261 episodes

Literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith.

The Book Club The Spectator

    • Arts
    • 4.4 • 62 Ratings

Literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith.

    Stuart Jeffries: Everything, All The Time, Everywhere

    Stuart Jeffries: Everything, All The Time, Everywhere

    This week's Book Club podcast addresses one of the most misunderstood and vilified concepts in the culture wars: postmodernism. How did this arcane theoretical position escape from academia to become a social media talking point? What the hell is it anyway? What does Jeff Koons have to do with Foucault? Is postmodernism out to destroy capitalism, or is it capitalism incarnate? And what comes after postmodernism? Stuart Jeffries - author of Everything, All The Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern - puts it all in quotes for us.

    • 41 min
    Natalie Livingstone: The Women of Rothschild

    Natalie Livingstone: The Women of Rothschild

    My guest in this week's Book Club podcast is Natalie Livingstone – whose new book The Women of Rothschild: The Untold Story of the World's Most Famous Dynasty gives the distaff dish on the banking family's long history. She discovers that the Rothschild women have been just as remarkable as the men – from early modern matriarchs to jazz-club butterflies.    

    • 45 min
    Siri Hustvedt: Mothers, Fathers and Others

    Siri Hustvedt: Mothers, Fathers and Others

    My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is the writer Siri Hustvedt, whose latest book is a collection of essays: Mothers, Fathers and Others. She tells me what literary critics get wrong, why she has a rubber brain on her desk, how Ancient Greek misogyny is still with us, why the 17th-century Duchess of Newcastle has yet to get her due – and how long it took her to stop smiling politely when people said her husband wrote her books…

    • 46 min
    Kevin Birmingham: The Sinner and The Saint

    Kevin Birmingham: The Sinner and The Saint

    My guest in this week's Book Club podcast is Kevin Birmingham, whose new book The Sinner and The Saint: Dostoevsky, A Crime and its Punishment, tells the extraordinary story of how Dostoevsky came to write Crime and Punishment – and the under-explored story of the real-life murderer whose case inspired it. Physical agony, Siberian exile, vicious state censorship, old-school nihilists – and the astonishing personal resilience of one of Russia's greatest writers... it's all here.   

    • 39 min
    Judy Golding: The Children of Lovers

    Judy Golding: The Children of Lovers

    This year Faber and Faber started the project of republishing the late Nobel Laureate William Golding's back catalogue -- starting with Pincher Martin, The Inheritors and The Spire. I'm joined by his daughter Judy Golding -- author of The Children of Lovers: A Memoir of William Golding By His Daughter -- to talk about Golding the writer and Golding the man. What were the deep fears that drove his work and were eased by drink? How did the war change his worldview? And what was the nature of the religious sensibility that underpinned his visionary allegories of folly and evil?

    • 35 min
    Paul Muldoon: Howdie-Skelp

    Paul Muldoon: Howdie-Skelp

    On this week's Book Club podcast, I'm joined by one of the most distinguished poets in the language, Paul Muldoon, to talk about his new book Howdie-Skelp. He tells me of his unfashionable belief in inspiration; why he thinks poetry -- even his -- needn't be difficult just because it's difficult; how writing song lyrics differs from writing poetry; and how he came to work with Sir Paul McCartney. 

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 Ratings

Buhlteufelin ,

Douglas-Fairhurst is wonderful

The ever fascinating Robert Douglas-Fairhurst was a great guest and the subsequent episode with Borch Jacobsen was intriguing and soberly radical. Excellent podcast.

Destael ,

Wonderful surprise

All the interviews on this podcast are typically informative and well done as a rule however I just had a good surprise today. Tessa Dunlop was interviewed about Army Girls. I didn’t expect it to be as fascinating and vivid as it turned out to be—nothing negative about her of course —it’s just that military topics are not usually what I turn to with interest. She was outstanding and I loved every minute of the interview. Can’t wait to get the book now.

sextus Pompeius ,

can do without idiotic laughter

Generally it’s very good and by far the best of its kind available, better than radio 4’s equivalents now. Occasional slips, like Frances Wilson on Lawrence—spoiled by irritating laughter throughout.

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