The shocking story of Charles and Mary Lamb: Slightly Foxed podcast reviewed

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‘The Slightly Foxed podcast, like the quarterly and old bookshop of the same name, is almost muskily lovely. It’s the sort of thing you can imagine listening to with a dog at your feet and whisky by your side in a draughty Mitfordesque folly . . .

In the latest episode, Philippa, Hazel and Gail were joined down the line by biographer Felicity James to discuss the early 19th-century writers Charles and Mary Lamb. Perhaps best known today for their Tales from Shakespeare, the siblings, of whom Mary was the elder by a decade, earned some notoriety in their own time for their bond following a terrible family drama . . .

This story might have made for lurid telling, but the podcasters let James set it out plainly before interjecting with pertinent questions and steering the discussion to the Lambs’ work. The respectful quietness of Slightly Foxed is one of its virtues. Where other podcasts suffer from a crescendo of competing voices, this is steady and understated and, yes, all the cosier for being so.

I particularly enjoyed hearing of Mary ‘admiring the stale peas and cauliflowers’ on a Saturday night in the lakes with the Wordsworths. As the reading list accompanying this podcast reveals, most of the books by the Lambs and pertaining to them — collected letters, essays, biographies, children’s books — are out of print. The opportunity to hear Mary’s words read aloud was therefore all the more precious.’ Daisy Dunn, Spectator

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Foxed Podcast | Spectator Review


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