The State of...

The State of… is a new podcast from the London Review of Books which aims to take the temperature of our contemporary culture, assessing the condition of the arts, politics and society. On each episode LRB editors Joanna Biggs and Tom Crewe will be joined by two guests trying to understand a little better the state of our times.

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Mary-Kay Wilmers and Rosemary Hill join Joanna Biggs and Tom Crewe to talk about the state of our clothes. Anne Hollander once wrote in the LRB that ‘clothes exist to remind the self of the body, and to create a worldly body for each person’, and our guests use this as a starting point to discuss how we try to use clothes to reveal and conceal things about ourselves.

Related reading:

Anne Hollander: How he got out of them

Anita Brookner: Dressing and Undressing

Angela Carter: The Latest Thing

E. S. Turner: Wrong Trousers

Rosemary Hill: Frock Consciousness

Elaine Showalter: Fade to Greige

David Nasaw: Everyone, The No One

Jenny Diski: The Khugistic Scandal

Kevin Kopelson: I want to be her clothes

Joanna Biggs: Short Cuts

Alice Spawls: Does one flare of cling?

Joanna Biggs and Tom Crewe are joined by William Davies and Lorna Finlayson to discuss the state of the nation - the UK - in the age of Brexit. Spoiler: there are no predictions here! Instead, they talk about the trouble they have identifying with their own side, how the issue of Europe came to represent the UK's growing internal divisions, and whether we should be excited or terrified by seeing our democratic system put through its paces.

Related reading:

William Davies: Leave, and Leave Again

Lorna Finlayson: Protest Politics

Tom Crewe: The Independent Group

Jonathan Parry: Educating the Nation

Ferdinand Mount: 'Just get us out'

David Runciman: The Brexit Puzzle

James Meek: NHS SOS

James Meek: Brexit Myths of Englishness

On our first episode, Patricia Lockwood and John Lanchester join Joanna and Tom to assess the state of the internet, covering podcasts, porn, Twitter, Facebook and their first memories of being online.

Related reading:

Patricia Lockwood: The Communal Mind

John Lanchester: You Are the Product

Tom Crewe: Colourisation

More podcasts

LRB Readings

On the LRB Readings podcast, listen to a mixture of readings and discussions, including our Close Readings series in which Seamus Perry and Mark Ford examine the lives and works of 20th century poets through the lens of pieces in the LRB archive:

Auden Anxieties

Looking at Larkin

Arch Bishop

Hardy’s Neutral Tones

The Idea of Stevie


Uneven Stevens


Lowell Studies

Heaney Overheard

Talking Politics

Corbyn! Trump! Brexit! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting. Brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, Talking Politics is the podcast that tries to make sense of it all. Every Thursday, David Runciman discusses pressing political questions – and their longer-term causes and effects – with his regular panel of colleagues from the Cambridge University politics department, as well as novelists, comedians, historians, philosophers, LRB contributors and even a few politicians. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Acast or your preferred player.