Oxford is the world’s best university, topping the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. But no one has won the Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry, medicine or economics while teaching or researching at Oxford in the new millennium. Cambridge, fourth in the World University Rankings, has had just one Nobel Prize winner affiliated with it in the new century. [Read more…] about Princeton overtakes Stanford in number of 21st century Nobel Prize winners
Reading about the first newspaper in India reminded me of Aveek Sarkar, the colourful newspaper proprietor.
He is also based in the same city, Calcutta (now called Kolkata), where the Irishman James Augustus Hicky launched the Bengal Gazette or the Original Calcutta General Advertiser in 1780. [Read more…] about Hicky and Aveek Sarkar, Hastings and Mamata Banerjee
John Le Carre once said,” ‘The cat sat on the mat’ is not the beginning of a story, but ‘the cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is.” He knows how to hook a reader. Yesterday, on his 85th birthday, I opened his very first book, Call for the Dead, published 55 years ago, in 1961. The story begins: [Read more…] about John Le Carre: The cat sat on the dog’s mat
Reading a book of poems can be such a pleasure. There’s the thrill of discovering a poem that absolutely bowls you over, the pleasure of re-reading an old favourite and learning something about the life of the poet or poets whose poetry fills the book. I derived all three pleasures from Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry, Introductions to Great Poets by Josephine Hart. [Read more…] about Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry
I just read a poem by Emily Dickinson and two poems by Elizabeth Bishop which I had never read before. Emily Dickinson’s poem is about a carriage ride with Death. Elizabeth Bishop’s poems have humour and sadness. I found them in a collection of poems where the poets are introduced by the adman Maurice Saatchi’s late wife, the writer Josephine Hart. [Read more…] about Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop
I have loved Bob Dylan from the time I heard Blowin’ in the Wind way back in the Sixties. But Bob Dylan Nobel laureate! Winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature! Call me old-fashioned. I prefer to read literature and listen to music. Dylan’s songs may be poems set to music. But I would rather read the poems of WH Auden and Dylan Thomas, neither of whom won the Nobel Prize. Dylan I will listen to. [Read more…] about Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate: Great singer-songwriter, great poet?