibes from writers.

1065 and all that: Dave's Book of Dates

David Cameron has been criticised for a string of factual errors – from the date the US entered the Second World War to Iran's nuclear capability. David Randall imagines how the PM might tell the story of the past 2,000 years

Studies in the History of the Renaissance, By Walter Pater

If he is remembered at all, Pater is known for his influence on Oscar Wilde. In his introduction to this "incendiary" text of 1873, Matthew Beaumont describes it as being seen in the "bourgeois imagination" as "the literary equivalent of Zuleika Dobson".

Funny business: Henry Normal explains why his new project is no joke

Forget sitcoms and skits. It's product placement and new technology that will save British comedy, he tells Ian Burrell

Album: The Divine Comedy, Bang Goes the Knighthood (Divine Comedy Records)

Another Divine lesson in the art of elegant outsiderdom

Brown makes gay rights justice pledge

Gordon Brown pledged to stand with gay people until "justice was achieved".

DVD: Dorian Gray, For retail & rental (Momentum)

This slickly scripted new interpretation of Oscar Wilde's novel stars Ben Barnes as the handsome aristocrat who will never age as long as his portrait does it for him, and Colin Firth as the ultimate bad influence.

Econoblog: Treat estimates as estimates

Rather like Oscar Wilde’s talking dog, the wonder of the Office for National Statistics’ work is not that it is done badly, but that it is done at all.

Free Independent drama: Death In Genoa, featuring Simon Callow as Oscar Wilde

In the week of the 109th anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s death, The Independent is giving you an exclusive chance to listen to and download a new drama by Made in Manchester/Dark Smile, written by Thomas Wright, about the 19th Century writer, wit and raconteur.

Mrs Gaskell gets her place in the sun

The once neglected creator of Cranford is to be commemorated in a window above Poets' Corner

Dorian Gray (15)

For Oliver Parker to have made one Oscar Wilde adaptation (An Ideal Husband) could be considered a misfortune.

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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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?