Stephen Fry Friday: His Musings on Life, Swearing, Shakespeare, Nanoscience & More

Stephen Fry is a man of many talents. He’s a novelist, contributor to newspapers and magazines, TV personality, comedian, podcaster, linguist of sorts. And according to his Twitter profile, he’s also a “Lord of Dance, Prince of Swimwear & Blogger.” In short, Stephen Fry covers a lot of ground, and, throughout the years, we’ve shown you Fry opining on many subjects. But you can’t really appreciate his intellectual range until you’ve seen his musings placed next to one another. So we’re proclaiming today “Stephen Fry Friday” and we’re presenting our favorite Fry clips from years past. We start above with Fry’s take on “The Joys of Swearing” and the rest follows:

The Strange New World of Nanoscience

What is nano? And how will nanoscience shape our future? It’s all explained in a snappy 17 minute video —  NANO YOU — that Fry narrated for Cambridge University.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 18 

It’s a perennial fan favorite — Fry reflecting on his life, all 55 years of it, and offering up life lessons to youngsters. Truth be told, older folks will get something out of this video too.

On Philosophy and the Importance of Unbelief

Getting into the nitty gritty of philosophy, Fry gives us one more life lesson: If you assume there’s no afterlife, you’ll likely have a fuller, more enriching life.

A Kinetic Take on Language

For a brief time in 2008, Fry produced a series of podcasts – called “Podgrams” – that drew on his writings, speeches and collective thoughts. In one episode, he meditated on language — the English language, his own language, Barthes, Chomsky, and Pinker — and then Matthew Rogers took that meditation and ran with it, producing a “kinetic typography animation” that artfully illustrates a six minute segment of Fry’s longer talk.

Shakespeare’s Satirical Sonnet 130, As Read By Stephen Fry

It’s not surprising that someone this immersed in language would deeply admire the Shakespearean tradition….

Why Fry Loves Joyce’s Ulysses

And Joyce’s Ulysses too (which you can download as a fine free audio book here).

Stay tuned, we’ll have more Stephen Fry in the months and years to come….

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.