Episode #1444

Jessica Lange & The Scarlet Letter

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Jessica Lange (far left) in a scene from American Horror Story Jessica Lange (far left) in a scene from American Horror Story (Michele K. Short/ FX)

This week, Kurt Andersen talks with Jessica Lange, who currently stars in the FX miniseries American Horror Story: Coven. We consider the blunders that lead Darwin and Einstein to their most brilliant scientific discoveries. And in American Icons, we revisit Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan romance novel The Scarlet Letter — in the age of the internet sex scandal, we find Hester Prynnes living within our midst.

Jessica Lange's Dark Magic

The Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange started her career as the ultimate ingénue — the beautiful helpless blonde in King Kong, then the sweet soap opera actress in Tootsie. Since then her roles seem to have gotten steadily darker, and now she’s leading the cast of the FX series American Horror Story ...

Jessica Lange's 3 for 360

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American Icons: The Scarlet Letter

One of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ancestors was a judge in the Salem witch trials. In his novel of early America, Hawthorne explores the tension between our deeply ingrained Puritanism and our celebration of personal freedom. Hester Prynne was American literature’s first heroine, a fallen woman who’s not ashamed of her sin ...

Bonus Track: Tom Perrotta on Nathaniel Hawthorne's influence

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Andrea Barrett's Literary Science

Andrea Barrett dropped out of a graduate program in zoology, but has never left science behind. Nearly all of her books, including the National Book Award-winning story collection Ship Fever, are set in moments when the grand sweep of science intrudes upon the inner lives of individuals. In Barrett’s new book Archangel ...


Darwin Got It Wrong

Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Lord Kelvin are remembered as unimpeachable geniuses. But over the course of their careers, they each made tremendous errors — not just faulty equations but fundamental misunderstandings. In Brilliant Blunders, Mario Livio showcases those failures and the surprising discoveries ...

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