The LRB Podcast

Weekly conversations drawn from the pages of the LRB, with hosts Thomas Jones, Adam Shatz and Malin Hay.

Where does culture come from?

Terry Eagleton, 24 April 2024

24 April 2024 · 1hr

The word ‘culture’ now drags the term ‘wars’ in its wake, but this is too narrow an approach to a concept with a much more capacious history. In the closing LRB Winter Lecture for 2024, Terry Eagleton examines various aspects of that history – culture and power, culture and ethics, culture and critique, culture and ideology – in an attempt to broaden the argument and understand where we are now.

Remembering the Future

Hazel V. Carby and Adam Shatz, 24 April 2024

17 April 2024 · 38mins

In her recent LRB Winter Lecture, Hazel V. Carby considered the ways that contemporary Indigenous artists are making the ordinarily invisible repercussions of ecocide and genocide visible. She joins Adam Shatz to expand on the artists discussed in her lecture, and how they disrupt the ways we’re accustomed to seeing borders, landmasses and landscapes empty – or emptied – of people.

Leaving Haiti

Pooja Bhatia and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

10 April 2024 · 46mins

Since the 2010 earthquake, ordinary life in Haiti has become increasingly untenable: in January this year, armed gangs controlled around 80 per cent of the capital. Pooja Bhatia joins Tom to discuss Haitian immigration to Chile and the US, the self-defeating nature of US immigration policy and the double binds Haitian refugees find themselves in.

Gurle Talk

Mary Wellesley and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

3 April 2024 · 30mins

Modern English speakers struggle to find sexual terms that aren’t either obscene or scientific, but that wasn’t always the case. Mary Wellesley joins Tom to discuss the changing language of women’s anatomy, work and lives.

Repopulating Architecture

Rosemary Hill and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

27 March 2024 · 49mins

Rosemary Hill celebrates architecture as a social, collaborative endeavour, where human need (and human greed) stymies starchitectural vision. Rosemary takes Tom on a tour of British and Irish architecture, from the Reformation through industrialisation, featuring big egos, unexpected outcomes and at least one architect she thinks it’s ‘completely fair’ to call a villain. 

The Shoah After Gaza

Pankaj Mishra and Adam Shatz, 24 April 2024

20 March 2024 · 57mins

Pankaj Mishra joins Adam Shatz to discuss his recent LRB Winter Lecture, in which he explores Israel’s instrumentalisation of the Holocaust. He expands on his readings of Jean Améry and Primo Levi, the crisis as understood by the Global South and Zionism’s appeal for Hindu nationalists.

The Acid House Revolution

Chal Ravens and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

13 March 2024 · 1hr 01min

Between 1988 and 1994, the UK scrambled to make sense of acid house, withe its radical new sounds, new drugs and new ways of partying. In a recent piece for the paper, Chal Ravens joins Tom to unpack the social currents channelled through the free party scene and the long history of countercultural ‘collective festivity’ in England.

On Giving Up

Adam Phillips and Hermione Lee, 24 April 2024

6 March 2024 · 51mins

When is giving up not failure, but a way of succeeding at something else? In this conversation with Hermione Lee, recorded at the London Review Bookshop, the psychoanalyst and critic Adam Phillips explores the ways in which knowing our limitations can be an act of heroism. 

On the Jewish Novel

Deborah Friedell and Adam Thirlwell, 24 April 2024

28 February 2024 · 55mins

When Deborah Friedell and Adam Thirlwell met twenty years ago, they started a discussion about Jewish identity they are still puzzling over today. Revisiting Philip Roth’s The Counterlife (1986), Adam and Deborah discuss the nuances of Jewish experience and novel-writing across the Atlantic.

Dr Comfort, Mr Sex

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

21 February 2024 · 53mins

Gerontologist, pacifist, novelist, medical doctor and mollusc expert – Alex Comfort was far more than just the author of the staggeringly popular Joy of Sex. Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite joins Tom to trace Comfort’s life from evangelical child prodigy to the anarchist free love advocate who became emblematic of the sexual liberation movement.

The World's First Author

Anna Della Subin and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

14 February 2024 · 45mins

Anna Della Subin joins Tom to discuss some new translations of poetry by Enheduana, a Sumerian princess who lived around 2300 BCE and is thought to be the first known author.

Protest, what is it good for?

James Butler and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

7 February 2024 · 59mins

Despite overwhelming numbers and popular support, the mass protest movements of the 2010s failed to achieve their aims. James Butler joins Tom to make sense of the ‘mass protest decade’, sharing historical examples, theoretical approaches and first-hand experiences that help explain the defeats of the 2010s.

War in Tigray

Tom Stevenson and Thomas Jones, 24 April 2024

24 January 2024 · 45mins

Ethiopia is one of the world’s most populous countries, and yet the 2020-22 Tigray War and ongoing suffering in the region has been largely ignored by the world at large. Tom Stevenson joins the podcast to break down the history of the conflict, and explore why Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel laureate, has come to preside over such a brutal civil war. He also considers Abiy’s future intentions, both within and beyond his country’s borders.

Medieval LOLs: Chaucer's 'Miller's Tale'

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley, 24 April 2024

17 January 2024 · 30mins

Were the Middle Ages funny? Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley begin their series in quest of the medieval sense of humour with Chaucer’s 'Miller’s Tale', a story that is surely still (almost) as funny as when it was written six hundred years ago.