*83 Plotz and Ferry on Zadie Smith

In this 2019 conversation, rebroadcast now to follow up RTB 82, Elizabeth and John try their best to unpack Zadie Smith’s take on sincerity, authenticity and human sacredness; the “golden ticket” dirty secret behind our hypocritical academic meritocracy; surveillance capitalism as the “biggest capital grab of human experience in history;” and her genealogy of the novel. If we had to sum the day up with a few adjectives (and we do):  funny, provocative, resplendent, chill, generous, cantankerous.

Discussed in this episode:

Tony Judt, Postwar

Richard Hoggart, The Uses of Literacy

Nicholas Lehmann, The Big Test

Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge

Doris Lessing The Fifth Child

Muriel Spark, The Girls of Slender Means

Stephen McCauley (with JP on RTB) Barbara Pym and the Comic Novel

Hilary Mantel, Beyond Black (and others…)

Joseph O’Neill, Netherland

J. P. Toussaint, The Bathroom

Virginia Woolf, The Common ReaderA Room of One’s Own“Moments of Being”

Philip Roth, The CounterlifeExit Ghost

Listen to the episode here.

Read the transcript here.

Author: plotznik

I teach English (mainly the novel and Victorian literature) at Brandeis University, and live in Brookline.

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