Naples In the Time of Cholera


Our latest episode features Frank Snowden, author of Naples in the Time of Cholera, on what we can learn from a late-19th century pandemic.

James Shapiro on Shakespeare and Plagues


Our latest episode features James Shapiro talking about a major theme in Shakespeare’s work and life: the plagues that ravaged London throughout his career.

The Octavian 2019 Holiday Book List


We are pleased to announce the Octavian 2019 holiday book List. The list makes great year-end reading wherever you may be — and great gifts, if you are still looking.

Soul Singer


Contemporary fado star Cristina Branco explains what fado is and why this mysterious folk music from Portugal is so powerful.

  Mario Vargas Lllosa on culture and democracy

The Storyteller

An Interview with Mario Vargas Llosa


The Nobel Prize-winning novelist spoke with us about how the erosion of culture means the erosion of political liberty.

  Deborah Lipstadt on how anti-Semites go mainstream


An Interview with Deborah Lipstadt


A leading historian explains how the oldest hatred has captured more and more minds in our polarized era.