The Downfall of Oscar Wilde

On Valentine’s Day in 1895, the most famous playwright in the English speaking world, Oscar Wilde, presented his new play, The Importance of Being Earnest, in London at St. James Theatre.…


What Voltaire Meant by 'One Must Cultivate One's Own Garden'

It is crucial to note the subtitle of 18th century Europe’s most famous novel, written in three inspired days in 1759: ‘Candide – or Optimism’. If there was one central target…


Buildings That Give Hope - and Buildings That Condemn Us

A strange and rarely remarked upon feature of buildings is that they talk. They don’t necessarily speak very loudly, it can sometimes just be a whisper, but if you go up…


James Baldwin

James Baldwin was a novelist, essayist and activist whose writings on racism and the idea of self-acceptance in 20th century America challenged readers to investigate their innermost thoughts and beliefs.


Katsushika Hokusai

There are two ways of looking at Mount Fuji. As a geological phenomenon, it is classified as an active basalt composite stratovolcano, 3,700 metres high, 10,000 years old in its most…


On Luxury and Sadness

There is an age, and a frame of mind, when we are strong enough to treat luxury with every bit of the disdain it deserves, when we know how to pour…