The Sins Of Literature

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Episodes

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01Thou Shalt Not Bore20130805

Robert McCrum and his guests look at how to avoid writing 'the bits that readers skip'.

In the Sins of Literature Robert McCrum casts a seasoned eye over the literary mores of our age.

Sarah Waters, Martin Amis, Will Self, Siri Hustvedt, Paul Auster, Deborah Moggach and Howard Jacobson talk about their literary sins and commandments.

Thou Shalt Not Bore looks at how to avoid writing a boring book or, as Elmore Leonard put it, how to avoid writing the bits that readers skip. Try to make your characters believable, your plot snappy and your sentences taught and bright or sinuous and fecund. And if that doesn't work you can always insert a juicy sex scene...

In this episode some of our finest novelists tell us how they write, give lessons in style, tell of whose work they love and argue over what makes a book good.

02Thou Shalt Not Hide20130812

Robert McCrum and his guests examine the dangerous seclusions of writing.

In the Sins of Literature Robert McCrum casts a seasoned eye over the literary mores of our age.

Sarah Waters, Alexander McCall Smith, Martin Amis, Will Self, Siri Hustvedt, Paul Auster, Deborah Moggach and Howard Jacobson talk about their literary sins and commandments.

Thou Shalt not hide. It's lonely business writing. Day after day at the keyboard with only your thoughts for company. Many writers develop rituals, habits and creative ticks to get them through. Historically lots of them have found succour in the arms of alcohol. The god like omnipotence they hold over the world of their novel can encourage an equal and opposite retreat from the real world (where they have no such powers). Thou Shalt not Hide examines the psychology and the discipline of writing and how writers are necessarily locked into their own heads yet trying to capture the whole wide world on the page.

03Thou Shalt Not Steal20130819

03Thou Shalt Not Steal20130819

Robert and guests examine the shifting sands of plagiarism, influence and originality.

03Thou Shalt Not Steal20130819

Robert and guests examine the shifting sands of plagiarism, influence and originality.

03Thou Shalt Not Steal20130819

03Thou Shalt Not Steal20130819

In The Sins of Literature Robert McCrum casts a seasoned eye over the literary codes of our time.

Malcolm Gladwell, Will Self, Sarah Waters and Howard Jacobson help him compile a list of literary sins and commandments.

The third commandment is Thou Shalt not Steal. Plagiarism is perhaps the gravest of literary sins and yet writers steal all the time and sweat away their lives under the anxiety of influence. This program looks at the shifting sands of plagiarism, theft, influence and borrowing. The Romantics may have worshipped the original genius of Shakespeare but he merrily lifted whole sections of Anthony and Cleopatra from Holinshed's chronicles. In the internet age true creativity appears to reside not in what you write yourself but in the ways you can remix, mash up, parody and generally mess around with the work of others. Robert examines the extent to which ideas of originality are being remixed.

03Thou Shalt Not Steal20130819

In The Sins of Literature Robert McCrum casts a seasoned eye over the literary codes of our time.

Malcolm Gladwell, Will Self, Sarah Waters and Howard Jacobson help him compile a list of literary sins and commandments.

The third commandment is Thou Shalt not Steal. Plagiarism is perhaps the gravest of literary sins and yet writers steal all the time and sweat away their lives under the anxiety of influence. This program looks at the shifting sands of plagiarism, theft, influence and borrowing. The Romantics may have worshipped the original genius of Shakespeare but he merrily lifted whole sections of Anthony and Cleopatra from Holinshed's chronicles. In the internet age true creativity appears to reside not in what you write yourself but in the ways you can remix, mash up, parody and generally mess around with the work of others. Robert examines the extent to which ideas of originality are being remixed.

03 LASTThou Shalt Not Steal20130819

Robert and guests examine the shifting sands of plagiarism, influence and originality.

In The Sins of Literature Robert McCrum casts a seasoned eye over the literary codes of our time.

Malcolm Gladwell, Will Self, Sarah Waters and Howard Jacobson help him compile a list of literary sins and commandments.

The third commandment is Thou Shalt not Steal. Plagiarism is perhaps the gravest of literary sins and yet writers steal all the time and sweat away their lives under the anxiety of influence. This program looks at the shifting sands of plagiarism, theft, influence and borrowing. The Romantics may have worshipped the original genius of Shakespeare but he merrily lifted whole sections of Anthony and Cleopatra from Holinshed's chronicles. In the internet age true creativity appears to reside not in what you write yourself but in the ways you can remix, mash up, parody and generally mess around with the work of others. Robert examines the extent to which ideas of originality are being remixed.