Patricia Storace is the author of Heredity, a volume of poems, Dinner with Persephone, a travel memoir about Greece, and Sugar Cane, a children’s book. She is the author most recently of the novel A Book of Heaven.

 (December 2018)


Sing, Goddess

Achilles delivering Briseis to Agamemnon’s heralds; bas-relief by Antonio Canova, circa 1787–1790

The Silence of the Girls

by Pat Barker


by Madeline Miller
The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker’s unsentimental and beautiful new novel, tells the story of the Iliad as experienced by women captives, from inside the Greek camp overlooking the walls of the besieged city of Troy. They are the Greek heroes’ prizes, taken from conquered outlying towns and villages to be prostitutes, domestic workers, and, on occasion, wives.

The Shock of the Little

Whiteladies House, designed by Moray Thomas and built by William Purse, 1935; from the ‘Small Stories’ exhibition. ‘With a swimming pool, cocktail bar, and murals by the Futurist painter Claude Flight,’ Patricia Storace writes, this dollhouse ‘evokes Noël Coward’s songs in praise of madcap pranks and improvised parties, and Evelyn Waugh’s Bright Young Things.’

Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse

an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, London, December 13, 2014–September 6, 2015, and the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2016–January 22, 2017
Changing scale is one of the fundamental physical dramas of childhood, an experience of constantly being uncontrollably altered, whose translation into imagination—and knowledge—naturally preoccupies many classics of children’s literature. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice is both miniaturized and magnified. Her abrupt and helpless metamorphoses in both directions are comic, ridiculous, …

The ‘Darkness and Radiance’ of the Tale

Miranda Raison as Hermione and Kenneth Branagh as Leontes in Branagh’s and Rob Ashford’s production of The Winter’s Tale at the Garrick Theatre, London, 2015

The Gap of Time: The Winter’s Tale Retold

by Jeanette Winterson

The Winter’s Tale

by William Shakespeare, directed by Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh, Garrick Theatre, London, October 17, 2015–January 16, 2016
Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time, the inaugural volume of what Hogarth Press is calling, borrowing the language of recording studios, “cover versions” of Shakespeare’s plays, is a retelling of the late romance The Winter’s Tale, first performed at the Globe and then before King James I at court in …

Seduced by the Food on Your Plate

Boris Kustodiev: The Merchant’s Wife’s Tea, 1918

The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity

by Sandra M. Gilbert
Dr. Johnson famously suggested that a man not preoccupied with the excellence of his dinner “should be suspected of inaccuracy in other things.” If he had made that remark today, it would probably be published with a mosaic of reminiscences and images of suppers he’d had at his pub, the Cheshire Cheese, and a link to the food vocabulary in his online dictionary.


A Black Actor’s Unrequited Love for Shakespeare

Keith Hamilton Cobb in American Moor

One of the pleasures of American Moor is its portrayal of how an actor builds a character, and we come to see that a character is not only himself but also an anthology of all his relationships. To play the black warrior Othello, you have to also be able to play Desdemona, to imagine what it would be to see yourself through the adamant, principled tenderness that makes her the counterpart of Iago, as implacable in love as he is in hatred. Keith Hamilton Cobb shows us both. The audition that is the action of the play evolves into a struggle between the Actor and the Director for the soul of Othello, Shakespeare’s tragedy being played out within the audition, a lived reality: “And you think you’re not in this play?” the Actor, played by Cobb, says to the Director, as their collision becomes a matter of life and death for him.

Agnès Varda’s Double Portrait

JR and Agnès Varda in their film Faces Places, 2017

Faces Places is an unexpected—and perhaps final—gift from the visionary eighty-nine-year-old director Agnès Varda. As a collaboration with her youthful co-director, JR, an artist famous for his monumental installations of black-and-white photo portraits, the film is a double portrait. It also has a double subject: the unexpected delights and discoveries of documenting the lives of the people they encounter in corners of France, and of the bittersweet, and inevitably transitory, friendship making this film creates between the two artists, travelers in different centuries, looking at the world together and experiencing each other.