‘J was a paperkeeper.” The first sentence of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s hilarious novella is a satiric statement of intent; J’s function is revealed but not (...)

Lake Baikal and TransSiberian Express, Russia. Photograph: David Forman/Getty Images

Even now, as the world shrinks through the revolution in communication and travel, the mythic allure of great train journeys endures. The Finnish w(...)

Portrait of Nikolai Leskov by Valentin Serov 1894.

‘Here is God’s plenty,” remarked the English poet John Dryden of The Canterbury Tales. A similar comment could apply to the work of the 19th-century R(...)