Explaining The Explicit

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01Julian Barnes2013031120140526

Five different writers consider the reasons why and the challenges of writing about sex. In episode one, Julian Barnes asks 'Is writing about sex the same as writing about any other human activity - say, gardening or cricket?' and as a novelist 'what words do you use and what effect are you trying to have?'

In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?

These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.

First broadcast in March 2013.

02David Bellos2013031220140527

02David Bellos2013031220140527

Five different writers consider the reasons why and the challenges of writing about sex. Today David Bellos, translator and Professor of Comparative Literature explores why translating sex is so difficult and wonders whether the difficulties themselves can cast light on the subject.

In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?

These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.

First broadcast in March 2013.

02David Bellos2013031220140527

Five different writers consider the reasons why and the challenges of writing about sex. Today David Bellos, translator and Professor of Comparative Literature explores why translating sex is so difficult and wonders whether the difficulties themselves can cast light on the subject.

In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?

These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.

First broadcast in March 2013.

03Sarah Churchwell2013031320140528

03Sarah Churchwell2013031320140528

Sarah Churchwell, writer and Professor of American Literature at UEA examines the tradition of depicting sex in popular fiction. Recent successful publications are only following in the footsteps of earlier generations of female writers reaching back as far as England's Edith Maude Hull who published her bestselling The Sheik in 1919.

In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?

These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.

First broadcast in March 2013.

03Sarah Churchwell2013031320140528

Sarah Churchwell, writer and Professor of American Literature at UEA examines the tradition of depicting sex in popular fiction. Recent successful publications are only following in the footsteps of earlier generations of female writers reaching back as far as England's Edith Maude Hull who published her bestselling The Sheik in 1919.

In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?

These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.

First broadcast in March 2013.

04Vicki Feaver2013031420140529

Poet Vicki Feaver is nearly 70. She looks back on her own reading and writing of poetry and reflects on how the poet as the lyric 'I' can be both more exposed and more uninhibited when exploring her own sexuality.

In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?

These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.

First broadcast in March 2013.

05 LASTRachel Johnson2013031520140530

Journalist and novelist, Rachel Johnson won the Bad Sex Award in 2008, the same year that the judges awarded John Updike a 'lifetime achievement' award. In 2013 she was one of the judges of the Women's Prize for Fiction - are we all a bit too ready to leap to judgement when it comes to writing about sex?

In little more than a few decades, perhaps a generation or two, western culture has arguably progressed from a largely repressed and circumspect attitude to portraying the sins and pleasures of the flesh to an altogether more casual and certainly visually more permissive approach. How have writers and readers, adjusted to these changes and what are authors trying to say when they write about sex? Is the written word trailing in the wake of film, tv and video or have these media liberated authors from a more timid, and possibly less authentic way of writing?

These essays offer a chance to step back and reflect on some of the subtler arguments that can get lost amidst a sea of pneumatic imagery. Somewhere between the conventions of shock, titillation and comedy lie a whole range of other ideas that can be explored when writing about sex.

First broadcast in March 2013.

Journalist and novelist, Rachel Johnson won the Bad Sex Award in 2008, the same year that the judges awarded John Updike a 'lifetime achievement' award. This year she is one of the judges of the Women's Prize for Fiction - are we all a bit too ready to leap to judgement when it comes to writing about sex ?