The Novel and the Navy: Celebrating 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Northanger Abbey

December 13, 2017

Jane Austen's novels Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously in December 1817. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of these novels that bookend Austen's career, Stephanie is joined by Dr Geoff Payne to discuss Anne Elliot, Catherine Morland, the novel, and the Navy.

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The Power of Love, or Why We Read Romance Novels

November 29, 2017

Romance fiction is often unfairly maligned as silly and escapist, largely because of its association with a female readership, but in terms of popularity, nothing beats romance. This week, Stephanie and Jimmy discuss the phenomenal power of the romance novel with romance expert Associate Professor Hsu-Ming Teo. 

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How Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea has Ruined Mr. Rochester Forever

November 8, 2017

Jean Rhys's lyrical, beautiful novel Wide Sargasso Sea is a prequel of sorts to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, focusing on the story of Mr. Rochester's first wife. This week, Stephanie and Michelle discuss Jamaica, Jane Eyre, and how Jean Rhys ruined Mr. Rochester for them both forever. 


A Time for Lear: The Rise in Popularity of Shakespeare’s King Lear

November 1, 2017

King Lear is one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays, but also one of his bleakest. This week, Stephanie and Michelle are joined by Shakespearean scholar and Renaissance man, Professor Tony Cousins to discuss Lear, Cordelia, lame eighteenth-century reworkings of the play, and why King Lear became the play de jour after WWII.


Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Nobel World

October 18, 2017

Kazuo Ishiguro was recently awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature. This week, Stephanie, Michelle and Jimmy commend the Nobel Prize committee for their excellent choice. They talk Japanese cinema, floating worlds, perfect novels, and Stephanie offends Bob Dylan fans. 


The 2017 Man Booker Prize Shortlist Show

October 11, 2017

Between the two of them, Stephanie and Michelle have read the Man Booker Prize shortlist, as well as most of the longlist. This week, Stephanie and Michelle discuss the books that made it through to the shortlist, those that didn't (how did Reservoir 13 not get to the shortlist?), and predict the winner.


A Pain in the Neck: Celebrating 125 Years of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

October 4, 2017

We can't stop talking about Sherlock. To celebrate 125 years since the publication of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Stephanie and Jimmy are joined by Dr Lee O'Brien to discuss the continuing appeal of Conan Doyle's most famous creation. They discuss the lovable Watson, the beguiling Irene Adler, the surprising darkness of these stories, and why Sherlock can be such a pain in the neck. 


Men Know Best but Women Know Better: The Ever-Lasting Appeal of George Eliot’s Middlemarch

September 27, 2017

George Eliot's novel Middlemarch is often featured in lists of the best novels of all time, and it continues to be a favourite of literary critics and historians everywhere. This week, Stephanie is joined by Dr Geoff Payne and Dr Lee O'Brien to discuss Dorothea Brooke, Will Ladislaw, the ever-lasting appeal of the novel, and all things Eliot. 


A 300 Year Old Goth: Horace Walpole and The Castle of Otranto

September 20, 2017

The Castle of Otranto was the first Gothic novel: the novel that started the craze for the Gothic that's never ceased since. On Horace Walpole's 300th birthday, Stephanie is joined by Dr Lee O'Brien to discuss the ongoing appeal of the Gothic, Manfred as Gothic hero, giant helmets, and whether you're supposed to find the novel funny.


The 2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist Show

September 12, 2017

The Man Booker Dozen (otherwise known as the longlist) is about to be whittled down to six. On the eve of the shortlist announcement, Stephanie and Michelle discuss the longlisted novels, pick their favourites, and predict the novels that will go through to the shortlist.