Capturing Olivier in his contradictory essence

Oct 12, 2013

Capturing Olivier in his contradictory essence

by Philip French

Laurence Olivier was the greatest British actor of his time, primus inter pares of the trio who dominated our theater from the early 1930s to the 1980s. His superiority to his chief rivals, Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, resides in the role he played ...

Biography of Masaoka Shiki excels in the expanded details

Sep 28, 2013

Biography of Masaoka Shiki excels in the expanded details

by David Burleigh

Haiku, the short Japanese poem now proliferating overseas, scarcely needs an introduction anymore. Its three great pillars, widely read even in translation, are the poets Matsuo Basho (1641-1694), its first creator, then Yosa Buson (1716-1784) and Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), who renewed it. THE WINTER ...

The violent, thuggish world of the young Bach

Sep 27, 2013

The violent, thuggish world of the young Bach

by Dalya Alberge

Johann Sebastian Bach is arguably the greatest of all composers, with the “St. Matthew Passion” and the “Mass in B Minor” among the most sublime masterpieces in classical music. But biographers over the past half century have “sanitised” his life, in the belief that ...

Masterful ode to Liverpool's Shankly

Aug 31, 2013

Masterful ode to Liverpool's Shankly

by Frank Cottrell Boyce

‘Red Or Dead” is a masterpiece. David Peace already has a considerable reputation but this massive, painstaking account of the career of Bill Shankly towers above his previous work. It’s usual when praising a sports novel for critics to claim that “it’s not really ...

Woman finds calling in aging district

Jun 20, 2013

Woman finds calling in aging district

by Takuya Okamoto

Operating a restaurant is just one of the jobs Nabi Togo assumes in her quest to help revitalize Tsuyazaki, a scenic fishing area facing the Genkai Sea in Fukutsu, Fukuoka Prefecture. She plays four other roles as well, when she is called upon. On ...

Allowing Nijinsky's ballet to tell his life

May 12, 2013

Allowing Nijinsky's ballet to tell his life

by Peter Conrad

How can we separate the dancer from the dance? Vaslav Nijinsky’s art was a vanishing act, and his mystique depended on gestures that lasted only a second, like his leap through a window in “The Spectre of a Rose,” or the slight but scandalous ...

Revealing the many masks of Mishima

May 5, 2013

Revealing the many masks of Mishima

by Paul Mccarthy

This is a whale of a book — both unusually massive and extremely informative and stimulating. The title means “mask” in Latin and is probably an allusion to Yukio Mishima’s first full-length novel, “Confessions of a Mask,” published in Japan in 1949 and translated ...