The New Statesman’s latest pop culture podcast, entitled SRSLY but pronounced “seriously”, includes a discussion of the BBC’s adaptation of Decline and Fall. This is SRSLY podcast #88 with commentators Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz. The discussion of Decline and Fall begins at about 17:00 minutes on the Soundcloud version. The two podcast commentators are more positive than was Rachel Cooke who reviewed the adaptation in the magazine itself. There is also a brief radio interview of David Suchet who plays Dr Fagan in the TV film. This is available online from the archives of BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Finally, The Spectator has published an article on the importance of preserving the short story as genre of English literature. This is by Emily Hill and begins with a consideration of Philip Hensher’s introduction to his recent two-volume collection The Penguin Book of the British Short Story (2015) where he writes:
‘The British short story is probably the richest, most varied and most historically extensive national tradition anywhere in the world,’ …[but goes on to explain that] this tradition is perilously near to dying out because there are so few publications which make a space for it anymore…Now, short stories are most often written with a view to winning writing competitions by writers who have studied creative writing used to having their work judged by a committee of their peers. The problem with relying on this method, Hensher argues, ‘as a means of developing talent, rather than the response of a paying public is that they reward what they think ought to be good, and not what contains any real energy.’
Hill, who has herself written a volume of short stories (but not for competitions), was encouraged by Hensher’s selection criteria:
I was inspired by the delicious, vicious, satirical work of Saki (my favourite is Sredni Vashtar but Hensher selected another brutal and brilliant offering, The Unrest-Cure, for his first volume) and Evelyn Waugh (most particularly his brutal little tale, Mr Loveday’s Little Outing).
A Waugh story is included in the Penguin collection but, as noted in an earlier post, it is “Cruise” (1933), and this story was also included in the 1936 collection entitled Mr Loveday’s Little Outing and Other Sad Stories.