Helen and Stephen are joined by the author and editor Andrew O’Hagan, to explore selfhood in the internet era. Who are the slippery figures who populate our online worlds? Will there be a backlash against this new fluidity? And are these trends changing the way novelists write? Plus: why we love Instagram so much.
(O’Hagan’s most recent book, The Secret Life: Three True Stories, is published by Faber.)
Andrew’s quotes of the episode:
On the shifty nature of his subjects: “I had a pre-disposition to not want to tie everything up, to leave openness to do its magic […] certainly it seemed I had the right kind of madness for these people.”
On social media: “I’m interested in this growing sense that privacy is a form of under-handedness – and I think the consequences of that could be massive, especially politically.”
On the push-back against new, more fluid online expression: “I do think there’s already a revival, and in some quarters quite a right-wing revival, wanting community and nationalism and identity politics to be very clear: they want to know exactly who everyone is in the village. There’s a danger in that.”
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