News

Speeches in the House of Commons by the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg are an erudite comedy turn. As MPs debated the European Union (Approvals) Bill (Lords), which writes into British law two draft regulations passed by the Council of the European Union, only he thought it necessary to read into the official record part of what one of the regulations actually said.

Books: A walk on the dark side

Gothic fiction, says John Sutherland, is a moving target; A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction: Mapping History's Nightmares by Robert Mighall OUP pounds 45

Books: The self at a safe distance

Adam Phillips tells Anna Picard about loss, the literati, and why he wants to `do a Salinger'

Classical Notes: Oedipus' fate was in his genes - and he knew it

IT IS no longer fashionable to want to kill your father and sleep with your mother. In Freudian terms, the ancient myth of Oedipus is today looking a little tired, though of course we do owe the founder of modern psychology some thanks for being able to say boo to taboos. Today, Oedipus would have counselling and sell his story to the tabloids.

Dance: Freudian slips can make for giant leaps

Cullberg Ballet: Giselle Playhouse, Edinburgh Meg Stuart: Appetite Festival Theatre Edinburgh

Goodnight Vienna

Days before Sigmund Freud fled the Nazis in 1938, and took refuge in England, Edmund Engelman made this photographic record of the apartment where psychoanalysis was born. Here he recalls that visit

A thrilling new fictional form: the bite-size novel

Teddy Carew was an upper-class twit with a streak of evil who liked inflicting pain on girls

Books: A journal of two very different hearts

Affinity by Sarah Waters Virago pounds 9.99

Letter: Tim's mission

Letter: Tim's mission

Poppy Folly Your Stars: It Could Happen

You can tell most of what you want to know about this unfortunate sign by looking them up in a rhyming dictionary: "Taurus: `bore us', `how pleased we are when they decide to ignore us', and `can't sing or dance particularly so put them well in the back of the chorus'." They cite, respectively, Terry Southern, Bianca Jagger and Bing Crosby and this shows how rhyming lexicographers are a third less accurate in their grasp of character than metropolitan astrologers.

Television: Shock treatment

A haunted orphan with a junkie sister: and that's just the doctor. A new drama has a novel approach to mental health

Sympathy for the Dysfunctional: the American cartoons that ate the world

The original satire on the cosy suburban sitcom, the Simpsons family is dysfunctional but sympathetic. To begin with, the focus was on young Bart's problematic behaviour but, as the show developed, his dad Homer became the central figure. His stupid, selfish, profoundly passive response to the world makes him one of the most profoundly human characters on television. Key Homer quote: "Donuts - is there anything they can't do?"

Column: A good idea from ... Freud

THE OTHER night, at a party, I bumped into a beautiful woman called Rachel who was in the kitchen looking for a drink. She was about 29, had shoulder-length brown hair, pale skin and watery blue eyes - and it soon became obvious that she was very much in love with me. I noticed this early on in the conversation. There was something in the way she said "cranberry juice" when I asked her what she wanted to drink which proved the strength of her desire. And when she abruptly ended our short chat, saying, "I've got to go and join my boyfriend in the next room, bye," and walked out quickly (or ran out), there was no longer any doubt about the depth of her love for me.

Books: Shards of a shattered city

The Plato Papers by Peter Ackroyd Chatto & Windus, pounds 15.99, 140pp; Seen from a mythical age, far in the future, London today looks like a bad dream. John Clute celebrates one major writer's flight of fancy...

Books: Imbiber at the fountain of fantasy

Futuristic fantasy; Wellsian dystopia; satire-cum-soul searcher; mantric realism - whatever Peter Ackroyd's new book may be, it cannot go out and take its place in the world, as the jacket declares it, as a "novel". If not for any other reason than that, in a literary Magimix age where fiction and biography melt the borderlines of fact and invention, and the coming of the virtual age promises us eternal uncertainty, there is nothing novel to be found in this reconstruction of a future from the distant past. The characters have been here before. The hero, donning an orator's mask, bears the name Plato. The fragments of a long-dead world he investigates are recognisably a part of the world of Peter Ackroyd - that is to say, London.

The Sketch: Freudian-slip funsters find asylum in chamber of errors

"MENTAL ILLNESS is as common as asthma," announced Frank Dobson yesterday. "It affects as many as one in six adults at any one time."
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The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?