Past Shows

The Concord Circle & the Birth of American Philosophy

Henry David Thoreau on his 200th birthday has invited us back to his woodsy, watery old town of Concord, Massachusetts where crystalline American prose was born and grew up.  “The biggest little place in America,” ...

Walden & the Natural World of Transcendentalism

Henry David Thoreau, our specimen of American genius in nature, wrote famously short, and long.  “Simplify,” in a one-word sentence of good advice.  But then 2-million words on 7-thousand pages in his quotable lifetime journal. ...

A Wild & Disobedient Life

Henry David Thoreau, on his 200th birthday, is an American immortal who got there the hard way – against the grain of his town and his times.  By now he’s the heroic non-conformist who modeled ...

Philip Roth

This is an archive broadcast from May 12, 2006.Philip Roth [David Miller] This Memorial Day weekend we’re talking with Philip Roth about everything. It’s a free-range conversation that gets us beyond the books and into ...

Something’s Happening Here

In the first summer of Trump, 2017, there’s something happening and it feels bigger than the Comey hearings, even Russia-gate. Who knew that a British election with an inconclusive photo finish could re-channel the anger ...

The Chomsky Effect With Robert Barsky

Noam Chomsky had two giant careers: one in the science of language, another in the rough and tumble of anti-war politics, beckoning the question is it one Chomsky or two? In our two weeks of interviewing, ...

American Socrates: The Life and Mind of Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky for 50 years has been America’s Socrates, our public pest with questions that sting … not the city-square of Athens but a vast global village in pain and now, it seems, in danger.The ...

Lessons from Nixonland

Welcome back to Nixonland: After four decades, the Oval Office is once again the seat of empire, occupied by a paranoid pilot hellbent on an unremittingly personal fight, and no holds are barred. Between US Presidents ...

Etcetera

May 28, 2015

James Wood: The Book(s) of Life

The book critic James Wood doesn’t worry about the fate of the novel — after years of reading them, writing them, reviewing them in The New Yorker and teaching them at Harvard.In his new book, The Nearest Thing ...
January 10, 2014

Amiri Baraka: Ennobled by Coltrane

Amiri Baraka‘s death prompts me to repost a conversation we had about the music of John Coltrane, which inspired Baraka and ennobled the ambitions of his Black Arts movement. “Trane was our flag,” Baraka remembered ...
June 30, 2014

Stokely Carmichael and Black Power

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act. At the end of June, 1964, Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King Jr., and hundreds of civil rights activists marched across Mississippi to register African-American voters in...
February 25, 2014

Yehudi Wyner’s Life in Music: a Composer...

Yehudi Wyner is an approachable guy in a forbidding field: contemporary “serious” music. He gives us an opening here to ask where new sounds come from. In his case new music comes out of a ...
Listen to this

For our podcast, George Scialabba is speaking about philosophy, life, and his decades-long bout with depression on the occasion of an article he wrote for The Baffler magazine, “The Endlessly Examined Life.” | Hear More
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