THE GUILLOTINE; No 30: A E HOUSMAN

Twentieth-Century Classics That Won't Last

Right of Reply: Merlin Holland

Oscar Wilde's grandson replies to an article by David Benedict about that author's ubiquity

Wilde: An Unworthy Son

DAYS AFTER he left Reading Gaol on 8 May 1897, Oscar Wilde (right) wrote to Henrietta Stannard, saying he was an "unworthy" son.

Let criminals publish and be paid

If newspaper serialisation can be justified for Nick Leeson, why not Myra Hyndley or the Wests?

Lines better left under lock and key

JONATHAN AITKEN might imagine he has much in common with Oscar Fingal O'Flaherty Wills Wilde. Both survived demanding maters and difficult Dublin childhoods. Both preened and peacocked around smart London society, with explosive secrets well hidden under perfectly tailored suits. Both provoked their own downfall with libel actions requiring them to fib in court.

Letter: A miner's lot

ir: I recently received my copy of the National Theatre's summer programme and my "Dear Mailing List Member" letter from Trevor Nunn. In his letter Mr Nunn makes the analogy between being director of the National and being a miner. For example he begins, "I am writing to you having just come up blinking into the daylight for a few hours before I go back down the mine," and ends with: "Now I must get my canary and go back down into the pouring dark."

COMEDY: GIG OF THE WEEK

Jeff Mirza Sun

Aitken Sentenced: The liar impaled on his own sword of justice

AS JONATHAN Aitken was taken down to the cells yesterday he blew a kiss to his family. It was the first and only sign of emotion from a man once tipped to be Prime Minister. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Words: Obsession

THERE WAS a time when anyone who got further than elementary school was required to learn all the figures of speech - zeugma, hypallage, litotes, prolepsis, anacoluthon and the rest - as part of the English curriculum. It was really only a vestigial throwback to the medieval education system with its quadrivium and its trivium, the trivium being a mixture of grammar, logic and, of course, rhetoric. It all came back to me the other day when I was reading an item in the Express about Tony Blair, and came across a lovely oxymoron.

Books: Why sticking strawberry ice cream down the Prince of Wales's back is a bad idea

Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals

Theatre Review: Gross Indecency

Gielgud Theatre, London W1 (0171-494 5065)

Theatre: Wilde at heart

GROSS INDECENCY

Cubist collage brings arresting drama to life

First Night Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde Gielgud Theatre London

Witness for the West End production

Who needs a script when a transcript can be even more dramatic? Robert Butler reports on how art now imitates courtroom life
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'