Arts and Entertainment The loss of happiness: Giacomo Leopardi

This extraordinary 'mish-mash' opens up the creative workshop of Italy's great Romantic poet

Dear Nigel Lawson

The former Chancellor is a man transformed. So much so that his friends might walk past him in the street

Obituary: Professor Raymond Wilson

Raymond Wilson, writer, educationalist: born 20 December 1925; English master, Dulwich College 1957-61, Chief English Master 1961-65; Lecturer in English Education, Southampton University 1965-68; Professor of Education, Reading University 1968-89 (Emeritus), Chairman of the School of Education 1969-76, 1980-89; married Gertrude Russell (two sons, one daughter); died Reading 21 March 1995.

LETTER : Putting MacNeice back in the picture

YOUR contemporary-poets-do-Iceland article "Footsteps in lava and ice", Review (19 February) could not have been more timely in the light of publication of Jon Stallworthy's biography of the Irish poet, Louis MacNeice. However, the caption for the photograph of the original poet-adventurers, MacNeice and WH Auden, failed to recognise one of the guides as being the Irish poet in question and bolsters the myth of MacNeice as Auden's pack-boy!

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: My 'far from disagreeble verse' - rejected]

I AM hurt. Just a little hurt. No: a lot. I am a lot hurt. I am hurt a lot. A lot I am hurt. Take a grip, Wallace. Deep breath. And again. There we are. All better. Now begin at the beginning, go on until you get to the end, and then stop. Ready, steady - I am, I must admit, just a little perturbed by a recent event in the world of publishing. I refer, I regret to say, to Mr John Gross's new edition of The Oxford Book of Comic Verse, and the notable omissions within it. But let me begin at the beginning.

OPERA / Finding work for idle hands to do: Bayan Northcott sketches the complex background to Stravinsky's opera, The Rake's Progress

Fate or luck? According to Stravinsky himself, it was during a chance visit to a Hogarth exhibition in Chicago on 2 May 1947 that he suddenly envisaged the eight engravings comprising The Rake's Progress as a series of operatic scenes: 'I was, however, readily susceptible to such a suggestion, for I had wanted to compose an opera in English ever since my arrival in the United States.'

To me, it will always be August underneath your arms

I ONCE went to a lecture by WH Auden at Oxford University, on the grounds that if I didn't go to see him now, I would never see him at all.

Letter: Protesters who saw the wood and the trees

Sir: The bulldozing of the great horse chestnut on George Green ('Treehouse falls to M11 bulldozer', 8 December) put me in mind of a passage by W. H. Auden:

BOOK REVIEW / In your own write: The language of autobiography by John Sturrock, CUP pounds 35

In conversation with Gore Vidal, a younger writer announced that, after half a dozen novels, she was embarking on her memoirs. 'At last you'll be writing some fiction,' said Vidal with a mandarin sniff.

Letter: Age-old complaint

Sir: Thomas Sutcliffe ('Sixties sister calls the grey army to battle', 13 October) notes that Germaine Greer 'is a bit late arriving on the field of combat'. How many decades is it since W. H. Auden diagnosed the complaint?

Obituary: Canon E. L. Mascall

WHEN I went up to Christ Church, Oxford, my rooms in Tom Quad were near those occupied by Eric Mascall, as Chaplain, writes Sasha Hoghton (further to the obituary by Professor John Macquarrie, 17 February). He was one of three great eccentrics who lived in Tom: the others were 'D' Dundas, one's 'moral tutor', and Canon Claude Jenkins, who wore a square-cut frock coat and shovel hat and did indeed smoke beech leaves from the Malvern hills (not the Meadow), mixed with old cigar butts from the SCR. Of the three, Eric Mascall had the sharpest intellect, but was so painfully shy that most undergraduates gave up all efforts to communicate after the initial embarrassing glass of warm sherry.

Canned gossip from the inn

OVERHEARD in the course of an evening in the pub . . .
Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
three nights from £259pp Find out more
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice