The Pleasure Podcast
S1, Ep2 Sarah Perry: Literature and the Erotic Imagination
This week on The Pleasure Podcast, our guest is the brilliantly bright, best-selling author Sarah Perry.
Sarah's novels After Me Comes The Flood, The Essex Serpent, and Melmoth have made her into a house-hold name. The Essex Serpent was a number one bestseller in hardback, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and was named Waterstones Book of the Year. It is currently being adapted for screen. Melmoth, a Gothic masterpiece of moral complexity, asking us profound questions about mercy, redemption, and how to make the best of our conflicted world, was a Sunday Times Bestseller and was shortlisted for The International Dylan Thomas Prize. She's been compared to Dickens, Bram Stoker and Kafka. But her writing refuses to follow conventions and genre and her Gothic spirit is always accompanied by sharp originality.
She also happens to be one of the most interesting, worldly women I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Sarah's puritanical upbringing led her to find a secret world of pleasure and erotic imagination in literature, whether in Tess of the D'Urbervilles or her sisters' Jilly Cooper books stashed under the bed. Her tastes are wide and her conversation deep. We talk about what makes the great erotic moments in literature, what we're programmed to find erotic, the ethics of writing, the inadequacy of filthy language... and if there there really should be a Bad Sex Awards at all.
She also reads out some delicious poetry by Hannah Sullivan and sexy James Joyce letters. Best to listen on your earphones for this one.
The Pleasure Podcast is hosted by Naomi Sheldon and Anand Patel, edited by Matt Peover and hosted by Acast.
After Me Comes The Flood, The Essex Serpent, and Melmoth are published by Serpent's Tail
The Hannah Sullivan poem we discuss is You, Very Young in New York from Three Poems
Elizabeth Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept is available here
You can read some of James Jocye's letters to Nora here
And here's quotes from the full shortlist of the 2018 Bad Sex Awards
Naomi Sheldon @NaomiSheldon1
Sarah Perry www.sarahperry.net