70 episodes

Close Readings is a new multi-series podcast subscription from the London Review of Books exploring different periods of literature through a selection of key works.

A new episode will appear every month from each of our Close Readings series running this year.

Listen to extracts and bonus episodes in the free version of Close Readings:
https://podcasts.apple.com/ug/podcast/close-readings/id1669485143

RUNNING IN 2024:

ON SATIRE with Colin Burrow and Clare Bucknell

Authors covered: Erasmus, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Earl of Rochester, John Gay, Alexander Pope, Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh and Muriel Spark.

HUMAN CONDITIONS with Adam Shatz, Judith Butler, Pankaj Mishra and Brent Hayes Edwards

Authors covered: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Hannah Arendt, V. S. Naipaul, Ashis Nandy, Doris Lessing, Nadezhda Mandelstam, W. E. B. Du Bois, Aimé Césaire, Amiri Baraka and Audre Lorde.

AMONG THE ANCIENTS II with Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones

Authors covered: Hesiod, Aesop, Herodotus, Pindar, Plato, Lucian, Plautus, Terence, Lucan, Tacitus, Juvenal, Apuleius, Marcus Aurelius.

Plus two bonus series, ad free:

MEDIEVAL LOLs with Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley
POLITICAL POEMS with Mark Ford and Seamus Perry

Also part of the Close Readings subscription, the full series of:

MEDIEVAL BEGINNINGS with Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley

AMONG THE ANCIENTS with Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones

THE LONG AND SHORT with Mark Ford and Seamus Perry

MODERN-ISH POETS SERIES 1 with Mark Ford and Seamus Perry (originally featured on the LRB Podcast)

Get in touch: podcasts@lrb.co.uk

Close Readings (subscription‪)‬ London Review of Books

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 26 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Close Readings is a new multi-series podcast subscription from the London Review of Books exploring different periods of literature through a selection of key works.

A new episode will appear every month from each of our Close Readings series running this year.

Listen to extracts and bonus episodes in the free version of Close Readings:
https://podcasts.apple.com/ug/podcast/close-readings/id1669485143

RUNNING IN 2024:

ON SATIRE with Colin Burrow and Clare Bucknell

Authors covered: Erasmus, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Earl of Rochester, John Gay, Alexander Pope, Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh and Muriel Spark.

HUMAN CONDITIONS with Adam Shatz, Judith Butler, Pankaj Mishra and Brent Hayes Edwards

Authors covered: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Hannah Arendt, V. S. Naipaul, Ashis Nandy, Doris Lessing, Nadezhda Mandelstam, W. E. B. Du Bois, Aimé Césaire, Amiri Baraka and Audre Lorde.

AMONG THE ANCIENTS II with Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones

Authors covered: Hesiod, Aesop, Herodotus, Pindar, Plato, Lucian, Plautus, Terence, Lucan, Tacitus, Juvenal, Apuleius, Marcus Aurelius.

Plus two bonus series, ad free:

MEDIEVAL LOLs with Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley
POLITICAL POEMS with Mark Ford and Seamus Perry

Also part of the Close Readings subscription, the full series of:

MEDIEVAL BEGINNINGS with Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley

AMONG THE ANCIENTS with Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones

THE LONG AND SHORT with Mark Ford and Seamus Perry

MODERN-ISH POETS SERIES 1 with Mark Ford and Seamus Perry (originally featured on the LRB Podcast)

Get in touch: podcasts@lrb.co.uk

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Medieval LOLs: Fabliaux

    Medieval LOLs: Fabliaux

    Fabliaux were short, witty tales originating in northern France between the 12th and 14th centuries, often featuring crafty characters in rustic settings and overwhelmingly concerned with money and sex. In this episode Irina and Mary look at two of these comic verses, both containing surprisingly explicit sexual language, and consider the ways in which they influenced Boccaccio, Chaucer and others.

    Read more in the LRB:

    Irina Dumitrescu: Making My Moan
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n09/irina-dumitrescu/making-my-moan

    Tom Shippey: Women beware midwives
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v12/n09/tom-shippey/women-beware-midwives

    Get in touch: podcasts@lrb.co.uk

    Human Conditions: ‘The Human Condition’ by Hannah Arendt

    Human Conditions: ‘The Human Condition’ by Hannah Arendt

    In the fourth episode of Human Conditions, the last of the series with Judith Butler, we fittingly turn to ‘The Human Condition’ (1956). Hannah Arendt defines action as the highest form of human activity: distinct from work and labour, action includes collaborative expression, collective decision-making and, crucially, initiating change. Focusing on the chapter on action, Judith joins Adam to explain why they consider this approach to be so innovative and incisive. Together, they discuss Arendt’s continued relevance and shortcomings, the book’s many surprising and baffling turns, and the transformative power of forgiveness. This conversation was recorded in December 2023.

    Chapters in focus:
    Prologue
    V. Action

    Buy the book: https://lrb.me/arendtcr

    On Satire: The Earl of Rochester

    On Satire: The Earl of Rochester

    According to one contemporary, the Earl of Rochester was a man who, in life as well is in poetry, ‘could not speak with any warmth, without repeated Oaths, which, upon any sort of provocation, came almost naturally from him.’ It’s certainly hard to miss Rochester's enthusiastic use of obscenities, though their precise meanings can sometimes be obscure. As a courtier to Charles II, his poetic subject was most often the licentiousness and intricate political manoeuvring of the court’s various factions, and he was far from a passive observer. In this episode Clare and Colin consider why Restoration England was such a satirical hotbed, and describe the ways in which Rochester, with a poetry rich in bravado but shot through with anxiety, transformed the persona of the satirist.

    Read more in the LRB:

    Germaine Greer: Doomed to Sincerity
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v21/n18/germaine-greer/doomed-to-sincerity

    Terry Eagleton: In an Ocean of Elizabeths
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v36/n20/terry-eagleton/in-an-ocean-of-elizabeths

    Christopher Hill: Reason, Love and Life
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v02/n22/christopher-hill/reason-love-and-life

    Get in touch: podcasts@lrb.co.uk

    Political Poems: 'Easter 1916' by W.B. Yeats

    Political Poems: 'Easter 1916' by W.B. Yeats

    Yeats’s great poem about the uprising of Irish republicans against British rule on 24 April 1916 marked a turning point in Ireland’s history and in Yeats's career. Through four stanzas Yeats enacts the transfiguration of the movement’s leaders – executed by the British shortly after the event – from ‘motley’ acquaintances to heroic martyrs, and interrogates his own attitude to nationalist violence. Mark and Seamus discuss Yeats’s reflections on the value of political commitment, his embrace of the role of national bard and the origin of the poem’s most famous line.
    Read more in the LRB:
    Terry Eagleton:
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v16/n13/terry-eagleton/spooky
    Colm Tóibín:
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v38/n07/colm-toibin/after-i-am-hanged-my-portrait-will-be-interesting
    Frank Kermode:
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v19/n06/frank-kermode/what-he-did
    Tom Paulin:
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v08/n06/tom-paulin/dreadful-sentiments

    Among the Ancients II: Herodotus

    Among the Ancients II: Herodotus

    Some of the most compelling stories of the Classical world come from Herodotus‘ Histories, an account of the Persian Wars and a thousand things besides. Emily and Tom chart a course through Herodotus‘ history-as-epic, discussing how best to understand his approach to history, ethnography and myth. Exploring a work full of surprising, dramatic and frequently funny digressions, this episode illustrates the artfulness and deep structure underpinning the Histories, and, despite his obvious Greek bias, Herodotus‘ genuine interest in and respect for cultural difference.

    Medieval LOLs: Old English Riddles

    Medieval LOLs: Old English Riddles

    Riddles are an ancient and universal form, but few people seem to have enjoyed them more than English Benedictine monks. The Exeter Book, a tenth century monastic collection of Old English verse, builds on the riddle tradition in two striking ways: first, the riddles don’t come with answers; second, they are sexually suggestive. Were they intended to test the moral purity of the reader? Are they simply mischievous rhetorical exercises? Mary and Irina read some of them and consider why Anglo-Saxon culture was so obsessed with the enigmatic.

    Read more in the LRB:

    Marina Warner: Doubly Damned
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v29/n03/marina-warner/doubly-damned

    Mary Wellesley: Marking Parchment
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v40/n16/mary-wellesley/short-cuts

    Barbara Everett: Poetry and Soda
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v03/n02/barbara-everett/poetry-and-soda

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

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