Author: dav

The Secret Lives Of Somerset Maugham By Selina Hastings

John Murray, 614 pp, £25.00 Review by William Boyd I still possess my 1967 Penguin paperback of Somerset Maugham’s A Writer’s Notebook.  Ostensibly a distillation of his diary, kept over some 50 years, it was more interesting to the aspiring novelist for the gnomic advice Maugham offered on the craft of writing. ‘There’s no need for […]

The Writer, The City And The Park A Personal A – Z

By William Boyd A – Angus Wilson (1913-1991), novelist and short story writer, identified what he called an essential dichotomy in the English realistic novel dating back to Samuel Richardson in the 18th century, namely the concepts of ‘town’ and ‘country’ and the opposing values centred around them.  The division is an intriguing one, even today, […]

War Films

By William Boyd When I was preparing to shoot my World War I film The Trench (1999) I deliberately set myself two serious challenges.  However the film turned out – good, bad or indifferent — I wanted to be able to put my hand on my heart and to say, first, that it was as factually accurate […]

Notes Towards A Definition Of A Film Director

By William Boyd Howard Hawkes defined a successful film in this way: ‘Three good scenes. No bad scenes‘.  If only it were that easy, you think.  Your name is Alan Smithee1 and you want to be a film director.     ‘Film director’ is a catch-all phrase and many sub-groups are contained within it.  They include those […]

The Artist

by William Boyd A couple of years ago I was approached by the producer Hilary Bevan Jones and asked to write a short, silent film.  It was only to be ‘silent’ in the sense that dialogue was banned – music, sound effects and so forth were all permitted.  The challenge was irresistible and I wrote […]

Paul Joyce

Introduction by William Boyd Photography has been called the ‘artless art’ — the somewhat facile implication behind the adjective being that anyone with a camera is capable, by hazard, of producing a great or striking photograph.  A combination of chance, circumstance, the camera and its capacities (increasingly sophisticated in this digital age) coheres in the […]

The Leopold Museum

By William Boyd In 1969, when I was seventeen and sitting my Art ‘A’ level (I had dreams of becoming a painter, then), my constant book of reference was A Dictionary of Modern Painting, published by Methuen. This was a highly eclectic and scholarly A-to-Z (from Apollinaire to Zandomeneghi) some 400 pages long with contributions from […]

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