One of the wonderful things I’ve discovered through YouTube is the prevalence of literary interviews, often of writers from the early part of the twentieth century. The video of T.S. Eliot reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is unnerving to be sure, but mostly these are intriguing forays into the intersection between technological development and literary celebrity.
This video is of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle discussing Sherlock Holmes and spiritualism, a late nineteenth-century interest in psych abilities and seances. I kind of adore the way he dismissed John Watson as a “stupid fellow.”
And here’s Zadie Smith at the New York Public library, reading from On Beauty and discussing her work with Kurt Andersen. The camera has some issues in there, but Smith reading in American accents is a real treat. Of particular interest, for me at least, is the discussion around 37:00 about teaching literature and literary theory.