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.

The reclamation of socialism is crucial for Britain's future

Ralph Miliband's philosophy as more relevant than ever

Labour should be standing up for students - but it's not

The Labour Party Conference has been another damp squib, and Ed Miliband risks losing a generation of voters

Tough talking as new Norwegian PM tries to form government

Erna Solberg, who is poised to become Prime Minister after the Labour premier conceded defeat in an election, faces tough negotiations with three other right-wing parties to form a government. 

Crime and Punishment at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Theatre review: Crime and Punishment, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

The squalor unfolds before us like a wound, the stage stripped back and opened up to the red brick and rusted heating duct bones of the backstage area, the ten-strong ensemble cavorting around the fringes of the action at all times, populating the dive bars and crumbling tenements of 19 century St Petersburg with life and music and threat. At the heart of it all waits destitute former law student Raskolnikov, seemingly without hope or options as he ponders killing his merciless pawnbroker on the other side of the damp-flaked door before him.

Ofcom looks into complaints about Bauer magazine said to glorify German Second World War soldiers

Ofcom today said it is in contact with German authorities as it investigates whether Kiss FM owner Bauer is a “fit and proper” broadcaster, after complaints that it publishes a magazine that is said to glorify German Second World War soldiers.

Hollande driven by personal conviction on Syria

One side of François Hollande explains the other

Hollande: 'Reading the interview only increased my determination'

Syria crisis: Assad interview has increased my determination, says France President François Hollande

French President infuriated by 'threats' from Syrian leader - but he may follow Obama's example and wait for a vote

Francois Hollande comes under pressure to allow French Syria vote

President François Hollande came under pressure yesterday to follow Barack Obama and David Cameron and allow a French parliamentary vote on punitive air strikes on Syria.

The EU commissioner Olli Rehn said higher taxes would destroy growth

Tax rises in France have reached 'fatal' level, warns EU official

Olli Rehn urges cuts to spending as François  Hollande seeks to reduce deficit

‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that’ – the words of Bill Shankly, seen above at Anfield in 1969

Review: Red or Dead, By David Peace

A love letter to a great manager, an elegy to the beautiful game

Former treasurer to Spanish PM’s People's Party, Cristóbal Páez, admits slush fund pay

A former director of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party has admitted to a judge that he was paid out of a slush fund, fuelling opposition demands for a full parliamentary probe into the scandal that has rocked a government reeling from a persistent economic crisis.

French oil giant gives City a vote of confidence

London Mayor Boris Johnson put one over on the French President François Hollande yesterday as France’s biggest oil company said it would move its finance department from Paris to London.

Daniel Ellsberg, pictured centre in 1973, chose to stand his ground and was vindicated

What if Edward Snowden had stayed to fight his corner?

Out of America: The CIA whistleblower struck a blow for us all, but his 1970s predecessor showed how to win

Postcard from... Paris

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This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
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Vladimir Putin fixes a GPS satellite transmitter onto a tiger in 2008
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Animals found with 'puncture holes the size of a human finger'

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Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
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Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

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The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
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booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital