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Marilynne Robinson, Irish Poetry, Progressive

Philip Dodd talks to the Orange Prize winning novelist Marilynne Robinson about her novels and her recent collection of essays on science and culture.

Philip Dodd talks to the American novelist Marilynne Robinson about her work and her recent collection of essays on science and culture.

Marilynne Robinson won the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction with her novel Home to put alongside the Pulitzer she won in 2005 for the novel Gilead. Alongside her literary output she is one of America's leading essayists and non fiction writers. She's written on the British welfare state, nuclear pollution and a collection of philosophical essays called The Death of Adam. This year Marilynne Robinson published Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self, a series of essays which criticised science and scientists for their attempts to monopolise ideas about human existence. Philip talks to her about the relationship between science and modern thought.

A new anthology of Irish poetry which embraces WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney is discussed by the poet, Paul Muldoon and the anthology's editor, Patrick Crotty.

And with the party conference season well under way Philip decodes one of the current political buzzwords - "progressive". When Tony Blair appeared on Night Waves he described himself as a "progressive" politician, and there's been talk recently of "progressive spending cuts". What does progressive mean today and does it have anything to do with the progressivism that emerged in America in the late 19th century as a response to industrialisation?

45 minutes

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Free Thinking

Radio 3’s new home for arts and ideas.