Tickling Our Minds

Adam Phillips will make you think differently. Robert McCrum profiles the psychologist and literary critic.

Novel Royale

Hilary Mantel is back with a macabre chapter in her Tudor trilogy. She tells Robert McCrum about her life's many ‘disasters.’

The Real Story of 'O': Anonymity Has Its Perils

In February 1663, the London printer John Twyn was sentenced to a most terrible fate: he was to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Twyn’s offense? He had dared to print an anonymous pamphlet that justified the right of rebellion against the king. In his jail cell, Twyn told those who begged him to confess the source of the treason that “it was not his principle to betray the author.” The next day, Twyn’s head was duly placed on a Ludgate spike.

All the World Speaks Globish

The alumni of the vast people’s University of China are typical of the post–Mao Zedong generation. Every Friday evening several hundred gather informally under the pine trees of a little square in Beijing’s Haidian district, in the so-called English Corner, to hold “English conversation.”