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Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Oct 4, 2023

Ada Palmer is a Renaissance historian at the University of Chicago who studies radical free thought and censorship, composes music, consults on anime and manga, and is the author of the acclaimed Terra Ignota sci-fi series, among many other things.

Tyler sat down with Ada to discuss why living in the Renaissance was worse than living during the Middle Ages, how art protected Florence, why she’s reluctant to travel back in time, which method of doing history is currently the most underrated, whose biography she’ll write, how we know what old Norse music was like, why women scholars helped us understand Viking metaphysics, why Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist is an interesting work, what people misunderstand about the inquisition(s), why science fiction doesn’t have higher social and literary status, which hive she would belong to in Terra Ignota, what the new novel she’s writing is about, and more.

Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links, or watch the full video.

Recorded June 28th, 2023.

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Photo Credit: Jason Smith