182 episodes

Since 1850, Harper’s Magazine has provided its readers with a unique perspective on the issues that drive our national conversation, featuring writing from some of the most promising to most distinguished names in literature–from Barbara Ehrenreich to Rachel Kushner. Every week, host Violet Lucca joins her colleagues and contributing writers to provide listeners with a deep dive into these topics and the craft of long-form narrative journalism.

harpersmagazine.substack.com

The Harper’s Podcast Harper's Magazine

    • News
    • 4.3 • 135 Ratings

Since 1850, Harper’s Magazine has provided its readers with a unique perspective on the issues that drive our national conversation, featuring writing from some of the most promising to most distinguished names in literature–from Barbara Ehrenreich to Rachel Kushner. Every week, host Violet Lucca joins her colleagues and contributing writers to provide listeners with a deep dive into these topics and the craft of long-form narrative journalism.

harpersmagazine.substack.com

    Pulp Fiction

    Pulp Fiction

    Inspired by the pulp collectors Gary Lovisi and Lucille Cali, Harper’s Magazine senior editor Joe Kloc embarked on a freewheeling search for a magazine lost to time: the inaugural issue of Golden Fleece Historical Adventure. In this week’s episode, Kloc joins Violet Lucca to discuss his adventures exploring the world of pulp magazines, the act of collecting, and Lost at Sea, a book based on a previous feature Kloc wrote for Harper’s, slated for release in 2025.
    * Subscribe to Harper’s for only $16.97: harpers.org/save
    * “The Golden Fleece” 
    * “Empathy, My Dear Sherlock”
    * “Lost at Sea”
    * 3:55 “What appealed to me about Gary and pulp collecting in general is, this is really for the love of the game.”
    * 4:06 “I was interested in the idea that people would be so passionate about those objects when it didn’t have that same monetary incentive.” 
    * 16:20 “Pulps technically mean only the magazines, not the paperbacks.” 
    * 19:00 “These pulp writers became those comic book writers. Those comic books become comic book movies, and these comic book movies are constantly competing for your attention.” 
    * 25:52 “It gives you a feeling of being a child and remembering a time when all was before you and anything could happen.” 
    * 27:28 “These objects carry a deeper meaning, even if they’ve been destroyed or lost.” 
    * 37:18 “It’s hard to describe the power of Sherlock Holmes in the pulp collecting world.” 
    * 41:02 “I’m not going to let go of my imagination. It always has been fun to think like this and it always will be fun to think like this.” 
    * 44:40 “It’s a form of vernacular creativity.” 


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit harpersmagazine.substack.com

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Party Fouls

    Party Fouls

    With Trump as the forerunning Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, the Democratic Party appears to be falling back on the same familiar logic: better than the alternative. But certain progressive candidates are still looking to disrupt the status quo, however unlikely support from the establishment left may be. In this week’s episode, Harper’s Magazine’s Washington editor, Andrew Cockburn, joins senior editor Elena Saavedra Buckley to survey the landscape of the 2024 election with a focus on three insurgent candidates: Marianne Williamson, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Cornel West. 
    Subscribe to Harper’s for only $16.97: harpers.org/save 
    * Andrew Cockburn’s article “Against the Current” 
    * An interview with Dmitri Mehlhorn in the Intercept 
    * 3:03: “Popping up on the picket line is actually a very hard turn for him as a president.” 
    * 4:08: “It’s Trump all over, fake populism as usual.” 
    * 5:40: “It’s only when the DNC decided to throw its full weight behind him … then Biden was popular for a while.”
    * 7:42: “He’s really not that old.” 
    * 12:10: “I can’t think of any example where a president nominates a strong alternative. Instinctively no leader wants to be encouraging a potential rival.”
    * 14:39: “You don’t get anywhere by promising to make people’s lives better. The only thing you can do is convince people the alternative is worse, which is an infinitely depressing point of view.” 
    * 17:30: “Obviously the candidate who has gotten the most attention has been Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and he has evoked a hysterical response.” 
    * 19:14: “Marianne Williamson, who has gotten much less attention, has detailed proposals on everything.” 
    * 19:53: “Cornel West has the most straightforwardly progressive agenda.” 
    * 26:58: “She said the Republicans were like the dog who caught the car, and it was a car full of angry women.” 
    * 28:44: “When people are asked why they don’t support Biden, they always cite the economy. The economy seems to be doing well, and yet, people are hurting.” 
    * 31:38: “It’s getting late now for any kind of insurgency.” 
    * 39:40: “The other fear is that people who would never vote for Trump can’t be bothered to vote for Biden or stay home.”


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit harpersmagazine.substack.com

    • 41 min
    From the Audio Archive: Rachel Kushner

    From the Audio Archive: Rachel Kushner

    Today we’re rerunning an episode from 2018 featuring two interviews with Harper’s Magazine’s former New Books columnist, Lidija Haas, and with our current Easy Chair columnist Rachel Kushner. Listen in advance of our event tonight at the Center for Fiction, “What Happened to Gen X?,” which will see Harper’s editor Christopher Beha in conversation with his generational peers Rachel Kushner and Ethan Hawke as they explore the question at the center of our September issue.
    Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee—and Brett Kavanaugh’s irate response—was an excruciating bit of political theater, complete with righteous speeches from both sides of the aisle. (It also proved to be not much more than spectacle, as Kavanaugh was sworn in as an associate justice earlier this week.) Nevertheless, the event illustrated how we are socialized to perform and understand gender, race, and class. In this episode, New Books columnist Lidija Haas joined Harper’s web editor Violet Lucca to discuss a handful of recent publications that deal with these issues: Lacy M. Johnson’s The Reckonings, Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad, and Kristen M. Ghoddsee’s Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism. In the second segment, Rachel Kushner, the author of The Mars Room and Telex From Cuba joined Lucca to discuss an essay she wrote that was included in the October 2018 issue’s Readings section, pulled from her memories of the late Nineties New York art world.
    Subscribe to Harper’s for only $16.97: harpers.org/save 
    * “Learning to Wait,” Rachel Kushner’s latest column for the October issue of Harper’s
    * Rachel Kushner’s latest book, The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000–2020
    * Lidija Haas in the Harper’s archive
    * Lidija Haas’s review of Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad for Bookforum
    * “Red Letter Days,” Rachel Kushner’s 2018 essay on the late Nineties New York art world
    * “What Happened to Gen X?”, our event tonight at the Center for Fiction


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit harpersmagazine.substack.com

    • 57 min
    Hamed Esmaeilion

    Hamed Esmaeilion

    Isolated for years by strict censorship laws, community infighting, and language barriers, the writer Amir Ahmadi Arian often turned to Hamed Esmaeilion’s work for solace. In addition to authoring short stories and two novels, Esmaeilion chronicled mundane moments with his family on a blog that resonated deeply with Arian, someone of the same generation also working and living in the Iranian diaspora. Following the tragic death of Esmaeilion’s wife and daughter in the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in 2020, Arian witnessed his friend publicly mourn his family and transform his fury into action. Arian sat down with Christopher Beha, the editor of Harper’s Magazine, to discuss Esmaeilion’s journey into activism and the responsibility of Iranian diasporic artists.
    Subscribe to Harper’s for only $16.97: harpers.org/save 
    * “Waiting for the Lights,” Amir Ahmadi Arian’s report in the September issue of Harper’s
    * Arian’s English-language debut novel, Then the Fish Swallowed Him  
    * Esmaeilion on his memoir, It Snows in This House 
    * Canada’s response to the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 tragedy 
    * 7:24: “Before thinking about how to develop your characters, or how you structure the story, or the themes you want to focus on, the first thing you had to consider was: Will the book I am writing survive the censorship office” 
    * 9:01: “I think it’s kind of a miracle we still have a literary culture, given the circumstances.” 
    * 13:00: “The whole process is made to intimidate you, to show you that they know more about you than you would think and actually use it against you.” 
    * 13:29: “He was being interrogated when his father-in-law passed away.” 
    * 26:52: “So you go through all this difficulty, all this trouble, to just have an ordinary life.” 
    * 28:31: “It’s not so much a decision that he made to pursue justice, it’s just an inevitable turn of events. There’s nothing else left to do.” 
    * 33:12: “There was this hunger for any figure outside of Iran that could bring people together.”
    * 37:52: “All walks of life, all stripes, they were there, they were together shouting the same thing.” 
    * 40:05: “The thing about the government in Iran is they have mastered the art, if you can call it the art, of containing any kind of revolutionary mass protest.” 
    * 44:43: “The way out of Iran has been pretty much a one-way road.” 
    * 47:17: “I have the freedom to tell what I want to tell, to tell the stories that I think are untold and unknown, while carrying the life that I had in my chest.”


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit harpersmagazine.substack.com

    • 48 min
    The Gen X Novel

    The Gen X Novel

    Reviewing Zadie Smith’s The Fraud for the latest issue of Harper’s Magazine, Adam Kirsch takes stock of Generation X as a literary phenomenon. He finds “Gen X lit” to be composed of two distinct waves, between which Smith is caught. The younger wave, including writers Ben Lerner, Teju Cole, Sheila Heti, and Tao Lin, has formed its ideas about art, culture, and society partly in opposition to predecessors like David Foster Wallace, Elizabeth Wurtzel, and Dave Eggers—who claimed a great moral power for art—and partly in response to the younger millennials, who question whether art has any value at all. Kirsch is joined in this episode by Harper’s deputy editor Jon Baskin to discuss how Smith’s historical fiction operates within this literary lineage, why autofiction came to succeed the confessional memoirs of the Nineties, and what the novel form can do for us.
    * Subscribe to Harper’s for only $16.97: harpers.org/save
    * “Come as You Are” Adam Kirsch’s review in the September issue of Harper’s
    * “My Generation” Justin E. H. Smith’s essay in the September issue of Harper’s
    * 6:01: “Instead of rushing up to the reader and giving them a bear hug and saying, ‘This is who I am, please love me,’ which I think is a sense that I often get from David Foster Wallace, these younger writers are a lot more complex and ironic and elusive.”
    * 8:46: “Autofiction makes it possible to emphasize the moral ambiguities that memoir has to apologize for or hide.”
    * 14:21: “Smith is writing about things that have come up in her fiction since the beginning—things like: Is it my job to be politically virtuous as a writer? Or am I supposed to be telling some other kind of truth? Is there some sort of artistic mission that is somehow removed from political virtue?”
    * 18:44: “If you step back and make it an alternative reality—in this case, something in the past—you can make more of an effort to see all the way around the subject. And that’s something that Smith does very well in The Fraud.”
    * 31:06: “So much of it is about this sort of solidness and resistance to getting involved in things … As we get older and assume different roles in life, something of that remains, the desire to be a sort of Bartleby and say no rather than yes—maybe that’s what Gen X will be remembered for.”


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit harpersmagazine.substack.com

    • 31 min
    Generation X

    Generation X

    In his September cover story for Harper’s, Justin E. H. Smith sets out to define Generation X, that nameless cohort wedged between boomers and millennials whose members, in midlife, now face “an annihilation of almost everything that once oriented us.” Smith argues that Gen X, having come of age before the erosion of fixtures like liberal democracy and rock and roll, failed to protect postwar counterculture from commercialism and corporatization. As debates about art and politics loom large today, Smith affirms the essential link between the two while championing what he identifies as his generation’s core pursuit of artistic autonomy and human liberation. Editor of Harper’s and fellow Gen Xer Christopher Beha sat down with Smith to discuss intergenerational relations, how Smith’s essay evolved over the editorial process, and how art at its best interrogates the arguable and not the obvious.
    * Subscribe to Harper’s for only $16.97: harpers.org/save
    * “My Generation” Justin E. H. Smith’s essay in the September issue of Harper’s
    * “Permanent Pandemic” Justin E. H. Smith’s piece from June 2022 about the endurance and overextension of COVID-19 digital infrastructure
    * 2:24: “my ideal audience is Harper’s readers”
    * 3:22: the relationship between art and politics
    * 19:07: “as a teenager in the 1980s, there was a widespread sense that our era was kind of a weak aftershock of what our parents had experienced.”
    * 27:04: “I think one way to think about this generation is a generation that came of age intellectually and emotionally and perhaps politically before the September 11 attacks.”
    * 37:06: “If we think that the state of emergency requires of us that we stop thinking about art as an autonomous sphere of creation … once you’ve lost that, you’ve lost everything.”


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit harpersmagazine.substack.com

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
135 Ratings

135 Ratings

SoupsTroups ,

Unserious approach makes it a tough listen

I am a magazine subscriber and want to be a regular listener. But the loose, chummy, often giggly tone of the episodes detracts from the material for me. It’s not in service of the listener to focus more on banter than the subject. For demographic reference, I’m an older millennial.

Socialfit ,

Enjoyed

I enjoyed the podcast and found the information truly interesting and definitely worth listening to. Keep up the good work. Stay well, friends.
JST-

JohnRMB ,

This podcast could be so much better

I read Harpers regularly, and really like the guests on the podcast. But the uneven, bubbly tone of the host ruins this for me. Why not just have the great Harpers contributors come talk, with a straightforward interview? This is a missed opportunity to be a good podcast, in my view.

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