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Episode 6: Well-Written Lives

Gail, Hazel, Jennie and host Philippa are joined at the table by eminent biographer Adam Sisman to discuss the delicate business of delving into the lives of others – warts and all or, sometimes, all warts no all. The actor Nigel Anthony lends his voice to Edward Lear’s surreal verbal contortions, unearthing the deep sorrow that hid beneath the nonsense.

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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 38 minutes; 06 seconds)

Books Mentioned

– Eric Newby, Love and War in the Apennines will be published as a Slightly Foxed Edition in clothbound hardback on 1 June. Now available to pre-order (1:50)

– Adam Sisman, Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography, is out of print, but we may be able to get hold of second-hand copies. Please get in touch for details (8:30)

– Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Last Days of Hitler (8:42)

– Adam Sisman, John le Carré: The Biography (9:32)

– Adam Sisman, The Professor and the Parson is published on 9 May, and will be available to order in the Summer 2019 Readers’ Catalogue and on the Slightly Foxed website (12:32)

– Adam Sisman, Boswell’s Presumptuous Task, is out of print, but we may be able to get hold of second-hand copies. Please get in touch for details (14:16)

– Richard Hillary, The Last Enemy. This Slightly Foxed Edition is also available in a bundle with Sebastian Faulks, The Fatal Englishman (17:11)

– Vivien Noakes, Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer, is out of print, but we may be able to get hold of second-hand copies. Please get in touch for details (19:24)

– Kingsley Amis, The Green Man, on which an article by William Palmer appears in Slightly Foxed Issue 20 (27:58)

My Grandfather & Father, Dear Father, by Denis Constanduros are available in a single edition or in a special Last Call Bundle together with the last copies of our earliest available limited-edition, The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley (28.25)

– Bart van Es, The Cut Out Girl (29:30) – Tim Pears, The West Country Trilogy: The Horseman, The Wanderers and The Redeemed (31:00)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles & Illustrations

Adam Sisman’s article on Hugh Trevor-Roper’s The Last Days of Hitler is published in Slightly Foxed Issue 61 (8:44)

William Palmer’s article on Vivien Noakes, Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer was published in Slightly Foxed Issue 56 (19:24)

Read an extract from Chapter VIII of My Grandfather & Father, Dear Father by Denis Constanduros (28:41)

Other Links

– Bart van Es won the 2018 Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize for The Cut Out Girl. The award party was held at Maggs Bros. Ltd (2:31)

– The Slightly Foxed 2019 Readers’ Day will be held on Saturday 2 November at The Art Workers Guild in Bloomsbury, London. Tickets will go on sale late May/early June, to Slightly Foxed magazine subscribers only. From £60 for a day ticket (3:44)

– The Slightly Foxed Spring 2019 Readers’ Catalogue is available to view and download. The Summer Catalogue will be available on 1 June (18:16)

– Nigel Anthony stars in a Jarvis & Ayres Production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal for BBC Radio 3, released soon (25:55)

Music and sound effects:

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach
Archive reading music: Erik Satie, Gymnopedie No 3 played by Kevin MacLeod, thanks to www.freemusicarchive.org

The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable

Comments & Reviews

Leave a comment

  1. B. Carriger, Missouri, USA says:

    I do so love the podcasts! I like to listen in bed after reading a little Slightly Foxed, and before turning off the light. You ladies are doing such a wonderful job. I will continue to enjoy!

  2. L. Wicksteed, Surrey says:

    Well, that was terrific! So interesting to hear how you work, to get some in-depth chat on a couple of topics and lots of alluring snippets on many others. The podcast web page is beautifully presented as well.

  3. G. Cotter, Lancashire says:

    ‘I’m really enjoying the podcasts. An oasis of civilized peace in a world that has gone raving mad.’

  4. Pam Kent says:

    I could listen to your podcasts all day. They are soothing and stimulating at the same time.

  5. Robin Knight says:

    Since I wrote last for Slightly Foxed, I’ve had two books published – a school history for the centenary of Pangbourne College (2016); and a biography The Extraordinary Life of Mike Cumberlege SOE (2018). The first contained six chapters relating to the doings of living persons – one quite tricky. The second was largely research – based about the life of someone who was killed in 1945 aged 39 and came with the invaluable addition of family letters.

    Living history is far more complex and a writer has to be aware of sensitivities, score-settling etc. Biographies of those no longer with us can run into ideas or accounts touted by earlier writers/academics etc. So neither is stress-free.

    I recommend digging out a wonderful memoir that I’ve highlighted before – Naked Truth by Clare Sheridan, published in the 1920s. She was a cousin of Winston Churchill who had an amazing life and was very candid about it.

  6. Else T. says:

    Wonderful podcast! I found the bit about Edward Lear very touching and sad. How biographies reveal the hidden lives of others – we often cannot guess the inner battles our fellow humans face. Now off to read the SF essay about Lear… Thank you for your podcast; it’s a real listening pleasure!

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