When we originally released our program with physicist and novelist Janna Levin, we included a short clip of a conversation from Seed magazine (a great science publication that recently featured Andy's Art Shanty Project). Now that we're rebroadcasting an updated version of "Mathematics, Purpose, and Truth" we thought it was a good time to feature the complete salon with acclaimed fiction writer Jonathan Lethem and Ms. Levin from March 2007. They discuss the importance of truth in their art and the impurity of metaphor — and therein lies elegance and beauty. Enjoy.

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Perhaps some casual sipping of water or coffee or something stronger during the taping would work but this eating of breakfast or apple crisp or whatever doesn't do it for me. And the conversation is interesting and stimulating but, especially on Ms Levin's part, is too informal--I miss several of her comments. The idea of the interview and discussion is great and the subject is valuable. A bit more care in presentation would be helpful.

I enjoyed the pace of the interview. When I first heard this program, it was the first time I had listened to the show. Now, I have reviewed the archives, downloaded several shows, and have become a regular listener (and contributor). I have listened to this particular show several times now. I have also tried to order her book through the Amazon link but it seems to be backordered or out of print and will have to pick up a used copy. I have also been to her website. Levin's insight brought out in the conversation I find almost life-changing in philosophical discussions and should be included in any Intro to Philosophy class. Thank you.

The book was also available through my public library, and you might find it there as well.

Wow!  As a new novelist, and a retiring truck driver @ age 64, I was blown away by this conversation.  It confirmed so many things that I have felt and incorporated intuitively into the first novel I am now writing: "Shattered".  I would recommend this clip for anyone embarking upon a writing career. Very encouraging and instructive to me.  Carl Carlson - AKA Grandpa Rapper 

I couldn't help but wonder what caused Ms Levin to eat while she's interviewing Mr Gilliss. It seemed distracting, and I'd bet, Mr Gilliss found it so. Just watching his body language indicated to me that he was curious about her choice to be eating throughout the conversation. Sorry, the style simply was a turn-off!

Trent Gilliss's picture

Jurgen, unfortunately I wasn't invited to sit with Ms. Levin. That's Jonathan Lethem, the superb novelist and short story writer! I took it that the producers were trying to set up a relaxed, more informal conversation and that food was possibly one way of doing it.

Please make this downloadable. Some of us out here are on a fixed income and cannot afford live streaming on demand. Thank you.

The subject that you have put is worthy to read. I liked the way Janna Levin shot her answers to the queries. She is the famous physicist and novelist of the era. The impurity of the metaphor is the part I loved the most.