The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton (1908)

‘We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them. They accept the essential ideal of man; they merely seek it wrongly. Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that […]

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton (1904)

In his prime, between 1910 and into the 1930s, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was a hugely successful ‘writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic’. He wrote a vast amount of essays, reviews, columns, articles and literary criticism – notably helping a revival of interest in Dickens with his […]

A Universal History of Infamy by Jorge Luis Borges (1935, revd. 1954)

The book is no more than appearance, than a surface of images; for that very reason, it may prove enjoyable. (Borges’s 1954 preface to A Universal History of Infamy) Long ago One thinks of Borges as a modern classic so it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn just how long ago he […]

Diversity, or how progressive rhetoric about diversity and the greater representation of women, blacks and Asians masks the ongoing influence of traditional networks of private school and Oxbridge

Polemic – a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something The British cultural élite is very concerned about ‘diversity’, which means pre-eminently more women and more ethnic minorities. I’m making the simple point that it does not, on the whole, mean more poor and disadvantaged people, God no. It still tends to means […]

How students, academics, artists and galleries help to create a globalised, woke discourse which alienates ordinary people and hands political power to the Right

‘As polls have attested [traditional Labour voters] rejected Labour because it had become a party that derided everything they loved.’ (John Gray in The New Statesman) As of January 2020, Labour has 580,000 registered members, giving it the largest membership of any party in Europe, and yet it has just suffered its worst election defeat […]

Inside the Whale and Other Essays by George Orwell

To write in plain, vigorous language one has to think fearlessly, and if one thinks fearlessly one cannot be politically orthodox. (The Prevention of Literature) Orwell wrote hundreds of essays, reviews and articles which, since his death in 1950, have been repackaged in a number of formats. This selection dates from 1957 and contains some […]

The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (1937)

Columbus sailed the Atlantic, the first steam engines tottered into motion, the British squares stood firm under the French guns at Waterloo, the one-eyed scoundrels of the nineteenth century praised God and filled their pockets; and this is where it all led – to labyrinthine slums and dark back kitchens with sickly, ageing people creeping […]