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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee