Five from 4th Estate

We’ve done it again: boiled the internet down to the five things you need to see, read and do this week. This weekend’s entertainment brought to you by us at 4th Estate.


If Hilary Mantel had to give any one person a book, she’d give Kate Middleton Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by the cultural historian Caroline Weber. How can you resist reading the rest of Hilary Mantel’s LRB Winter Lecture, ‘Royal Bodies’, given earlier this month at the British Museum? You can also listen to the lecture as a podcast. Perfection.


What does an Editor actually do? This Paris Review interview with legendary editor Robert Gottlieb (who counts Salman Rushdie, Doris Lessing and John le Carré among authors he has edited) is full of insight into how an editor thinks and works. In the unique case of Gottlieb, this is a story littered with sharp opinions and moments of cantankerous behaviour, which ultimately reveals a man with deep talent and generosity towards writing and writers.



In this dreamlike collage of picture and sound, listen to Sylvia Plath reading her poems and to an interview given by the author in 1962. Hearing Plath’s voice always makes one sit up and reconsider the writer we mistook her to be. Watch Lady Lazarus here.

Could it be that when we think authors are being terribly postmodern and as cold as our unsentimental world demands, they are actually sneaking in real feelings? In an article for Salon, Benjamin Nugent argues that authors like Jennifer Egan and Jeffrey Eugenides are getting away with great warmth in their novels, by using cold vocabulary. Find out what’s really going on here.

Buy The Marriage Plot now.



Talking of emotions, we’ve come on all romantic this week and have been enjoying this short film, Paperman, from Disney. This ain’t no Finding Nemo, it’s in black and white and its central image is the paper aeroplane. Our romance with paper is once again reaffirmed. If you enjoy the film, chances are you’re going to really like this.

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