Tom talks to Colin Burrow about a new book by Christopher Ricks, regarded by some as the greatest living literary critic. They also look back at his previous studies of, among others, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot and Bob Dylan, and consider the rewards and limitations of the Ricks critical method, characterised by close verbal analysis and a tendency to treat all texts equally.
David Runciman talks to Thomas Jones about Silicon Valley’s best known investor-provocateur, his prescience, his mistakes, and why, despite his ultra-libertarian ideology, he owes so much to the state.
Daniel Soar talks to Thomas Jones about the sixth taste, variously translated as ‘mouthfulness’, ‘thickness’ and ‘lingeringness’, apparently discovered by the Japanese company Ajinomoto, and its origins in the twisty and opaque story of MSG in North America.
David Trotter talks to Joanne O’Leary about the novels and stories of Elizabeth Bowen, from her weird families and idiosyncrasies of style, to her mastery of atmospherics and prescient use of technology to shape her characters.
Stephen Frears talks to Andrew O’Hagan about making movies in America, to mark the publication of a new collection of LRB essays on Hollywood. He describes being protected by Scorsese, learning from Billy Wilder, and why films often had budgets of $39 million.
John Lanchester talks to Thomas Jones about ‘visible’ cheating in sport, that is, the kind which is against the rules but within the ethos of the game, from diving in football to bodyline bowling in cricket.
James Meek talks to Thomas Jones about the connected fates of two wind tower factories, one in Scotland, the other in Vietnam, and asks why the determination to achieve a green future isn’t matched by a determination to ensure fair wages and good conditions for the workers who will make it possible.
Toril Moi talks to Joanna Biggs about the French philosopher Simone Weil, whose short and uncompromising life became a workshop for her revolutionary ideas about labour, human suffering and the power of paying attention.
Deborah Friedell talks to Thomas Jones about the Rosenbergs, from their early years on the Lower East Side of New York to their execution for conspiracy to commit espionage in 1953, and the significance of their trial in American public life, not least as a platform for Donald Trump’s future lawyer, Roy Cohn.
Niamh Gallagher talks to Thomas Jones about the history of the Irish border, from its origins in the 1920s to today, the way it has shaped Irish politics in both the south and north, and why the Troubles can’t be repeated.
Tariq Ali talks to Thomas Jones about a newly reissued biography of the Prophet by Maxime Rodinson, and the historic prevalence of Arabic culture in the West, from Don Quixote to Trafalgar Square.
Legendary cartoonist Art Spiegelman talks to Thomas Jones about his latest book, Street Cop, a collaboration with Robert Coover, and looks back on previous work including Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers, which was originally published in the LRB.