Arts and Entertainment

The idea of The Great American Novel feels like an albatross around the neck of that country’s literature. Sooner or later every white middle-class male writer with any kind of reputation feels obliged to have a stab at it, usually with limited success. Eventually they think it’s time to pack away all the fun stuff like storytelling, energy and plot, and make some big state-of-the-nation address, telling people exactly how things stand in the good ol’ US of A. Interestingly, America’s women writers don’t tend to feel the obligation to grandstand so strongly, and their novels are usually all the better for that.

There is no love lost between Valérie Trierweiler, François Hollande’s partner, left, and Ségolène Royal, the President’s ex, right

French First Lady Valérie Trierweiler turns against President's ex Ségolène Royal

France's First Lady, Valérie Trierweiler, provoked a political and conjugal storm yesterday by publicly supporting a rebel candidate against Ségolène Royal, President François Hollande's former partner.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez seeks re-election

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez rallied tens of thousands of supporters, wearing his signature red beret and singing a folk song as he launched his re-election bid.

François Hollande set to deliver French left majority

The triumph of the French left in the first round of parliamentary elections threatens to redraw the map of party politics in France.

French socialists eye unity after election

Allies of French President Francois Hollande mobilised today in hopes of securing a crushing parliamentary majority for the Socialists that could bolster him in talks on how to save the embattled euro currency and revive Europe's economic fortunes.

President Hollande votes in the parliamentary elections in Tulle

Left poised for victory that would clear François Hollande to pursue growth

The moderate left was on course for a comfortable victory in French parliamentary elections last night, strengthening President François Hollande's grip on power.

Marine Le Pen's National Front may win seats for the first time

Hollande braced for 'worst nightmare' in elections

President's austerity plans are in jeopardy as the hard left is set for a strong showing

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen's hopes of winning a seat for the NF may be hit by a split right-wing vote

French Left set for historic triumph but Socialists will fall short of majority

Polls show Hollande may need help of Greens and Communists

Sheridan's staged life story faces a rewrite

The rise and fall of Tommy Sheridan, the controversial Scottish politician, is to be turned into a "tragi-comedy" by the creator of Rab C Nesbitt.

'The Sage of Twickenham': Vince Cable

Owen Jones: How did 'socialist' turn into an insult?

Having just moved to north London, I was perturbed to be woken on Tuesday morning by a whirring sound in the distance. When I glanced at the Telegraph's front page later that day – which revealed that multi-millionaire Tory donor Adrian Beecroft had accused Vince Cable of being a socialist – I realised it must have been Karl Marx spinning violently in his Highgate Cemetery grave. The great man shouldn't take it to heart: Beecroft strikes me as the sort of bloke who would accuse opponents of privatising the first-born for being a bit "pinko".

DJ Taylor: Is Joey Barton a Roundhead or a Cavalier?

The Civil War may be hundreds of years ago, but its divisions still linger. Talking of unending atrocities, Alan Partridge is back

Greece: Poll boosts 'austerity' politicians

Less than a day after taking office, Greece's new caretaker government was faced with yet another credit downgrade as Fitch that warned Athens of a "probable" exit from the eurozone if pro-bailout parties failed to win new elections due on 17 June.

François Hollande delivers on gender in government

President François Hollande showed an unexpectedly ruthless streak yesterday by shaping a gender-balanced French government from which several friends, and one notable foe, were excluded.

Greece appoints caretaker PM as elections are set for 17 June

Greece has appointed a senior judge as prime minister of a caretaker government that will lead the country to repeat elections next month.

Leading article: François Hollande is less radical than he seems

Differences between Mr Hollande and Ms Merkel are more of style than of substance

HSBC cautiously welcomes the next French President

The HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said he remained "sanguine" about the prospects of France after the election of its new President, François Hollande.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering