Sam Leith

Books podcast: The story of pain

Books podcast: The story of pain
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My guest in this week's books podcast is the scholar Joanna Bourke, who's talking about her new book on something we all have in common: suffering. In The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers she turns much of what we think we know about pain on its head. Here's an experience that's common to all of us, but apparently completely subjective. It is twined into the very roots of our culture -- and yet the stories we tell about it have changed massively over the centuries. What was life like before anaesthesia? Why did we not use painkillers until long after we had them? How is it that until less than 100 years ago people believed that children didn't feel pain at all? And is pain, as Freddy Mercury claimed, really close to pleasure?

You can listen to our conversation here:

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