Main content

Con Men, John Dee, F for Fake

Maria Konnikova joins Matthew Sweet to explore the art of the con. Plus a review of a new exhibition celebrating Elizabethan alchemist and scholar John Dee.

Matthew Sweet and guests explore the art of the con.... If you've ever fallen for a scam, you'll be reassured by
Maria Konnikova's new book The Confidence Game, in which she explains why most of us are easy prey to con artists.

Orson Welles was infamous early in his career for a radio broadcast of HG Wells' War of the Worlds which - it's said - caused genuine panic that aliens were invading earth. For Free Thinking Larushka Ivan-Zadeh discusses Welles's last film, F For Fake, which tells the tangled story of art forger Elmyr de Hory.

And Gary Lachman and Kevin Jackson visit a new exhibition about Elizabethan alchemist, philosopher and mathematician John Dee - a mysterious figure who during his long career was sometimes a con-artist, and sometimes the conned.

Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee is on at the Royal College of Physicians in London until July 29th. Entry is free.

Main Image: Cicero - Opera omnia, vol. 2. Ship drawing in margin and annotations by John Dee. Photograph by Mike Fear. (c) Royal College of Physicians.

Available now

45 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Matthew Sweet
Interviewed Guest Maria Konnikova
Interviewed Guest Larushka Ivan-Zadeh
Interviewed Guest Gary Lachman
Interviewed Guest Kevin Jackson
Producer Laura Thomas

Broadcast

The Arts & Ideas Podcast

The Arts & Ideas Podcast

You can download all the past episodes of Radio 3's Free Thinking

Discussions and talks from the Free Thinking Festival 2019

Discussions and talks from the Free Thinking Festival 2019

Angry politics, what we can’t say, being diplomatic, weeping, emotion in music, film & TV

Click to listen to discussions, talks and music as the Free Thinking Festival 2019 Gets Emotional

Click to listen to discussions, talks and music as the Free Thinking Festival 2019 Gets Emotional

Angry politics, what we can’t say, being diplomatic, weeping, emotion in music, film & TV

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE programmes from the Free Thinking Festival 2018: The One & the Many

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE programmes from the Free Thinking Festival 2018: The One & the Many

We examine the fast-changing relationship between the individual & the crowd

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE all programmes, images, clips & features from 2017's festival

CLICK to LISTEN & SEE all programmes, images, clips & features from 2017's festival

Free Thinking Festival 2017: The Speed of Life