Our 2020 LRB Winter Lectures at the British Museum

Colin Burrow: Fiction and the Age of Lies

Friday 31 January 2020, 18:30

The line between making a fiction and telling a lie has been blurry at least since Homer, and liars – from Odysseus and Iago to Austen’s Wickham and beyond – have often played central parts within fictions. This lecture will aim to tell some (though not all) of the truth about the relationship between lies and fiction from Homer to Ian McEwan, and will ask if fiction has responded adequately to the maggoty abundance of lies in public life at the present time.

Colin Burrow is a fellow of All Souls. His latest book is Imitating Authors: Plato to Futurity.

Meehan Crist: Is it OK to have children?

Friday 14 February 2020, 18:30

Given what we know about the future of the planet, is having children a matter of consumer choice, of political conviction, or something an authority will eventually decide for us? Meehan Crist explores the debate about the ethics of childbearing in the age of climate crisis. She will also address the relationship between BP and the British Museum, the implications of culture-washing, and the logic of cultural divestment initiatives.

Meehan Crist is writer in residence in biological sciences at Columbia University. She is a founding member of NeuWrite and the host of Convergence: a show about the future.

Richard Lloyd Parry: Akihito and the Sorrow of Japan

Friday 28 February 2020, 18:30

Akihito, who abdicated in April, was a paradoxical figure: a hereditary monarch, the son of the wartime emperor, Hirohito, strictly barred from political utterance, who even so stood out against the historical revisionism of the nationalist right. Richard Lloyd Parry considers the former emperor’s part in the intellectual and political debate over Japan’s wartime record, and its history of apology – or non-apology – for its conduct in East Asia.

Richard Lloyd Parry is Asia editor at the Times. His latest book is Ghosts of the Tsunami, about the 2011 disaster in Japan.

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