76 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

    Among the Ancients II: Plato

    Among the Ancients II: Plato

    Plato’s Symposium, his philosophical dialogue on love, or eros, was probably written around 380 BCE, but it’s set in 416, during the uneasy truce between Athens and Sparta in the middle of the Peloponnesian War. A symposium was a drinking party, though Socrates and his friends, having had a heavy evening the night before, decide to go easy on the wine and instead take turns making speeches in praise of love – at least until Alcibiades turns up, very late and very drunk. In this episode of Among the Ancients, Emily and Tom discuss the dialogue’s philosophical ideas, historical context and narrative form, and why Aristophanes gets the hiccups.


    Get the book: https://lrb.me/platocr

    Further reading:

    Donald Davidson: Plato’s Philosopher
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v07/n14/donald-davidson/plato-s-philosopher

    Anne Carson: Oh What a Night (Alkibiades)
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n22/anne-carson/oh-what-a-night-alkibiades

    M.F. Burnyeat: Art and Mimesis in Plato’s Republic
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v20/n10/m.f.-burnyeat/art-and-mimesis-in-plato-s-republic

    Medieval LOLs: Dame Syrith

    Medieval LOLs: Dame Syrith

    As Mary and Irina discussed in the previous episode of Medieval LOLs, fabliaux had an enormous influence on Chaucer, but outside of his work, only one survives in Middle English. Dame Syrith, a story of lust, deception and a mustard-eating dog, is medieval humour at its silliest and most troubling. Mary and Irina explore the surprising representations of old women, magic and consent in fabliaux, the poem’s possible role as a pedagogical tool, and medieval audiences’ love for the procuress trope.

    Further reading

    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

    Read Dame Syrith online:
    https://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/salisbury-trials-and-joys-dame-sirth

    Get in touch:
    poodcasts@lrb.co.uk

    Human Conditions: ‘A House for Mr Biswas’ by V.S. Naipaul

    Human Conditions: ‘A House for Mr Biswas’ by V.S. Naipaul

    In ‘A House for Mr Biswas’, his 1961 comic masterpiece, V.S. Naipaul pays tribute to his father and the vanishing world of his Trinidadian youth. Pankaj Mishra joins Adam Shatz in their first of four episodes to discuss the novel, a pathbreaking work of postcolonial literature and a particularly powerful influence on Pankaj himself. They explore Naipaul’s fraught relationship to modernity, and the tensions between his attachment to individual freedom and his insistence on the constraints imposed by history.

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

    Read more in the LRB:

    D.A.N. Jones: The Enchantment of Vidia Naipaul
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v06/n08/d.a.n.-jones/the-enchantment-of-vidia-naipaul

    Frank Kermode: What Naipaul Knows
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v23/n17/frank-kermode/what-naipaul-knows

    Paul Theroux: Out of Sir Vidia’s Shadow
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v44/n04/paul-theroux/diary

    Sanjay Subramahnyam: Where does he come from?
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v29/n21/sanjay-subrahmanyam/where-does-he-come-from

    On Satire: John Gay's 'The Beggar's Opera'

    On Satire: John Gay's 'The Beggar's Opera'

    In The Beggar’s Opera we enter a society turned upside down, where private vices are seen as public virtues, and the best way to survive is to assume the worst of everyone. The only force that can subvert this state of affairs is romantic love – an affection, we discover, that satire finds hard to cope with. John Gay’s 1727 smash hit ‘opera’, which ran for 62 performances in its first run, put the highwaymen, criminal gangs and politicians of the day up on stage, and offered audiences a tuneful but unnerving reflection of their own corruption and mortality. Clare and Colin discuss how this satire on the age of Walpole came about, what it did for its struggling author, and why it’s an infinitely elusive, strangely modernist work.

    Read more in the LRB:

    Frank Kermode: Liveried
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v17/n09/frank-kermode/liveried

    E.S. Turner: Delightful to be Robbed
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v24/n09/e.s.-turner/delightful-to-be-robbed

    Political Poems: 'The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Political Poems: 'The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s deeply disturbing 1847 poem about a woman escaping slavery and killing her child was written to shock its intended white female readership to the abolitionist cause. Browning was the direct descendant of slave owners in Jamaica and a fervent anti-slavery campaigner, and her dramatic monologue presents a searing attack on the hypocrisy of ‘liberty’ as enshrined in the United States constitution. Mark and Seamus look at the origins of the poem and its story, and its place among other abolitionist narratives of the time.

    Read more in the LRB:

    Matthew Bevis: Foiled by Pleasure
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v40/n16/matthew-bevis/foiled-by-pleasure

    Alethea Hayter: Reader, I married you
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v11/n07/alethea-hayter/reader-i-married-you

    John Bayley: A Question of Breathing
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v10/n14/john-bayley/a-question-of-breathing

    Colin Grant: Leave them weeping
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v41/n15/colin-grant/leave-them-weeping

    Fara Dabhoiwala: My Runaway Slave, Reward Two Guineas
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v44/n12/fara-dabhoiwala/my-runaway-slave-reward-two-guineas

    Among the Ancients II: Pindar and Bacchylides

    Among the Ancients II: Pindar and Bacchylides

    In the fifth episode of Among the Ancients II we turn to Greek lyric, focusing on Pindar’s victory odes, considered a benchmark for the sublime since antiquity, and the vivid, narrative-driven dithyrambs of Bacchylides. Through close reading, Emily and Tom tease out allusions, lexical flourishes and formal experimentation, and explain the highly contextual nature of these tightly choreographed, public-facing poems. They illustrate how precarious work could be for a praise poet in a world driven by competition – striking the right note to please your patron, guarantee the next gig, and stay on good terms with the gods.

    Further reading:

    Leofranc Holford-Strevens: Dithyrambs for Athens
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v27/n04/leofranc-holford-strevens/dithyrambs-for-athens

    Barbara Graziosi: Flower or Fungus?
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v27/n04/leofranc-holford-strevens/dithyrambs-for-athens

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Arts

Fresh Air
NPR
The Moth
The Moth
99% Invisible
Roman Mars
Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked
Snap Judgment
The Magnus Archives
Rusty Quill
LeVar Burton Reads
LeVar Burton and Stitcher

You Might Also Like

Close Readings
London Review of Books
The LRB Podcast
The London Review of Books
London Review Bookshop Podcast
London Review Bookshop
Past Present Future
David Runciman
The TLS Podcast
The TLS
Backlisted
Backlisted