Geoffrey Heptonstall


In the Medina

Travel Writing

Green is the colour of Islam, presumably because it is emblematic of paradise. Fertility in […]

About Shakespeare

Arts and Culture

Shakespeare discovered the secret of language. He had the advantage of living at a moment in history when a new language was coming into being. Modern English was emerging in common speech as a language of exceptional flexibility.

George Steiner: The Gift of Memory

Arts and Culture

Has Truth a Future? George Steiner’s question may have sounded over-stated when it was first asked thirty years ago, but history has revealed the prescience of Dr Steiner’s urgent concern.

Portraits of Pain

Arts and Culture

“It is in part thanks to Picasso that humanity retains its moral compass even as violence rages in the mouths of elected hypocrites of all persuasions. The importance of Guernica as a testimony is extraordinary. Aesthetically challenging and ethically uncompromising, Guernica is for many the masterwork of the modernist master.”

Istanbul: The City of Four Seasons

Travel Writing

“Istanbul is a city defined by water because its parts are separated by water. But the Bosporus is not merely a channel: it is a border between continents. If you cross to the Asian side you will not find, as visitors have been known to anticipate, signs of an Asiatic culture. “

The Theater of Peter Brook

Arts and Culture

Geoffrey Heptonstall on the unique talent and genius of theater director Peter Brook, from his early ground-breaking productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Conference of the Birds up to the uncluttered simplicity of his latest work.

Orson Welles, Essential American Artist


It is thirty years since he died, but the success and failure of Welles will continue to be discussed as his career raises questions about the relation of imaginative art to popular culture.


Arts and Culture

“It is easy to confuse sophistication with civilisation. Sophistication can be a soulless exercise in superiority rather than an appreciation of cultivated taste for its life-enhancing qualities.” The ability of art to transcend context, to become Art, cannot be a matter of chance. Nor can it can be simply a question of personal taste. There must be rules.