What happened to the European mind between 1605, when an audience watching Macbeth at the Globe might believe that regicide was such an aberration of the natural order that ghosts could burst from the ground, and 1649, when a large crowd could stand and watch the execution of a king? In this turbulent period, science moved from the alchemy and astrology of John Dee to the painstaking observation and astronomy of Galileo. And if the old ways still lingered and affected the new mindset, Descartes’ dualism presented an attempt to square the new philosophy with religious belief. By the end of that tumultuous century “the greatest ever change in the mental outlook of humanity” had irrevocably taken place.
Keen’s incisive critique The Internet is Not the Answer traces the development of the net through the waves of start-ups and the rise of the big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity. He shows how the Web has had a deeply negative effect on our culture, economy and society. Phillips’ Trust Me, PR is Dead asks whether we can ever really trust companies and their stories in an age when technology not only allows transparency, but demands it. Keen is executive director of the Silicon Valley salon FutureCast and the author of Digital Vertigo and The Cult of the Amateur. Phillips was CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest PR company, before leaving to set up Jericho Chambers.
Forna’s The Hired Man is a powerful novel about the indelible effects of war and the memories which stir beneath the silence of a quiet Croatian town. Meek’s The Heart Broke In is a rich, ambitious family drama of love, death and money in the era of gene therapy and internet exposés.
You know all about the phone hacking trial, don’t you? Rebekah Brooks was acquitted and Andy Coulson went to jail. But why? Why was Brooks, the public face of the phone hacking scandal, found not guilty on all charges? Why did Coulson’s expensive defense not impress reporters? What impact did Rupert Murdoch’s millons have on the trial? And why did the jurors reach the decisions they did?
This is the story of how paper, a simple Chinese invention, has wrapped itself around our world, with history’s most momentous ideas etched upon its surface. The author discusses An Unexpected History of the World’s Greatest Invention with Liz Thomson.
Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to interrogate the link between religion and bloodshed.
Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the centuries, from medieval crusaders to modern-day jihadists. Today we regard faith as a personal and private matter, but for most of history faith has informed people’s entire outlook on life, and has often been inseparable from politics. Fields of Blood is a celebration of the ancient religious ideas and movements that have promoted peace and reconciliation across millennia of civilization.
In this lecture, sumptuously illustrated with images of William Morris’ work collected at the V&A, Parry provides new insight into the embroideries, printed and woven textiles, carpets and tapestries produced by Morris & Co.
The poet celebrates the work of the canonical poets and discusses his literary philosophy: that the greatest verse arises from a harmony of mind and body, and that poetic forms originate in human necessities – breath, heartbeat, footstep, posture.
The chair of judges interviews the winner of the £60,000 2015 Prize, who was announced on 19 May in London.
Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango, which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.
Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo There Below. Seiobo There Below was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.
The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.
The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work: ‘In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.’
Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented: ‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’
The campaigning journalist argues for the mass restoration of damaged ecosystems, the reintroduction of wolves, lynx, beavers, moose and boar to Britain, and a life richer in adventure and surprise. Chaired by Horatio Clare.