cover art for The Hayek Puzzle

The LRB Podcast

The Hayek Puzzle

Long before Margaret Thatcher told her cabinet that The Constitution of Liberty was “what we believe”, neoliberal poster boy Friedrich Hayek had been denounced by his mentor as a socialist. Following his review of a new biography, Jonathan Rée speaks to Tom about Hayek’s celebrity and infamy, and the ways close reading reveals surprising nuance in his work.

Find further reading on the episode page:

Sign up to our Close Readings podcast subscription:

Get in touch with the podcasts team:

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Dr Comfort, Mr Sex

    Gerontologist, pacifist, novelist, medical doctor and mollusc expert – Alex Comfort was far more than just the author of the staggeringly popular Joy of Sex. In her review of a new biography, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite navigates the convictions and contradictions of this bewilderingly polymathic thinker. She joins Tom to trace Comfort’s life from evangelical child prodigy to the anarchist free love advocate who became emblematic of the sexual liberation movement.Find further reading on the episode page:
  • The World's First Author

    Enheduana was a Sumerian princess who lived around 2300 BCE and composed what is now regarded as the earliest poetry by a known author. Her father, Sargon of Akkad, is said to have created the world’s first empire, stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, and as part of his imperial mission he installed his daughter as the high priestess of the temple of the moon god, Nanna, in the city of Ur. In that capacity, Enheduana composed hymns of remarkable beauty, often governed by a powerful authorial voice.Anna Della Subin joins Tom to discuss a new translation of Enheduana’s complete poems, read some of them in the original Sumerian, and consider the ways in which they challenge our ideas of authorship and literary history.Read more, and listen ad free, on the LRB website:
  • Protest, what is it good for?

    From the Egyptian Revolution to Extinction Rebellion, the 2010s were marked by a global wave of spontaneous and largely structureless mass protests. Despite overwhelming numbers and popular support, most of these movements failed to achieve their aims, and in many cases led to worse conditions. James Butler joins Tom to make sense of the ‘mass protest decade’, sharing historical examples, theoretical approaches and first-hand experiences that help explain the defeats of the 2010s.Find further reading and listen ad free on the episode page: the Close Readings podcast in Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, or just search 'Close Readings'.Sign up to the Close Readings subscription to listen to all our series in full:Directly in Apple PodcastsIn other podcast apps
  • Political Poems: Andrew Marvell's 'An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland'

    In the first episode of their new Close Readings series on political poetry, Seamus Perry and Mark Ford look at ‘An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland’ by Andrew Marvell, described by Frank Kermode as ‘braced against folly by the power and intelligence that make it possible to think it the greatest political poem in the language’.Sign up to the Close Readings subscription to listen ad free and to all our series in full:Directly in Apple PodcastsIn other podcast appsRead the poem hereFurther reading in the LRB:Blair Worden: Double TonguedFrank Kermode: Hard LabourDavid Norbrook: Political Verse
  • War in Tigray

    Ethiopia is one of the world’s most populous countries, and yet the 2020-22 Tigray War and ongoing suffering in the region has been largely ignored by the world at large. Tom Stevenson joins the podcast to break down the history of the conflict, and explore why Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel laureate, has come to preside over such a brutal civil war. He also considers Abiy’s future intentions, both within and beyond his country’s borders.Find further reading on the episode page:
  • Medieval LOLs: Chaucer's 'Miller's Tale'

    Were the Middle Ages funny? Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley begin their series in quest of the medieval sense of humour with Chaucer’s 'Miller’s Tale', a story that is surely still (almost) as funny as when it was written six hundred years ago. But who is the real butt of the joke? Mary and Irina look in detail at the mechanics of the plot and its needless but pleasurable complexity, and consider the social significance of clothes and pubic hair in the tale.Find the Close Readings podcast in Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, or just search 'Close Readings'.Sign up to the Close Readings subscription to listen to all our series in full:Directly in Apple PodcastsIn other podcast apps
  • Proust in English

    Did the foundational event of Proust’s great novel really happen? Michael Wood talks to Tom about several English translations of In Search of Lost Time, old and new, and what they reveal about different ways of reading the novel. If the dipping of the madeleine in his tea conjures an overwhelming memory of the narrator’s childhood, it is also a challenge to the conscious mind, a product of chance that Proust suggests might easily not have occurred at all.Find more by Michael on Proust here: up to Close Readings Plus:
  • New TV/Old TV

    James Meek joins Tom to talk about a recent book by Peter Biskind on ‘the New TV’, reviewed by James in the latest issue of the paper. They discuss the rise of cable TV in the 1990s, the emergence of the streaming giants, the power of the showrunner and whether the golden age of television drama is really coming to an end.Read James's piece: up to Close Readings:
  • Was Jane Austen Gay? And other questions from the LRB archive

    Tom Crewe, Patricia Lockwood, Deborah Friedell, John Lanchester, Rosemary Hill and Colm Tóibín talk to Tom about some of their favourite LRB pieces, including Terry Castle’s 1995 essay on Jane Austen's letters, Hilary Mantel’s account of how she became a writer, and Alan Bennett’s uncompromising take on Philip Larkin.Read the pieces:Terry Castle on Jane AustenWendy Doniger: Calf and Other LovesHilary Mantel: Giving up the GhostAngela Carter: Noovs' hoovs in the troughPenelope Fitzgerald on Stevie SmithAlan Bennett on Philip LarkinSubscribe to the LRB: