In this brilliant collection of diverse works essays, short stories, poems, translations which spans a lifetime’s engagement with art, Berger reveals how he came to his own unique way of seeing. He challenges readers to rethink their every assumption about the role of creativity in our lives. Paying homage to the writers & thinkers who influenced him, he pushes at the limits of art writing, demonstrating beautifully how his artist’s eye makes him a storyteller, rather than a critic.

His expansive perspective takes in artistic movements and individual artists from the Renaissance to the present while never neglecting the … More

At the end of the First World War in Germany, the journalist and theatre critic Kurt Eisner organised a revolution which overthrew the monarchy, and declared a Free State of Bavaria. In February 1919, he was assassinated, and the revolution failed. But while the dream lived, it was the writers, the poets, the playwrights and the intellectuals who led the way.

As well as Eisner, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, and many other prominent figures in German cultural history were involved. … More

In the 18th century, as European colonization proceeded apace, one continent remained to be discovered, the mythical Terra Australis incognita. This, the largest island-continent, had been inhabited for over 60,000 years by the Aborigines, who were described by the first explorers as the ‘miserablest people in the world’. This perception was the beginning of a deep and long-lasting misapprehension, which the authors resoundingly dispel in this lively social and cultural history.

They explore how the aborigines actually came to be in Australia, their extraordinary rituals and ‘Dreamings’, and the importance of … More

Born OTD in 1844, German philosopher, cultural critic, poet & philologist, Friedrich Nietzsche. Covering topics such as nihilism, Christianity, morality and the famous ‘will to power’, the book was controversially presented as Nietzsche’s all-but-completed magnum opus containing his philosophical system.

Including some of his most interesting metaphysical and epistemological thoughts, as well as some of his most disturbing ethical and … More

In the first global overview of philosophy, Baggini travels the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought. One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world.

What we call ‘philosophy’ in the West is not even half the story. Julian Baggini sets out to expand our … More

If we remember them at all, the Sheffield pop group Pulp are remembered for jolly class warfare ditty ‘Common People’, for the celebrity of their interestingly-named frontman, for the latter waving his arse at Michael Jackson at the Brit awards, for being part of a non-movement called ‘Britpop’, and for disappearing almost without trace shortly after.

They made a few good tunes, they did some funny videos, and while they might be National Treasures, they’re nothing … More

Escher was a master of the third dimension. His lithograph Magic Mirror dates as far back as 1946. By taking such a title for the book, mathematician Bruno Ernst stressed the enrapturing spell Escher’s work invariably casts on those who see it. Ernst visited Escher every week for a year, systematically talking through his entire oeuvre with him.

Their discussions resulted in a friendship that gave Ernst intimate access to the life and conceptual world of Escher. Ernst’s … More

From poverty & a Yorkshire orphange, Read became the most significant cultural critic to come out of England in the 20th century. A man who went from being awarded a DSO after the second battle of the Somme, to starting the Institute of Contemporary Arts. For five decades Read argued that humanity had to face up to a new age of uncertainty. The historic certainties of culture, politics, morality and religion were, in Read’s view, no longer tenable.

For Read, in our age of change, the arts are a tool for adjusting and surviving: Art is a biological … More