New Books in Literary Studies

New Books in Literary Studies

newbooksnetwork.com/category/arts-letters/literary-studies
Interviews with Scholars of Literature about their New Books


Barry Witham, “From Red-Baiting to Blacklisting: The Labor Plays of Manny Fried” (SIU Press 2020)
Aug 11 • 49 min
From Red-Baiting to Blacklisting: The Labor Plays of Manny Fried (SIU Press 2020) collects three plays by Manny Fried alongside a thorough explanation of his work and life by theatre scholar Barry Witham. Witham traces Fried’s long career as a labor…
Kim Adrian, “Dear Knausgaard: Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle” (Fiction Advocate, 2020)
Aug 5 • 68 min
In 2009, a novel was released in Norway with a fairly simple premise; the author would simply write about himself, his life and his attempts to write. The autobiographical novel would be the first in a 6-volume series that would eventually total over…
Gaurav Desai, “Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination” (Columbia UP, 2013)
Aug 3 • 79 min
Gaurav Desai’s Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2013), offers an alternative history of East Africa in the Indian Ocean world. Reading the life narratives and literary texts of South…
Vanita Reddy, “Fashioning Diaspora: Beauty, Femininity and South Asian American Culture” (Duke UP, 2016)
Jul 30 • 43 min
Vanita Reddy, in her book Fashioning Diaspora: Beauty, Femininity and South Asian American Culture (Duke University Press, 2016), locates diasporic transnationality, affiliations and intimacies through the analytic of beauty. Through her analysis of Asian…
Brett Dakin, “American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and The Battles of Lev Gleason” (Chapterhouse Publishing, 2020)
Jul 30 • 48 min
In American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and The Battles of Lev Gleason (Chapterhouse Publishing, 2020), Brett Dakin, Gleason’s great-nephew delves into the life of his famous relative. Gleason rose to the top of the comic publishing world during its…
Ari Linden, “Karl Kraus and The Discourse of Modernity” (Northwestern UP, 2020)
Jul 24 • 56 min
In Karl Kraus and The Discourse of Modernity (Northwestern University Press, 2020), Ari Linden analyzes Karl Kraus’s oeuvre while engaging in the conversation about modernism and modernity, which is shaped and conditioned by the already post-postmodern…
Bradley Lewis, “Narrative Psychiatry: How Stories Can Shape Clinical Practice” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011)
Jul 20 • 49 min
Psychiatry has lagged behind many clinical specialties in recognizing the importance of narrative for understanding and effectively treating disease. With this book, Bradley Lewis makes the challenging and compelling case that psychiatrists need to…
Oludamini Ogunnaike, “Poetry in Praise of Prophetic Perfection: A Study of West African Arabic Madih Poetry and its Precedents” (Islamic Texts Society, 2020)
Jul 17 • 57 min
Around the world Muslims praise the Prophet Muhammad through the recitation of lyrical poetry. In West Africa, Arabic praise poetry has a rich history informed by local literary, spiritual, and ritual elements. Oludamini Ogunnaike, assistant professor of…
Suri Hustvedt, “Memories of the Future” (Simon and Schuster, 2019)
Jul 16 • 43 min
How Do We Write Our Personal History at the Same Time That It’s Written for Us? Today I talked to Suri Hustvedt about this question and others as we discuss her book Memories of the Future (Simon and Schuster, 2019). The Literary Review (UK) has called…
Greil Marcus, “Under the Red White and Blue” (Yale UP, 2020)
Jul 16 • 60 min
If Jay Gatsby is the embodiment of patriotism, what does that mean for America? Join NBN host Lee Pierce and author Greil Marcus as they take a deep dive into how F. Scott Fitzgerald’s vision of the American Dream has been understood, portrayed,…
Aliyah Khan, ”Far From Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean” (Rutgers UP, 2020)
Jul 13 • 45 min
Muslims have lived in the Caribbean for centuries. Far From Mecca: Globalizing the Muslim Caribbean (Rutgers University Press, 2020) examines the archive of autobiography, literature, music and public celebrations in Guyana and Trinidad, offering an…
Pernilla Myrne, “Female Sexuality in the Early Medieval Islamic World: Gender and Sex in Arabic Literature” (IB Taurus, 2020)
Jul 10 • 53 min
In this episode, I talk with Pernilla Myrne about her exciting and excellently researched book Female Sexuality in the Early Medieval Islamic World: Gender and Sex in Arabic Literature, published with IB Taurus in 2020. Pernilla Myrne is an Associate…
C. Jester and C. Svich, “Fifty Playwrights on their Craft” (Bloomsbury, 2018)
Jul 9 • 48 min
In Fifty Playwrights on their Craft (Bloomsbury, 2018), Caroline Jester and Caridad Svich talk to writers from the US, the UK, and countries around the world about what it means to be a playwright today. Playwrights range from avant-gardists like Erik Ehn…
Matthew Pettway, “Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection: Manzano, Plácido, and Afro-Latino Religion” (UP of Mississippi, 2019)
Jul 7 • 63 min
Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés (Plácido) were perhaps the most important and innovative Cuban writers of African descent during the Spanish colonial era. Both nineteenth-century authors used Catholicism as a symbolic language…
Jeremy Black, “Mapping Shakespeare: An Exploration of Shakespeare’s World through Maps” (Bloomsbury, 2018)
Jul 3 • 36 min
Jeremy Black, the prolific professor of history at Exeter University, has published a stunningly attractive volume entitled, Mapping Shakespeare: An Exploration of Shakespeare’s World through Maps (Bloomsbury, 2018). This lavishly illustrated volume…
Ahmed El-Shamsy, “Rediscovering the Islamic Classics” (Princeton UP, 2020)
Jul 3 • 79 min
Ahmed El-Shamsy’s Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2020) is an astonishing scholarly feat that presents a detailed, sophisticated, and thoroughly enjoyable…
Adam Brown, “Judging ‘Privileged’ Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the ‘Grey Zone’” (Berghahn, 2015)
Jul 2 • 70 min
The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior…
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, “The Age of Phillis” (Wesleyan UP, 2020)
Jul 2 • 53 min
Jennifer J. Davis speaks with Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, about The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan UP, 2020), Jeffers’s latest collection of poems centered on the remarkable life of America’s first poet of…
Yitzhak Lewis, “Permanent Beginning: R. Nachman of Braslav and Jewish Literary Modernity” (SUNY Press, 2020)
Jun 29 • 55 min
The Hasidic leader R. Nachman of Braslav (1772–1810) has held a place in the Jewish popular imagination for more than two centuries. Some see him as the (self-proclaimed) Messiah, others as the forerunner of modern Jewish literature. Existing studies…
Adheesh Sathaye, “Crossing the Lines of Caste” (Oxford UP, 2015)
Jun 26 • 53 min
What does it mean to be a Brahmin, and what could it mean to become one? The ancient Indian mythological figure Viśvāmitra accomplishes just this, transforming himself from a king into a Brahmin by cultivation of ascetic power. The book, Crossing the…
David Slucki et al., “Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust” (Wayne State UP, 2020)
Jun 22 • 72 min
In Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2020), Co-editors David Slucki, Loti Smorgon Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash…
Frederik H. Green, “Bird Talk and Other Stories by Xu Xu: Modern Tales of a Chinese Romantic” (Stone Bridge Press, 2020)
Jun 16 • 68 min
Xu Xu (1908-1980) was one of the most widely read Chinese authors of the 1930s to 1960s. His popular urban gothic tales, his exotic spy fiction, and his quasi-existentialist love stories full of nostalgia and melancholy offer today’s readers an unusual…
Zena Hitz, “Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life” (Princeton UP, 2020)
Jun 15 • 105 min
Do you have an active intellectual life? That is a question you may feel uncomfortable answering these days given that the very phrase “intellectual life” can strike some people as pretentious or self-indulgent, even irresponsible in a time of pandemic…
Lara Harb, “Arabic Poetics: Aesthetic Experience in Classical Arabic Literature” (Cambridge UP, 2020)
Jun 12 • 65 min
Lara Harb’s Arabic Poetics: Aesthetic Experience in Classical Arabic Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2020) is a delightful and formidable study on the details and development of poetics and aesthetics in medieval Arabic literature. The central…
Edgar Garcia, ”Signs of the America: A Poetics of Pictography, Hieroglyphs and Khipu” (U Chicago Press, 2019)
Jun 12 • 48 min
In his sixth thesis on the philosophy of history, Walter Benjamin wrote, “The only writer of history with the gift of setting alight the sparks of hope in the past, is the one who is convinced of this: that not even the dead will be safe from the enemy,…
Hamsa Stainton, “Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir” (Oxford UP, 2019)
Jun 11 • 58 min
In Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir (Oxford University Press, 2019), Hamsa Stainton explores the relationship between ‘poetry’ and ‘prayer’ in South Asia through close examination of the history of Sanskrit hymns of praise (stotras) in…
Deepra Dandekar, “The Subhedar’s Son” (Oxford UP, 2019)
Jun 10 • 66 min
This book is a translation and study of The Subhedar’s Son (Oxford University Press, 2019), an award-winning Marathi biographical novel written in 1895 by Rev. Dinkar Shankar Sawarkar, who writes about his own father, Rev.Shankar Nana (1819-1884). Nana, a…
Joshua Bennett, “Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man” (Harvard UP, 2020)
Jun 8 • 58 min
Throughout US history, black people have been configured as sociolegal nonpersons, a subgenre of the human. Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man (Harvard University Press, 2020) delves into the literary imagination and ethical concerns…
Scott Henderson, “Comics and Pop Culture: Adaptation from Panel to Frame” (U Texas Press, 2019)
Jun 5 • 64 min
It is hard to discuss the current film industry without acknowledging the impact of comic book adaptations, especially considering the blockbuster success of recent superhero movies. Yet transmedial adaptations are part of an evolution that can be traced…
Kathryn Hume, “The Metamorphoses of Myth in Fiction since 1960” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)
Jun 5 • 75 min
Why do contemporary writers use myths from ancient Greece and Rome, Pharaonic Egypt, the Viking north, Africa’s west coast, and Hebrew and Christian traditions? What do these stories from premodern cultures have to offer us? In her new book, The…
Brian Greene, “Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe” (Random House, 2020)
Jun 2 • 120 min
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He…
Ian Burrows, “Shakespeare for Snowflakes: On Slapstick and Sympathy” (Zero Books, 2020)
Jun 2 • 67 min
In Shakespeare for Snowflakes: On Slapstick and Sympathy (Zero Books, 2020), Ian Burrows examines the fraught meeting place of slapstick and tragedy, asking us under what literary and performative conditions we extend and withhold sympathy. Using source…
Roxann Prazniak, “Sudden Appearances: The Mongol Turn in Commerce, Belief, and Art” (U Hawaii Press 2019)
Jun 2 • 67 min
The “Mongol turn” in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries forged new political, commercial, and religious circumstances in Eurasia. This legacy can be found in the “sudden appearances” of common themes, styles, motifs, and even pigments that circulated…
Steve Zeitlin, “The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness” (Cornell UP, 2016)
May 25 • 69 min
This is a book of encounters. Part memoir, part essay, and partly a guide to maximizing your capacity for fulfillment and expression, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness (Cornell University Press, 2016) taps into the…
Diana Senechal, “Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)
May 25 • 60 min
In Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), Diana Senechal examines words, concepts, and phrases that demand reappraisal. Targeting a variety of terms, the author contends that a “good…
Mitchell Nathanson, “Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original” (U Nebraska Press, 2020)
May 25 • 77 min
Today we are joined by Dr. Mitchell Nathanson, author of the book Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original (University of Nebraska Press, 2020). Nathanson, a professor of law at the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports at Villanova University,…
Iva Glisic, “The Futurist Files: Avant-Garde, Politics, and Ideology in Russia, 1905–1930” (NIU Press, 2018)
May 21 • 62 min
Futurism was Russia’s first avant-garde movement. Gatecrashing the Russian public sphere in the early twentieth century, the movement called for the destruction of everything old, so that the past could not hinder the creation of a new, modern society.…
Caridad Svich, “The Hour of All Things and Other Plays” (Intellect Books, 2018)
May 20 • 81 min
The Hour of All Things and Other Plays (Intellect Books, 2018) collects four plays by Caridad Svich, a 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement playwright. The plays take place in Venezuela, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southwest Detroit, as well as cyberspace and…
Anne Lounsbery, “Life is Elsewhere: Symbolic Geography in the Russian Provinces” (Cornell UP, 2019)
May 18 • 71 min
In her journey through the greatest monuments of 19th- and early 20th-century Russian literature, as well as through lesser-known works from women and regional writers, Anne Lounsbery (Professor and Chair of the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies at…
John R. Gallagher, “Update Culture and the Afterlife of Writing” (Utah State UP, 2020)
May 11 • 73 min
On this episode, Lee Pierce (she/they interviews John R. Gallagher of University of Illinois about Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing (Utah State University Press, 2020) a dynamic look at the life of a text in the 21st century. Looking at…
Kevin McGrath, “Vyāsa Redux: Narrative in Epic Mahābhārata” (Anthem Press, 2019)
May 11 • 55 min
In Vyāsa Redux: Narrative in Epic Mahābhārata (Anthem Press, 2019), Kevin McGrath examines the complex and enigmatic Vyāsa, both the primary creative poet of the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata and a key character in the very epic he composes. In doing so…
Matthew Miller, “The German Epic in the Cold War: Peter Weiss, Uwe Johnson, and Alexander Kluge” (Northwestern UP, 2018)
May 7 • 69 min
In his new book, The German Epic in the Cold War: Peter Weiss, Uwe Johnson, and Alexander Kluge (Northwestern University Press, 2018), Matthew Miller explores the literary evolution of the modern epic in postwar German literature. Examining works by Peter…
Martin Shaw, “Courting the Wild Twin” (Chelsea Green, 2020)
May 5 • 52 min
Today I interview Martin Shaw. In Shaw’s new book, Courting the Wild Twin (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020), he writes, “Here’s a secret I don’t share very often. Myths are not only to do with a long time ago. They have a promiscuous, curious, weirdly…
Brian Collins, “The Other Rāma: Matricide and Genocide in the Mythology of Paraśurāma” (SUNY Press, 2020)
May 4 • 63 min
Brian Collins’ book The Other Rāma Matricide and Genocide in the Mythology of Paraśurāma (SUNY Press, 2020) examines a fascinating, understudied figure appearing in Sanskrit narrative texts: Paraśurāma, i.e., “Rāma with the Axe”. Though he is counted as…
Carl Rollyson, “The Life of William Faulkner: The Past Is Never Dead, 1897-1934” (UVA Press, 2020)
May 4 • 57 min
As a novelist, short story author, screenwriter, and Nobel laureate, William Faulkner looms large in modern American literature. Yet the very range of his work and the sources for his rich literary worlds often defy easy assessment. In The Life of William…
Leslie M. Harris, “Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies” (U Georgia Press, 2019)
Apr 28 • 59 min
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of…
Martha Ackermann, “These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson” (Norton, 2020)
Apr 28 • 56 min
After a life lived in obscurity, Emily Dickinson emerged after death as one of the greatest poets of her time. In These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson (W. W. Norton, 2020), Martha Ackermann traces her evolution as a…
Great Books: Melissa Schwartzberg on Rousseau’s “The Social Contract”
Apr 28 • 60 min
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” The opening sentence of 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Roussau’s The Social Contract poses a central question for all of us. Why do we live under conditions of inequality, violence, dependency and…
Archana Venkatesan, “Endless Song: Tiruvaymoli” (Penguin, 2010)
Apr 27 • 63 min
Endless Song (Oxford University Press, 2019) is Dr. Archana Venkatesan’s exquisite translation of the Tiruvaymoli (sacred utterance), a brilliant 1102-verse ninth century tamil poem celebrating the poet Nammalvar’s mystical quest for union with his…
Archana Venkatesan, “Endless Song: Tiruvaymoli” (Penguin, 2010)
Apr 27 • 63 min
Endless Song (Oxford University Press, 2019) is Dr. Archana Venkatesan’s exquisite translation of the Tiruvaymoli (sacred utterance), a brilliant 1102-verse ninth century tamil poem celebrating the poet Nammalvar’s mystical quest for union with his…
Robert Elmer, “Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans” (Lexham Press, 2020)
Apr 21 • 33 min
Robert Elmer, who is a communications specialist at Seattle Pacific University, a prolific writer of historical fiction, and the author of over fifty published titles, has published a ground-breaking anthology of prayers that he has collected from English…
Great Books: Maureen McLane on Wordsworth’s Poetry
Apr 21 • 68 min
The British romantic poet William Wordsworth is best known for his moving evocations of nature, his celebration of childhood, and his quest to find a shared humanity in his poetry. He’s also widely considered the first modern poet because he turns his…
Christiane Gruber, “The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images” (Indiana UP, 2019)
Apr 17 • 63 min
In our most recent public memory, images of the Prophet Muhammad have caused a great deal of controversy, such as satirical cartoons of Muhammad in French magazine Charlie Hebdo, or Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The sometimes violent backlash to these…
Joseph Rex Young, “George R.R. Martin and the Fantasy Form” (Routledge, 2019)
Apr 15 • 90 min
“In the game of thrones you either win or you die”––with over 10 million viewers per episode of Game of Thrones, one of the most successful television shows of all time, George R.R. Martin definitely wins. The success of the show is even more amazing…
Great Books: Nicholas Johnson on Samuel Beckett
Apr 14 • 68 min
“Another heavenly day” is the opening line of Samuel Beckett’s play Happy Days (1961), where Winnie sits buried to her waist in sand, with her husband Willie stuck a few feet away from her … but language, memory, and consciousness are not all she has.…
Conor Picken and Matthew Dischinger, “Southern Comforts: Drinking and the US South” (LSU Press, 2020)
Apr 10 • 60 min
In this this interview, Carrie Tippen talks with Conor Picken and Matthew Dischinger about their edited collection, Southern Comforts: Drinking and the US South from Louisiana State University Press’s Southern Literary Studies Series. This collection of…
Margaret Hillenbrand, “Negative Exposures: Knowing What Not to Know in Contemporary China” (Duke UP, 2020)
Apr 2 • 61 min
The fact that secrecy and the concealment of information is important in today’s China is hardly a secret in itself, yet the ways that this secrecy is structured and sustained in such a vast society is not especially well understood. A lot more must be at…
C. Baker and P. Phongpaichit, “From the Fifty Jātaka: Selections from the Thai Paññāsa Jātaka” (Silkworm Books, 2019)
Apr 2 • 85 min
The Jātaka tales, or stories of the Buddha’s previous lives as a bodhisatta, are included in the Pāli Canon and have for centuries been a rich source of inspiration in Theravada Buddhism. In addition to these classical Jātaka, a number of other…
Great Books: Amir Eshel on Paul Celan’s Poetry
Mar 31 • 58 min
Paul Celan’s poetry marks the end of European modernism: he is the last poet of the era where the poetic “I” could center a subjective vision of the world through language. Celan bears witness to the Holocaust as the irredeemable rupture in European…
Matt Cook, “Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy” (MIT Press, 2020)
Mar 30 • 54 min
Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician’s purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn’t require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words…
Great Books: Julie Carlson on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
Mar 24 • 53 min
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley wrote Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus when she was nineteen years old on a bet. The novel spawned two centuries of creatures that turn against their makers. It examines the limits of scientific innovation, whether…
Elizabeth A. Wheeler, “HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth” (U Michigan Press, 2019)
Mar 23 • 59 min
Throughout her new book, HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth (University of Michigan Press 2019), Elizabeth A. Wheeler uses a fictional place called HandiLand as a yardstick for measuring how far American society has progressed toward social justice…
Elizabeth A. Wheeler, “HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth” (U Michigan Press, 2019)
Mar 23 • 59 min
Throughout her new book, HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth (University of Michigan Press 2019), Elizabeth A. Wheeler uses a fictional place called HandiLand as a yardstick for measuring how far American society has progressed toward social justice…
Nicholas R. Jones, “Staging Habla de Negros: Radical Performance of the African Diaspora in Early Modern Spain” (Penn State UP, 2019)
Mar 20 • 78 min
Nicholas R. Jones’s book, Staging Habla de Negros: Radical Performance of the African Diaspora in Early Modern Spain (Penn State University Press, 2019), analyzes white appropriations of black African voices in Spanish theater in the sixteenth through…
Jessie Labov, “Transatlantic Central Europe: Contesting Geography and Redefining Culture beyond the Nation” (Central European UP, 2019)
Mar 20 • 54 min
While there are still occasional uses of it today, the term “Central Europe” carries little of the charge that it did in the 1980s and early 1990s, and as a political and intellectual project it has receded from the horizon. Proponents of a distinct…
Andrew Ollett, “Language of the Snakes” (U California Press, 2017)
Mar 19 • 65 min
Andrew Ollett, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, argues in his book, Language of the Snakes: (University of California Press, 2017), that Prakrit is “the most important Indian…
Great Books: John Callahan on Ellison’s “Invisible Man”
Mar 17 • 53 min
Ralph Waldo Ellison’s masterpiece Invisible Man tells the story of an African-American man who insists on his visibility, agency, and humanity in a country dead-set on not seeing him. Barring him from most opportunities, and denying his humanity. The book…
Melissa Walker and Giselle Roberts, “Women’s Diaries and Letters of the South” (U South Carolina Press)
Mar 13 • 42 min
Professors Melissa Walker of Converse College and Giselle Roberts of Australia’s La Trobe University, editors of the Women’s Diaries and Letters of the South series, discuss the field of documentary editing and how the personal writings of southern women…
Carl W. Ernst, “Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr” (Northwestern UP, 2018)
Mar 13 • 60 min
“I am the Real,” is the ecstatic statement often associated with the early Sufi poet Mansur al-Hallaj. In popular narratives about Hallaj this declaration of absolute unity with God is what led to his execution in Abbasid Baghdad. Other accounts attribute…
Andrew Milner, “Again, Dangerous Visions: Essays in Cultural Materialism​” (Brill/Haymarket, 2018)
Mar 11 • 66 min
Again, Dangerous Visions: Essays in Cultural Materialism (Brill/Haymarket, 2018) brings together twenty-six essays charting the development of Andrew Milner’s distinctively Orwellian version of cultural materialism between 1981 and 2015. The essays…
Great Books: Hillary Chute on Art Spiegelman’s “Maus”
Mar 10 • 60 min
Art Spiegelman’s Maus is the story of an American cartoonist’s efforts to uncover and record his father’s story of survival of the Holocaust. It is also a cartoon, where the Jews are mice, the Nazis cats, the Poles dogs, and the French, well, you’ll have…
Adrian Wisnicki, “Fieldwork of Empire, 1840-1900: Intercultural Dynamics in the Production of British Expeditionary Literature” (Routledge, 2019)
Mar 6 • 34 min
Adrian Wisnicki talks about the British expeditionary literature of the late 1800s. Reading between the lines of Victorian travel accounts, Wisnicki sees outlines of a bigger story — local peoples, landscapes, and ways of life. Wisnicki is an Associate…
Great Books: Peter Brooks on Freud’s “Civilization and its Discontents”
Mar 3 • 52 min
We want to be happy, we want to get what we want, we want to love and be loved. But life, even when our basic needs are met, often makes us unhappy. You can’t always get what you want, Freud noted in his 1930 short book, Civilization and its Discontents.…
Lijun Zhang and Ziying You, “Chinese Folklore Studies Today: Discourse and Practice” (Indiana UP, 2020)
Feb 27 • 73 min
The discipline of folkloristics in the People’s Republic of China is robust and well-funded. With thousands of scholars across the country, it is surprising then that there is relatively little understanding of the research and contributions of Chinese…
D. Gilhooley and F. Toich, “Psychoanalysis, Intersubjective Writing, and a Postmaterialist Model of Mind” (Routledge, 2019)
Feb 27 • 57 min
More than anything else, Psychoanalysis, Intersubjective Writing, and a Postmaterialist Model of Mind: I Woke Up Dead (Routledge, 2019) bears witness to what’s possible when the raw pain and heartbreak of life and death are worked with in Psychoanalysis.…
Great Books: Deborah Plant on Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God”
Feb 25 • 73 min
“It was not death she feared. It was misunderstanding.” This line from Zora Neale Hurston’s masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God, captures what is at the heart of all great literature: the irrepressible urge to speak, to be heard and understood. I…
Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)
Feb 25 • 42 min
How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis…
Great Books: Emily Bernard on Larsen’s “Passing”
Feb 18 • 65 min
Nella Larsen’s gripping 1929 novel Passing recounts the fateful encounter, first on a fancy Chicago hotel rooftop restaurant on a sweltering August afternoon and later in New York City, of two women who grew up together and then lost touch, and who can…
Abigail Shinn, “Conversion Narratives in Early Modern England: Tales of Turning” (Palgrave, 2018)
Feb 17 • 34 min
Why did early modern people change their religious affiliation? And how did they represent that change in writing? In this outstanding new book, Conversion Narratives in Early Modern England: Tales of Turning (Palgrave, 2018), Abigail Shinn, who teaches…
S. Bergès, E. Hunt Botting, A. Coffee, “The Wollstonecraftian Mind” (Routledge, 2019)
Feb 14 • 64 min
The Wollstonecraftian Mind (Routledge, 2019) is an extensive compendium of Mary Wollstonecraft as a writer, as an interlocutor, as a philosopher and political theorist, and as a feminist thinker. The text, which is impressive in its reach, breath, and…
Carol Zaleski, “The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings” (FSG, 2016)
Feb 13 • 62 min
Starting in the early 1930s, a small group of academics and writers met weekly in a pub in Oxford, England to discuss literature, religion, and ideas. Known as the Inklings, it was in part from their companionship that some of the greatest works of…
Great Books: Benjamin Reiss on Thoreau’s “Walden”
Feb 11 • 61 min
America’s “environmental prophet,” Henry David Thoreau, set out for a simpler, more mindful, and more deeply lived life on Walden Pond on July 4th, 1845. How to live deliberately, being mindful of the things that truly matter and not let ourselves be…
Abdullah Qodiriy, “Bygone Days” (Bowker, 2019)
Feb 6 • 64 min
Mark Reese’s recent translation of Abdullah Qodiriy’s 1920s novel O’tkan Kunlar (Bygone Days) brings an exemplary piece of modern Uzbek literature to English-speaking audiences. The story, which simultaneously follows the personal story of a Muslim…
D. J. Taylor, “The Lost Girls: Love and Literature in Wartime London” (Pegasus Books, 2020)
Feb 4 • 23 min
Who were the Lost Girls? All coming from broken or failed Upper-middle Class families; the Lost Girls were all chic, glamorous, and bohemian, as likely to be found living in a rat-haunted maisonette as dining at the Ritz, Lys Lubbock, Sonia Brownell,…
Great Books: Glenn Wallis on Gibran’s “The Prophet”
Feb 4 • 66 min
Kahlil Gibran’s 1923 The Prophet is book that’s changed people’s lives. It is a deceptively simple book, but it contains a radical insight. “Of what can I speak save of that which is even now moving in your souls?” What can a book teach us that we cannot…
K. Linder et al., “Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers” (Stylus Publishing, 2020)
Jan 30 • 39 min
If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career…
Catherine A. Stewart, “Long Past Slavery: Representing Race in the Federal Writers’ Project” (UNC Press, 2016)
Jan 30 • 73 min
Catherine A. Stewart is the author of Long Past Slavery: Representing Race in the Federal Writers’ Project, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016. Long Past Slavery examines the history behind the collection of more than 2,300…
Great Books: Catherine Stimpson on de Beauvior’s “The Second Sex”
Jan 28 • 53 min
“Woman is not born but made.” This is only one of the powerful sentences in Simone de Beauvoir’s magisterial The Second Sex (1949). It means that there’s nothing natural about the fact that 50% of humanity has been oppressed by the other half for…
Helen Taylor, “Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives” (Oxford UP, 2020)
Jan 27 • 32 min
Why and how is fiction important to women? In Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives (Oxford University Press, 2020), Helen Taylor, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Exeter, explores this question to give a detailed and engaging…
Keri Holt, “Reading These United States: Federal Literacy in the Early Republic, 1776-1830” (U Georgia Press, 2019)
Jan 27 • 37 min
Keri Holt is the author of Reading These United States: Federal Literacy in the Early Republic, 1776-1830, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2019. Reading These United States explores how Americans read, saw, and understood the federal…
Emily Colbert Cairns, “Esther in Early Modern Iberia and the Sephardic Diaspora: Queen of the Conversas” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
Jan 23 • 54 min
Emily Colbert Cairns’ book, Esther in Early Modern Iberia and the Sephardic Diaspora: Queen of the Conversas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), traces the biblical figure of Esther, the secret Jewish Queen, as she is reinvented as the patron saint for the early…
Great Books: Rich Blint on James Baldwin’s “Another Country”
Jan 21 • 66 min
“If we - and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks […] do not falter in our duty now, we may be able […] to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.” James Baldwin’s…
Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, “The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games” (NYU Press, 2019)
Jan 20 • 66 min
Ebony Elizabeth Thomas has written a beautiful, captivating, and thoughtful book about the idea of our imaginations, especially our cultural imaginations, and the images and concepts that we all consume, especially as young readers and audience members.…
Eileen Botting, “The Wollstonecraftian Mind” (Routledge, 2019)
Jan 15 • 68 min
Eileen Hunt Botting is Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame and co-editor with Sandrine Berges and Alan Coffee of the anthology The Wollstonecraftian Mind (Routledge, 2019). The collection presents thirty-nine essays from distinguished scholars in…
Great Books: Carol Gilligan on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”
Jan 14 • 74 min
Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter tells the dramatic story of a woman cast out of society for adultery and condemned to wear a badge of shame in Puritan New England. Renowned psychologist Carol Gilligan identifies Hawthorne’s masterpiece…
Gonzalo Lamana, “How ‘Indians’ Think: Colonial Indigenous Intellectuals and the Question of Critical Race Theory” (U Arizona Press, 2019)
Jan 14 • 48 min
In his new book, How “Indians” Think: Colonial Indigenous Intellectuals and the Question of Critical Race Theory (University of Arizona Press, 2019), Dr. Gonzalo Lamana carefully investigates the writings of Indigenous intellectuals of the Andean region…
Tobias Boes, “Thomas Mann’s War: Literature, Politics, and the World Republic of Letters” (Cornell UP, 2019)
Jan 14 • 89 min
In Thomas Mann’s War: Literature, Politics, and the World Republic of Letters (Cornell University Press, 2019), Tobias Boes traces how the acclaimed and bestselling author became one of America’s most prominent anti-fascists and the spokesperson for a…
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, “Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America” (W. W. Norton, 2019)
Jan 14 • 40 min
Descendants of a prominent slaveholding family, Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Lumpkin grew up in a culture of white supremacy. But while Elizabeth remained a lifelong believer, her younger sisters chose vastly different lives. Seeking their fortunes in…
Ingrid Horrocks, “Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility, 1784–1814” (Cambridge UP, 2019)
Jan 10 • 33 min
Ingrid Horrocks talks about the way women travelers, specifically women wanderers, are represented in late-eighteenth century literature, particularly in the work of women writers. Horrocks in an associate professor in the School of English and Media…
Great Books: Jared Stark on Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse”
Jan 7 • 42 min
“On or around December 1910, human character changed.” Virginia Woolf’s 1927 masterpiece To The Lighthouse teaches us how to take stock of the experience of living in the modern age. We know that we experience time not uniformly, but how do we make sense…
Barbara Spackman, “Accidental Orientalists: Modern Italian Travelers in Ottoman Lands” (Liverpool UP, 2017)
Jan 6 • 48 min
Barbara Spackman’s riveting study identifies a strand of what it calls “Accidental Orientalism” in narratives by Italians who found themselves in Ottoman Egypt and Anatolia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Relocated, or “de-toured” by historical…
Abdulhamid Sulaymon o’g’li Cho’lpon, “Night and Day: A Novel” (Academic Studies Press, 2019)
Jan 3 • 47 min
Christopher Fort’s new translation of Abdulhamid Sulaymon o’g’li Cho’lpon’s Night and Day: A Novel (Academic Studies Press, 2019) (Kecha va Kunduz) gives readers a chance to dive into the world of early 20th century Uzbek literature and understand the…
David N. Gottlieb, “Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Cultural Memory” (Gorgias Press, 2019)
Jan 2 • 66 min
In Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Cultural Memory (Gorgias Press, 2019), David N. Gottlieb explores the decisive - and, until now, under-appreciated - influence exerted on Jewish memory by the Akedah, the Binding of…
Great Books: Ava Chin on Kingston’s “The Woman Warrior”
Dec 31, 2019 • 45 min
What stories should we remember, and which ones are we forced to forget? What if we discover a truth from the past that shaped us even though we didn’t know it? Maxine Hong Kingston’s 1975 masterpiece, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among…
Simon Brodbeck, “Krishna’s Lineage: The Harivamsha of Vyasa’s Mahabharata” (Oxford UP, 2019)
Dec 26, 2019 • 47 min
While typically circulating as a separate text, The Harivamsha forms the final part of the Mahabharata storyline. Beyond this, it is rich storehouse of cosmological, genealogical, theological materials, detailing the biography of Krishna (avatar of the…
Great Books: Manthia Diawara on Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
Dec 24, 2019 • 39 min
The Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe’s 1958 Things Fall Apart transformed the world by vividly imagining the story of an African community in English, the language of the colonizers, and yet on its own terms. It transformed not only the English language…
Emilia Nielsen, “Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives: Stories of Rage and Repair” (U Toronto Press, 2019)
Dec 11, 2019 • 24 min
In this interview, Prof. Emilia Nielsen discusses the problem of the usual breast cancer narrative. She says that the happy stories of breast cancer survivors are so common that any other types of narrative almost require an apology. Emilia Nielsen is an…
Claire Chambers, “Making Sense of Contemporary British Muslim Novels” (Palgrave, 2019)
Dec 6, 2019 • 47 min
After the Rushdie affair in 1989 there was an important shift in the public life of British Muslims. Their image came under closer scrutiny which led to new social policies and self-perceptions. This moment also served as a significant pivot in the…
Eleanor Parker, “Dragon Lords: The History and Legends of Viking England” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
Dec 5, 2019 • 22 min
For all of their prominence in the popular imagination today, the historical record of the Viking presence in England is limited, with much of what we know about them dependent upon the literary accounts attached to it. In Dragon Lords: The History and…
John L. Brooke, “‘There Is a North’: Fugitive Slaves, Political Crisis, and Cultural Transformation in the Coming of the Civil War” (U Mass Press, 2019)
Dec 3, 2019 • 67 min
How does political change take hold? In the 1850s, politicians and abolitionists despaired, complaining that the “North, the poor timid, mercenary, driveling North” offered no forceful opposition to the power of the slaveholding South. And yet, as John L.…
Alberto Cairo, “How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information” (Norton, 2019)
Dec 3, 2019 • 57 min
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and…
Claudia Moscovici, “Holocaust Memories: A Survey of Holocaust Memoirs, Histories, Novels, and Films” (Hamilton, 2019)
Dec 2, 2019 • 30 min
Claudia Moscovici’s recent book, Holocaust Memories: A Survey of Holocaust Memoirs, Histories, Novels, and Films (Hamilton Books, 2019), is intended for educators and politicians to draw attention to and educate people about the Never Again Education Act.…
Kerry Driscoll, “Mark Twain among the Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples” (U California Press, 2018)
Dec 2, 2019 • 97 min
Mark Twain among the Indians and Other Indigenous Peoples (University of California Press, 2018; paperback edition, 2019) is the first book-length study of the writer’s evolving views regarding the aboriginal inhabitants of North America and the Southern…
Caroline Weber, “Proust’s Duchess” (Knopf, 2019)
Nov 27, 2019 • 72 min
“My greatest adventure was undoubtedly Proust. What is there left to write after that?” This is what Virginia Woolf said, full of admiration — and envy, too. Delve into Marcel Proust in this conversation with Caroline Weber, author of Proust’s Duchess:…
Richard F. Thomas, “Why Bob Dylan Matters” (Dey Street, 2017)
Nov 26, 2019 • 67 min
When the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan in 2016, a debate raged. Some celebrated, while many others questioned the choice. How could the world’s most prestigious book prize be awarded to a famously cantankerous singer-songwriter who…
Ann K. McClellan, “Sherlock’s World: Fan Fiction and the Reimagining of BBC’s Sherlock” (U Iowa Press, 2018)
Nov 26, 2019 • 69 min
In Sherlock’s World: Fan Fiction and the Reimagining of BBC’s Sherlock (University of Iowa Press, 2018), Ann K. McClellan explores fan fiction inspired by one of the most-watch BBC series in history. Even after 130 years, Sherlock Holmes is still one of…
Lian Xi, “Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China” (Basic Books, 2018)
Nov 21, 2019 • 78 min
In 1960, a poet and journalist named Lin Zhao was arrested by the Communist Party of China and sent to prison for re-education. Years before, she had –at approximately the same time– converted to both Christianity and to Maoism. In prison she lost the…
Kelsey Rubin-Detlev, “The Epistolary Art of Catherine the Great” (Liverpool UP, 2019)
Nov 20, 2019 • 58 min
The Epistolary Art of Catherine the Great (Liverpool University Press, 2019) is the first scholarly monograph devoted to the comprehensive analysis of the letters of Empress Catherine the Great of Russia (r. 1762-1796), as well as the first to examine the…
Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne, “Holding Onto Nothing” (Blair, 2019)
Nov 19, 2019 • 24 min
Lucy Kilgore has her bags packed for her escape from her rural Tennessee upbringing, but a drunken mistake forever tethers her to the town and one of its least-admired residents, Jeptha Taylor, who becomes the father of her child. Together, these two…
Mark Alizart, “Dogs” (Polity, 2019)
Nov 18, 2019 • 47 min
Man’s best friend, domesticated since prehistoric times, a travelling companion for explorers and artists, thinkers and walkers, equally happy curled up by the fire and bounding through the great outdoors―dogs matter to us because we love them. But is…
Liz Gloyn, “Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
Nov 12, 2019 • 68 min
What is it about ancient monsters that popular culture still finds so enthralling? Why do the monsters of antiquity continue to stride across the modern world? In Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), the first…
Jim Clarke, “Science Fiction and Catholicism: The Rise and Fall of the Robot Papacy” (Gylphi, 2019)
Nov 8, 2019 • 45 min
Ah, science fiction: Aliens? Absolutely. Robots? Of course. But why are there so many priests in space? As Jim Clarke writes in Science Fiction and Catholicism: The Rise and Fall of the Robot Papacy (Gylphi, 2019), science fiction has had an obsession…
Paula McQuade, “Catechisms and Women’s Writing in Seventeenth-Century England” (Cambridge UP, 2017)
Nov 8, 2019 • 35 min
Paula McQuade, professor of English literature at DePaul University, is the author of a brilliant new account of Catechisms and Women’s Writing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2017). This book opens up an entirely new field for…
John Shelton Reed, “Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s” (LSU Press, 2012)
Nov 7, 2019 • 50 min
John Shelton Reed, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of sociology (emeritus) at the University of North Carolina, has been observing the South for decades. This week he and Al Zambone talk about New Orleans in the 1920s, the subject of his book Dixie…
Annabel L. Kim, “Unbecoming Language: Anti-Identitarian French Feminist Fictions” (Ohio State UP, 2018)
Nov 6, 2019 • 61 min
In Unbecoming Language: Anti-Identitarian French Feminist Fictions (The Ohio State University Press, 2018), Annabel Kim tangles with the question of difference so central to French feminism, theory, and writing. In a series of literary and historical…
Emily Wilson, trans., “The Odyssey” (Norton, 2017)
Nov 5, 2019 • 68 min
The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty, and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home. In this fresh,…
Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing
Nov 3, 2019 • 40 min
As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called “fundamental research.” Their authors—dedicated…
Tamara Hundorova, “The Post-Chornobyl Library: Ukrainian Postmodernism of the 1990s” (ASP, 2019)
Oct 29, 2019 • 48 min
Tamara Hundorova’s The Post-Chornobyl Library: Ukrainian Postmodernism of the 1990s (Academic Studies Press, 2019) is a compelling study of the literary changes that mark Ukrainian literature at the end of the 20th century. As the title of the book…
Andrew Hobbs, “A Fleet Street In Every Town: The Provincial Press in England, 1855-1900” (Open Book, 2018)
Oct 24, 2019 • 46 min
The dominance of the London press in the British national media has long overshadowed the presence of local newspapers in Great Britain and the roles they played in their communities. As Andrew Hobbs demonstrates in his book A Fleet Street In Every Town:…
J. Neuhaus, “Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers” (West Virginia UP, 2019)
Oct 24, 2019 • 32 min
The things that make people academics — as deep fascination with some arcane subject, often bordering on obsession, and a comfort with the solitude that developing expertise requires — do not necessarily make us good teachers. Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Geeky…
Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee, “Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism” (Anthem Press, 2018)
Oct 21, 2019 • 67 min
The Hindu great epic, Mahābhārata, exists today in hundreds of variant manuscripts across India. These manuscripts were painstakingly examined, sorted and reconstituted into the official Critical Edition of the Mahābhārata. Is the Critical Edition a…
Noah Cohan, “We Average Unbeautiful Watchers: Fan Narratives and the Reading of American Sport” (U Nebraska, 2019)
Oct 18, 2019 • 67 min
Today we are joined by Noah Cohan, Lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and the author of We Average Unbeautiful Watchers: Fan Narratives and the Reading of American Sport (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). In our…
Lara Saguisag, “Incorrigibles and Innocents: Constructing Childhood and Citizenship in Progressive Era Comics” (Rutgers UP, 2018)
Oct 16, 2019 • 106 min
Histories and criticism of comics note that comic strips published in the Progressive Era were dynamic spaces in which anxieties about race, ethnicity, class, and gender were expressed, perpetuated, and alleviated. The proliferation of comic strip…
Yael Almog, “Secularism and Hermeneutics” (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)
Oct 16, 2019 • 59 min
In the late Enlightenment, a new imperative began to inform theories of interpretation: all literary texts should be read in the same way that we read the Bible. However, this assumption concealed a problem—there was no coherent “we” who read the Bible in…
Lara Saguisag, “Incorrigibles and Innocents: Constructing Childhood and Citizenship in Progressive Era Comics” (Rutgers UP, 2018)
Oct 16, 2019 • 106 min
Histories and criticism of comics note that comic strips published in the Progressive Era were dynamic spaces in which anxieties about race, ethnicity, class, and gender were expressed, perpetuated, and alleviated. The proliferation of comic strip…
Elizabeth DeLoughrey, “Allegories of the Anthropocene” (Duke UP, 2019)
Oct 15, 2019 • 36 min
While the mainstream discourses on global warming characterize it as an unprecedented catastrophe that unites the globe in a common challenge, Elizabeth DeLoughrey argues that this apparently cosmopolitan position is in truth a provincial one limited to…
Rafia Zafar, “Recipes for Respect: African American Meals and Meaning” (U Georgia Press, 2019)
Oct 11, 2019 • 63 min
In this this interview, Dr. Carrie Tippen talks with Rafia Zafar about her 2019 book Recipes for Respect: African American Meals and Meaning, from the University of Georgia Press. It’s part of the Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People and…
Leah Price, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Books: The History and Future of Reading” (Basic Books, 2019)
Oct 3, 2019 • 42 min
Let’s talk about books! How, when, and what do you like to read? Have you ever thought about the history of books and reading? How about shape, size, or texture of your book? Where do books go after they’ve been digitized? Harvard University professor…
Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, “The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games” (NYU Press, 2019)
Oct 3, 2019 • 52 min
Stories provide portals into other worlds, both real and imagined. The promise of escape draws people from all backgrounds to speculative fiction, but when people of color seek passageways into the fantastic, the doors are often barred. This problem lies…
Gerry Milligan, “Moral Combat: Women, Gender and War in Italian Renaissance Literature” (U Toronto Press, 2018)
Oct 1, 2019 • 55 min
Gerry Milligan’s Moral Combat: Women, Gender and War in Italian Renaissance Literature (University of Toronto Press, 2018) takes as its subject the woman warrior in early modern Italy as she was and as she was represented across varied types of texts,…
Jeremy Black, “England in the Age of Shakespeare” (Indiana UP, 2019)
Sep 30, 2019 • 37 min
Jeremy Black’s impressive new book offers an enormously wide-ranging account of the social, political and religious cultures in which England’s greatest dramatist was formed and found success. England in the Age of Shakespeare (Indiana University Press,…
Tim Frandy, “Inari Sami Folklore: Stories from Aanaar” (U Wisconsin Press, 2019)
Sep 25, 2019 • 63 min
Inari Sámi Folklore: Stories from Aanaar (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019) is rich multivoiced anthology of folktales, legends, joik songs, proverbs, riddles, and other verbal art, this is the most comprehensive collection of Sámi oral tradition…
Kfir Cohen Lustig, “Makers of Worlds, Readers of Signs: Israeli and Palestinian Literature of the Global Contemporary” (Verso, 2019)
Sep 24, 2019 • 32 min
Differently than existing accounts that concentrate on Israeli and Palestinian nationalism, Kfir Cohen Lustig’s Makers of Worlds, Readers of Signs: Israeli and Palestinian Literature of the Global Contemporary (Verso, 2019) suggests a new theoretical and…
Jeffrey Saks, “Agnon Library of The Toby Press”
Sep 6, 2019 • 41 min
Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970) was born in Buczacz, Eastern Galicia (now part of Ukraine). Yiddish was the language of his home, and Hebrew the language of the Bible and the Talmud which he studied formally until the age of nine. His knowledge of German…
Andrew Newman, “Allegories of Encounter: Colonial Literacy and Indian Captivities” (UNC Press, 2019)
Aug 29, 2019 • 97 min
In Allegories of Encounter: Colonial Literacy and Indian Captivities (University of North Carolina Press—Chapel Hill & The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2019), Andrew Newman, Professor of English at Stony Brook University,…
Jennifer C. Lena, “Entitled: Discriminating Tastes and the Expansion of the Arts” ( Princeton UP, 2019)
Aug 29, 2019 • 36 min
How did American elites change the meaning of Art? In Entitled: Discriminating Tastes and the Expansion of the Arts (Princeton University Press, 2019), Jennifer C. Lena, associate professor of arts administration at Colombia University, charts the history…
Graham Thompson, “Herman Melville: Among the Magazines” (U Massachusetts Press 2018)
Aug 26, 2019 • 53 min
“What I feel most moved to write, that is banned―it will not pay. Yet, altogether, write the otherway I cannot.” Herman Melville wrote these words as he struggled to survive as a failing novelist. Between 1853 and 1856, he did write “the other way,”…
John T. Lysaker, “Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought” (U Chicago Press, 2018)
Aug 20, 2019 • 73 min
What is the relationship between the form of writing and what can be thought? How is a writer’s thinking shaped by form? How is a reader’s? Does this matter for philosophy? In Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought (University of Chicago Press,…
Lindsey Green-Simms, “Postcolonial Automobility: Car Culture in West Africa” (U Minnesota Press, 2019)
Aug 15, 2019 • 60 min
Cars promise freedom, autonomy, and above all, movement but leave whole cities stuck in traffic, breathing polluted air, exposed of deadly crashes, and dependent on vast the vast infrastructures of road networks, and oil production. Postcolonial…
Polina Kroik, “Cultural Production and the Politics of Women’s Work in American Film and Literature” (Routledge, 2019)
Aug 12, 2019 • 51 min
How does thinking about gender and work help to rethink cultural hierarchies? In Cultural Production and the Politics of Women’s Work in American Film and Literature(Routledge, 2019), Polina Kroik, who teaches at Fordham University and Baruch College,…
Ithamar Theodor, “Exploring the Bhagavad Gītā: Philosophy, Structure and Meaning” (Routledge, 2016)
Aug 12, 2019 • 55 min
The Bhagavad Gītā remains to this day a mainstay of Hinduism and Hindu Studies alike, despite the profusion of books written on it over the centuries. While the Gītā’s profundity is evident, its meaning most certainly is not. Is there a unity within the…
Lenora Warren, “Fire on the Water: Sailors, Slaves, and Insurrection in Early American Literature, 1789-1886” (Rutgers UP, 2019)
Aug 8, 2019 • 49 min
Lenora Warren about her book, Fire on the Water: Sailors, Slaves, and Insurrection in Early American Literature, 1789-1886, published by Rutgers University Press in 2019. Fire on the Water looks at the history of abolition and slave violence by looking at…
Grégory Pierrot, “The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture” (U Georgia Press, 2019)
Aug 7, 2019 • 60 min
With the Ta-Nehisi Coates–authored Black Panther comic book series (2016), recent films Django Unchained (2012), The Birth of a Nation (2016), Nate Parker’s cinematic imagining of the Nat Turner rebellion, and screen adaptations of Marvel’s Luke Cage…
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz, “Reciting the Goddess: Narratives of Place and the Making of Hinduism in Nepal” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Aug 6, 2019 • 61 min
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz’s Reciting the Goddess: Narratives of Place and the Making of Hinduism in Nepal (Oxford University, 2018) represents the very first study of a fascinating Hindu phenomenon: the Svasthanivratakatha (SVK), a sixteenth-century…
Aimee Bahng, “Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times” (Duke UP, 2018)
Aug 2, 2019 • 64 min
In Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times (Duke UP, 2018), Aimee Bahng traces the cultural production of futurity by juxtaposing the practices of speculative finance against those of speculative fiction. While financial speculation…
Elizabeth R. Baer, “The Genocidal Gaze: From German Southwest Africa to the Third Reich” (Wayne State UP, 2017)
Jul 26, 2019 • 81 min
In her new book, The Genocidal Gaze: From German Southwest Africa to the Third Reich (Wayne State University Press, 2017), Elizabeth R. Baer, professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College examines the threads of shared ideology in the Herero and Nama…
Tita Chico, “The Experimental Imagination: Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment” (Stanford UP, 2018)
Jul 22, 2019 • 68 min
Can science be seductive? According to Tita Chico, the answer is a resounding yes. In her new book, The Experimental Imagination: Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment(Stanford University Press, 2018), Dr. Chico’s new book upends the…
Melissa McCormick, “The Tale of Genji: A Visual Companion” (Princeton UP, 2018)
Jul 17, 2019 • 56 min
The Genji Album (1510) in the Harvard Art Museums is the oldest dated set of Genji illustrations known to exist. In The Tale of Genji. A Visual Companion, published by Princeton University Press in 2018, Melissa McCormick discusses all of the fifty-four…
Stijn Vanheule, Derek Hook and Calum Neill, “Reading Lacan’s Écrits” (Routledge, 2018)
Jul 15, 2019 • 60 min
Lacan published his Écrits in 1966, a compilation of his written work up to that middle period in his teaching. Notoriously difficult to read, the editors of the book we’re discussing today describe the Écrits as “an unwieldy, conglomerate ‘urtext’ … not…
Catherine Keyser, “Artificial Color: Modern Food and Racial Fictions” (Oxford UP, 2019)
Jul 15, 2019 • 74 min
In this this interview, Carrie Tippen talks with Catherine Keyser about early twentieth century fiction and the role that modern food plays in literature as a language for talking about race and racial categories. In Artificial Color: Modern Food and…
Alexandra Popoff, “Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century” (Yale UP, 2019)
Jul 12, 2019 • 65 min
Memory and truth are malleable and nowhere more so than in the Soviet Union. To be a writer in that country was to face an ongoing dilemma: conform to State-mandated topics and themes, or consign oneself to obscurity, writing only for “the desk drawer” or…
Seán Moore, “Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries” (Oxford UP, 2019)
Jul 11, 2019 • 62 min
Early American libraries stood at the nexus of two transatlantic branches of commerce—the book trade and the slave trade. Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries: British Literature, Political Thought, and the Transatlantic Book Trade,…
Jinah Kim, “Postcolonial Grief: The Afterlives of the Pacific Wars in the Americas” (Duke UP, 2019)
Jul 11, 2019 • 94 min
In Postcolonial Grief: The Afterlives of the Pacific Wars in the Americas (Duke University Press, 2019), Jinah Kim explores questions of loss, memory, and redress in post WWII Asian diasporic decolonial politics. Through a close analysis of seminal…
Dean Anthony Brink, “Japanese Poetry and its Publics: From Colonial Taiwan to Fukushima” (Routledge, 2018)
Jul 9, 2019 • 39 min
Is classical Japanese poetry something to be enjoyed in private, an object of study for scholars, or an item of public life teeming with hints about how to understand and deal with our past and our future? In Japanese Poetry and its Publics: From Colonial…
Lorenzo Andolfatto, “Hundred Days’ Literature: Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910” (Brill, 2019)
Jul 8, 2019 • 66 min
In Hundred Days’ Literature, Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910 (Brill, 2019), Lorenzo Andolfatto explores the landscape of early modern Chinese fiction through the lens of the utopian novel, casting new light on some of its most…
Bhakti Shringarpure, “Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital” (Routledge, 2019)
Jul 3, 2019 • 46 min
Bhakti Shringarpure has written a fascinating, multidimensional analysis of the Cold War and decolonization and the often-under-explored connections between these events. In her book, Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital (Routledge, 2019), she…
Tiffany Florvil and Vanessa Plumly, “Rethinking Black German Studies: Approaches, Interventions, and Histories” (Peter Lang, 2018)
Jul 3, 2019 • 69 min
Black German Studies is an interdisciplinary field that has experienced significant growth over the past three decades, integrating subjects such as gender studies, diaspora studies, history, and media and performance studies. The field’s contextual roots…
M. D. Foster and J. A. Tolbert, “The Folkloresque: Reframing Folklore in a Popular Culture World” (Utah State UP, 2015)
Jul 2, 2019 • 52 min
This volume introduces a new concept to explore the dynamic relationship between folklore and popular culture: the “folkloresque.” With “folkloresque,” Foster and Tolbert name the product created when popular culture appropriates or reinvents folkloric…
Christopher Rea, “China’s Chaplin: Comic Stories and Farces by Xu Zhuodai” (Cornell UP, 2019)
Jul 1, 2019 • 40 min
Hoaxes! Jokes! Farces and fun! Cristopher Rea’s China’s Chaplin (Cornell University Press, 2019) introduces the imagination of Xu Zhuodai (1880–1958), a comic dynamo who made Shanghai laugh through the tumultuous decades of the pre-Mao era. Xu was a…
Amos Mac and Rocco Kayiatos, “Original Plumbing: The Best of Ten Years of Trans Male Culture” (Amethyst Editions, 2019)
Jun 25, 2019 • 54 min
When Amos Mac and Rocco Kayiatos first launch Original Plumbing in 2009, they created a magazine the world desperately needed: a creative and celebratory biannual publication about trans men, by trans men. For ten years, OP was an inspired response to the…
Stephen R. Duncan, “The Rebel Café: Sex, Race, and Politics in Cold War America’s Nightclub Underground” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2018)
Jun 24, 2019 • 46 min
The art and antics of rebellious figures in 1950s American nightlife―from the Beat Generation to eccentric jazz musicians and comedians―have long fascinated fans and scholars alike. In The Rebel Café: Sex, Race, and Politics in Cold War America’s…
Anne A. Cheng, “Ornamentalism” (Oxford UP, 2019)
Jun 21, 2019 • 67 min
On this episode, Dr. Lee Pierce (she/they)—Asst. Prof. of Rhetoric and Communication at the State University of New York at Geneseo—Dr. Anne Cheng (she/hers)—Professor of English and Director of the Program in American Studies at Princeton University—to…
Eleonor Gilburd, “To See Paris and Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture” (Harvard UP, 2018)
Jun 19, 2019 • 87 min
Josef Stalin’s death in 1953 marked a noticeable shift in Soviet attitudes towards the West. A nation weary of war and terror welcomed with relief the new regime of Nikita Khrushchev and its focus on peaceful cooperation with foreign powers. A year after…
Kara Ritzheimer, “‘Trash,’ Censorship, and National Identity in Early Twentieth-Century Germany” (Cambridge UP, 2016)
Jun 18, 2019 • 59 min
Convinced that sexual immorality and unstable gender norms were endangering national recovery after World War One, German lawmakers drafted a constitution in 1919 legalizing the censorship of movies and pulp fiction, and prioritizing social rights over…
Sharon Kirsch, “Gertrude Stein and the Reinvention of Rhetoric” (U Alabama Press, 2014)
Jun 17, 2019 • 40 min
On this episode, Dr. Lee Pierce (she/they)—Asst. Prof. of Rhetoric at SUNY Geneseo—interviews Dr. Sharon Kirsch (she/hers)—Associate Prof. of English and rhetorical studies in the New College at Arizona State University—on the scintillating and…
Tsering Döndrup, “The Handsome Monk and Other Stories” (Columbia UP, 2019)
Jun 12, 2019 • 77 min
A series of stories ranging from two-page narrative excerpts to 90+ page novellas, The Handsome Monk and Other Stories (Columbia University Press, 2019), translated by Columbia PhD student Christopher Peacock, with a contribution from Lauran Hartley,…
Brian Cremins, “Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia” (UP of Mississippi, 2017)
Jun 11, 2019 • 67 min
Brian Cremins’ book Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia (University Press of Mississippi, 2017) explores the history of Billy Batson, a boy who met a wizard that allowed him to transform into a superhero. When Billy says, “Shazam!” he becomes Captain…
Annie McClanahan, “Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and Twenty-First Century Culture” (Stanford UP, 2016)
Jun 7, 2019 • 58 min
When teaching a public course called “The Age of Debt” this winter break, I had the strange realization that one of the the most successful readings in that course, the one which most clearly explained the 2008 crisis and the financialized economy, was…
John West, “Dryden and Enthusiasm: Literature, Religion and Politics in Restoration England” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Jun 6, 2019 • 38 min
John Dryden is often regarded as one of the most conservative writers in later seventeenth-century England, a time-serving “trimmer” who abandoned his early commitments to the English Republic to become the poet laureate and historiographer royal of…
Richard Averbeck, “Paradigm Change in Pentateuchal Research” (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2019)
Jun 4, 2019 • 24 min
For some two hundred years now, Pentateuchal scholarship has been dominated by the Documentary Hypothesis, a paradigm made popular by Julius Wellhausen. Recent decades, however, have seen mounting critiques of the old paradigm, from a variety of…
Robbie Richardson, “The Savage and Modern Self: North American Indians in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture” (U Toronto Press, 2018)
Jun 4, 2019 • 46 min
As they explored and struggled to establish settlements in what they called ‘new found lands’, the encounter with the peoples of those lands deeply affected how the British saw themselves. From the onset of colonisation, exotic visitors appeared in…
Niall Geraghty, “The Polyphonic Machine: Capitalism, Political Violence, and Resistance in Contemporary Argentine Literature” (U Pittsburgh Press, 2019)
May 30, 2019 • 36 min
What options for resistance are left to the author of fiction in a nation structured by totalizing political and economic violence? This is the question at the heart of Niall Geraghty’s eloquent and engaging book, The Polyphonic Machine: Capitalism,…
Dirk Jongkind, “An Introduction to the Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge” (Crossway, 2019)
May 28, 2019 • 29 min
Is the New Testament text reliable? What do we do with textual variants? How do I use the Greek New Testament? This short book, An Introduction to the Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge (Crossway, 2019) provides crucial information…
Jinhua Dai (ed. Lisa Rofel), “After the Post-Cold War: The Future of Chinese History” (Duke UP, 2018)
May 23, 2019 • 63 min
Although not all that well known to English-speaking audiences, cultural critic and Peking University professor Jinhua Dai’s incisive commentaries and critiques of contemporary Chinese life have elevated her to something akin to ‘rock star’ status in…
Anne A. Cheng, “Ornamentalism” (Oxford UP, 2019)
May 22, 2019 • 36 min
In her original and thought-provoking book Ornamentalism (Oxford University Press, 2019), Anne A. Cheng illustrates the longstanding relationship between the ‘oriental’ and the ‘ornamental’. So doing, she moves beyond a simple analysis of objectification…
Derrick Spires, “The Practice of Citizenship: Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States” (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)
May 15, 2019 • 52 min
With talk about birthright citizenship and border walls running rampant in Trump’s America, there are many scholars reaching back to antebellum America to historically ground today’s citizens in debates from the past that hold relevance now about both…
Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, “Inclusive Young Adult Fiction: Authors of Colour in the United Kingdom” (Palgrave, 2019)
May 14, 2019 • 39 min
Does publishing have a diversity problem? In Inclusive Young Adult Fiction: Authors of Colour in the United Kingdom Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, an associate professor at UCL’s Centre for Publishing lays bare the crisis of underrepresentation for British…
Dan Golding, “Star Wars after Lucas: A Critical Guide to the Future of the Galaxy” (U Minnesota Press, 2019)
May 13, 2019 • 75 min
In 2012 George Lucas shocked the entertainment world by selling the Star Wars franchise, along with Lucasfilm, to Disney. This is the story of how, over the next five years, Star Wars went from near-certain extinction to the release of a new movie…
Robin Truth Goodman, “The Bloomsbury Handbook of 21st-Century Feminist Theory” (Bloomsbury, 2019)
May 10, 2019 • 58 min
The book I’m bringing you today, The Bloomsbury Handbook of 21st-Century Feminist Theory (Bloomsbury, 2019) is the most comprehensive available survey of the state of the art of contemporary feminist thought. This is a collection of thirty-four chapters…
John Givens, “The Image of Christ in Russian Literature: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Pasternak” (Northern Illinois UP, 2018)
May 8, 2019 • 65 min
In The Image of Christ in Russian Literature: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Pasternak (Northern Illinois University Press, 2018), Dr. John Givens of the University of Rochester discusses classics of Russian literature such as The Brothers Karamazov and…
Ryan Hackenbracht, “National Reckonings: The Last Judgement and Literature in Milton’s England” (Cornell UP, 2019)
May 6, 2019 • 42 min
Ryan Hackenbracht, who is an associate professor of English at Texas Tech University, has just published one of the most innovative and stimulating discussions of the interplay between literature and religion in early modern England. National Reckonings:…
Susan Lepselter, “The Resonance of Unseen Things: Poetics, Power, and UFOs in the American Uncanny” (U Michigan Press, 2016)
May 6, 2019 • 56 min
When we talk about stories of alien abduction in the United States, we often do so through a framework of belief vs. disbelief. Do I think this story is true, or do I think it’s false? Anthropologist Susan Lepselter asks what happens when we instead…
William Poole, “Milton and the Making of Paradise Lost” (Harvard UP, 2017)
May 2, 2019 • 47 min
John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) is widely recognised as the greatest epic poem in the English language – and it is buried in the commentary of thousands of other texts. William Poole, who is John Galsworthy Fellow and Tutor in English at New College,…
Adriana X. Jacobs, “Strange Cocktail: Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry” (U Michigan Press, 2018)
May 2, 2019 • 41 min
In Strange Cocktail: Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry(University of Michigan Press, 2018), Adriana X. Jacobs offers a translation-centered reading of twentieth-century modern Hebrew poetry. Through close readings of poems by Esther Raab,…
Christina Yi, “Colonizing Language: Cultural Production and Language Politics in Modern Japan and Korea” (Columbia UP, 2018)
May 2, 2019 • 62 min
The fact that Korea’s experience of Japanese imperialism plays a role in present-day Japan-Korea relations is no secret to anyone. Questions of guilt, responsibility and atonement continue to bubble below, and occasionally break through, the surface of…
A. M. Ruppell, “The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit” (Cambridge UP, 2017)
May 1, 2019 • 77 min
Why would anyone want to study Sanskrit, an ancient complex tongue? What’s the best way to go about doing so? Sanskrit is the highly sophisticated language of ancient India which remained in vogue for Millennia as a medium of philosophy, ritual, poetry –…
Raj Balkaran, “The Goddess and The King in Indian Myth” (Routledge, 2018)
Apr 26, 2019 • 45 min
Why are myths of the Indian Great Goddess couched in a conversation between a deposed king and forest-dwelling ascetic? What happens when we examine these myths as a literary whole, frame and all? What interpretive clues might we find in their very…
Pu Wang, “The Translatability of Revolution: Guo Moruo and Twentieth-Century Chinese Culture” (Harvard Asia Center, 2018)
Apr 23, 2019 • 66 min
With questions over how ideas are translated across borders and between languages as acute as ever today, it is sometimes easy to forget that our efforts to understand each other are mediated through many accreted layers of previous translations. Pu…
Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, “In Dialogue with Classical Indian Traditions: Encounter, Transformation and Interpretation” (Routledge, 2019)
Apr 23, 2019 • 53 min
Why does the narrative motif of ‘dialogue’ pervade Hindu texts? What role does it serve? Join me as I speak with Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (Fellow of the British Academy, and distinguished professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy at Lancaster…
Margaret Leslie Davis, “The Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book’s Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey” (TarcherPerigee, 2019)
Apr 15, 2019 • 61 min
Of the millions of books that have been published, few are as renowned or as coveted today by collectors as the famous Bible printed in the 15th century by Johannes Gutenberg. In The Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book’s Five-Hundred-Year…
Shonaleeka Kaul, “The Making of Early Kashmir: Landscape and Identity in the Rajatarangini” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Apr 11, 2019 • 72 min
Dr. Shonaleeka Kaul is a cultural historian of early South Asia specializing in working with Sanskrit texts. She is Associate Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and has worked extensively on Sanskrit kavya, a…
Thomas A. Wayment, “The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints” (BYU, 2019)
Apr 8, 2019 • 73 min
Dr. Thomas A. Wayment, professor of Classics at Brigham Young University, has done something remarkable — he has retranslated the New Testament. This new translation from the best available Greek manuscripts, entitled, The New Testament: A Translation for…
Joel Elliot Slotkin, “Sinister Aesthetics: The Appeal of Evil in Early Modern Literature” (Palgrave, 2017)
Mar 29, 2019 • 33 min
Why did creative writers in early modern England write so forcefully about the relationship between aesthetics and morality? How did they imagine creative work to reflect religious categories and moral expectations? In his new book, Sinister Aesthetics:…
Ralph James Savarese, “Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor” (Duke UP, 2018)
Mar 29, 2019 • 52 min
From the earliest days of medical research into autism, both psychologists and the general public have characterised those on the autism spectrum as literal-minded, unimaginative and lacking in empathy. While in recent years a fresh emphasis on…
Joseph Vogel, “James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era” (U Illinois Press, 2018)
Mar 28, 2019 • 40 min
By the 1980s, critics and the public alike considered James Baldwin irrelevant. Yet Baldwin remained an important, prolific writer until his death in 1987. Indeed, his work throughout the decade pushed him into new areas, in particular an expanded…
Kurt Raaflaub, “The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works” (Pantheon, 2017)
Mar 26, 2019 • 46 min
That the Roman leader Gaius Julius Caesar is so well remembered today for his achievements as a general is largely due to his skills as a writer. In The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works (Pantheon, 2017), the distinguished classics scholar Kurt…
Discussion of Massive Online Peer Review and Open Access Publishing
Mar 19, 2019 • 32 min
In the information age, knowledge is power. Hence, facilitating the access to knowledge to wider publics empowers citizens and makes societies more democratic. How can publishers and authors contribute to this process? This podcast addresses this issue.…
Andrew Sobanet, “Generation Stalin: French Writers, the Fatherland, and the Cult of Personality” (Indiana UP, 2018)
Mar 14, 2019 • 57 min
In his 1924 biography of Mahatma Gandhi, writer Romain Rolland embraced the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence and decried the “dictators of Moscow” and the “idolatrous ideology of the Revolution.” Seven years later, in a startling reversal, Rolland…
T. Troianowska and A. Polakowska, “Being Poland: A New History of Polish Literature and Culture since 1918” (U Toronto Press, 2018)
Mar 14, 2019 • 42 min
Being Poland: A New History of Polish Literature and Culture since 1918 (University of Toronto Press, 2018) consists of sixty essays written by authors from all over the world who specialize in Polish literature and culture. They write from a unique…
Anindita Banerjee, “Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East” (Peter Lang, 2018)
Mar 7, 2019 • 40 min
How do we project imagined worlds? After all, why do we find ourselves mesmerized by imagined worlds? A collection edited by Anindita Banerjee, Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East (Peter Lang Ltd, 2018), delves into the intricate developments…
Richard Salomon, “The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra: An Introduction with Selected Translation” (Wisdom Publications, 2018)
Mar 1, 2019 • 58 min
In this episode of New Books in Buddhist Studies, Dr. Richard Salomon speaks about his book The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra: An Introduction with Selected Translation (Wisdom Publications, 2018). One of the great archeological finds of the…
Bradford Vivian, “Commonplace Witnessing: Rhetorical Invention, Historical Remembrance, and Public Culture” (Oxford UP, 2017)
Feb 27, 2019 • 61 min
On this episode of New Books in Communications, Lee Pierce (she/they) interviews Dr. Bradford Vivian (he/his) of Penn State University on his fabulous new book Commonplace Witnessing: Rhetorical Invention, Historical Remembrance, and Public Culture…
Adrienne Brown, “The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race” (John Hopkins UP, 2017)
Feb 25, 2019 • 77 min
Adrienne Brown joins the New Books Network this week to talk about her fascinating 2017 book, The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race (John Hopkins University Press, 2017), which was a recent recipient of the Modern Studies…
Oded Nir, “Signatures of Struggle: The Figuration of Collectivity in Israeli Fiction” (SUNY Press, 2018)
Feb 22, 2019 • 47 min
Signatures of Struggle: The Figuration of Collectivity in Israeli Fiction (SUNY Press, 2018) offers a new understanding on Israeli literature and literary history. Using Marxist theorization of the relation between literary form and social form, Oded Nir…
Pema Tseden, “Enticement” (SUNY Press 2018)
Feb 19, 2019 • 69 min
Though most renowned for his award-winning Tibetan films, Pema Tseden, is also a prolific author and translator. Enticement(State University of New York Press 2018) is a collection of Pema Tseden’s short stories edited and translated by Patricia…
Gil Ben-Herut, “Śiva’s Saints: The Origins of Devotion in Kannada according to Harihara’s Ragaḷegaḷu” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Feb 19, 2019 • 71 min
Studies of Hindu saints tend to focus primarily on the saints themselves—their words, teachings, and practices—rather than tending to the often complex and complicated world of texts and traditions about those saints—which is how we have come to know…
R. B. Jamieson, “Jesus’ Death and Heavenly Offering in Hebrews” (Cambridge UP, 2019)
Feb 14, 2019 • 49 min
When and where did Jesus offer himself to God? What role does Jesus’ death play in his high-priestly self-offering in heaven? Answering these questions are crucial for understanding the book of Hebrews rightly. Tune in as R. B. Jamieson answers those…
Richard Gombrich, “Buddhism and Pali” (Mud Pie Slices, 2018)
Feb 6, 2019 • 71 min
Richard Gombrich’s new book, Buddhism and Pali (Mud Pie Slices, 2018), puts the richness of the Pali language on display. He introduces the reader to the origins of Pali, its linguistic character, and the style of Pali literature. Far more than just an…
Aimée Israel-Pelletier, “On the Mediterranean and the Nile: The Jews of Egypt” (Indiana UP, 2017)
Jan 28, 2019 • 34 min
In On the Mediterranean and the Nile: The Jews of Egypt (Indiana University Press, 2017), Aimée Israel-Pelletier, Professor and Head of French at the University of Texas at Arlington, looks at the work of five Egyptian Jewish writers. She confronts issues…
Shanna de la Torre, “Sex for Structuralists: The Non-Oedipal Logics of Femininity and Psychosis” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
Jan 17, 2019 • 62 min
What might Levi-Strauss and structuralism have to offer to psychoanalysis beyond the incest prohibition and the Oedipus complex? What happens if we understand Lacan’s notion of the symbolic as creative, rather than prohibitory? And what’s the difference…
Janelle Adsit, “Toward an Inclusive Creative Writing” (Bloomsbury, 2017)
Jan 15, 2019 • 54 min
Today, we’re talking to Janelle Adsit about her book, Toward an Inclusive Creative Writing (Bloomsbury, 2017). In it, Adsit takes a hard look at the way American colleges and universities teach creative writing. What do students who enter creative-writing…
M. Evans, S. Moore, and H. Johnstone, “Detecting the Social: Order and Disorder in Post-1970s Detective Fiction” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)
Jan 14, 2019 • 41 min
How can detective fiction explain the social world? In Detecting the Social: Order and Disorder in Post-1970s Detective Fiction(Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Mary Evans and Hazel Johnstone, both from the London School of Economics’ Department of Gender…
Nicholas J. Moore, “Repetition in Hebrews: Plurality and Singularity in the Letter to the Hebrews, Its Ancient Context, and the Early Church” (Mohr Siebeck, 2015)
Jan 9, 2019 • 25 min
Is repetition always bad? The Letter to the Hebrews lies at the heart of a tradition that views repetition always negative. But is this the best understanding of Hebrews? Nicholas Moore says, ‘No.’ Tune in as we talk with Nicholas J. Moore about his…
Omid Safi, “Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition” (Yale UP, 2018)
Jan 9, 2019 • 76 min
It’s often touted that Rumi is one of the best-selling poets in the United States. That may be the case but popular renderings of the writings of this 13th-century Muslim have largely detached him from the Islamic tradition, and specifically Sufi…
Alan Jacobs, “The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Jan 4, 2019 • 50 min
Alan Jacobs is a renowned literary critic, with a talent for writing that books that speak to our current predicaments. A professor at Baylor University, his recent work includes a “biography” of the Book of Common Prayer, a discussion of The Pleasures of…
Andrew S. Curran, “Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely” (Other Press, 2019)
Jan 2, 2019 • 65 min
Denis Diderot has long been regarded as one of the leading figures of the French Enlightenment, thanks to his editorship of the influential multi-volume Encyclopédie. As Andrew S. Curran explains in his biography Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely…
Victoria Brownlee, “Biblical Readings and Literary Writings in Early Modern England, 1558-1625” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Dec 31, 2018 • 37 min
Victoria Brownlee is the author of an exciting new contribution to discussions of early modern religion and literature. Her new book, Biblical Readings and Literary Writings in Early Modern England, 1558-1625 (Oxford University Press, 2018), offers an…
James Baldwin, “Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood” (Duke UP, 2018)
Dec 20, 2018 • 39 min
This 2018 reprint of Little Man, Little Man exemplifies communal and collaborative textual production. The story was written by James Baldwin and illustrated by French artist Yoran Cazac. It was published in 1976 and then went out of print. In this new…
James R. Rush, “Hamka’s Great Story: A Master Writer’s Vision of Islam for Modern Indonesia” (U Wisconsin Press, 2016)
Dec 13, 2018 • 42 min
From Indonesia’s declaration of independence in 1945 up until today, the relationship between Indonesian nationalism, Islam, and modernity has been a key subject of debate. One of the central figures in this debate was the great writer, journalist, public…
Ana Paulina Lee, “Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation, and Memory” (Stanford UP, 2018)
Dec 13, 2018 • 70 min
In her new book, Mandarin Brazil: Race, Representation, and Memory (Stanford University Press, 2018), Ana Paulina Lee (Columbia University) analyzes representations of the Chinese in Brazilian culture to understand their significance for Brazilian…
Melanie V. Dawson and Meredith L. Goldsmith, “American Literary History and the Turn toward Modernity” (UP of Florida, 2018)
Dec 12, 2018 • 53 min
As scholars and readers, we often view literary history in rigid, simplistic terms. We imagine that nineteenth-century aesthetic and thematic preoccupations withered away as 1899 became 1900, only to be replaced immediately by a new literature of the…
McKenzie Wark, “General Intellects: Twenty-One Thinkers for the Twenty-First Century” (Verso, 2017)
Dec 6, 2018 • 64 min
McKenzie Wark’s new book offers 21 focused studies of thinkers working in a wide range of fields who are worth your attention. The chapters of General Intellects: Twenty-One Thinkers for the Twenty-First Century (Verso, 2017) introduce readers to…
Alec Nevala-Lee, “Astounding” (Dey Street Books, 2018)
Nov 29, 2018 • 44 min
Alec Nevala-Lee’s Astounding is the first comprehensive biography of John W. Campbell, who, as a writer and magazine editor, wielded enormous influence over the field of science fiction in the mid-20th century. “His interests, his obsessions, and his…
Eric D. Weitz, “Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy” (Princeton UP, 2018)
Nov 20, 2018 • 63 min
What can the Weimar Republic teach us about how democracies fail? How could the same vibrancy that gave us cultural touchstones spawn Nazism? In his new book Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (Princeton University Press, 2018), Eric D. Weitz challenges…
Steven Shaviro, “Discognition” (Repeater Books, 2016)
Nov 20, 2018 • 67 min
Steven Shaviro’s book Discognition (Repeater Books, 2016) opens with a series of questions: What is consciousness? How does subjective experience occur? Which entities are conscious? What is it like to be a bat, or a dog, a robot, a tree, a human being, a…
Peter Zinoman, “Vietnamese Colonial Republican: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung” (U California Press, 2013)
Nov 19, 2018 • 45 min
Over the course of the 1930s, Vietnamese author Vũ Trọng Phụng published eight novels, hundreds of works of narrative nonfiction, stories, plays, essays and articles. He was a best-selling writer in his own day who sharpened his acute literary talents,…
Alisha Gaines, “Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy” (UNC Press, 2017)
Nov 14, 2018 • 57 min
How does one show empathy towards someone across racial lines? In her new book Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy (University of North Carolina Press, 2017) Dr. Alisha Gaines analyzes the history of sympathetic whites “becoming”…
Mark Polizzotti, “Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto” (MIT Press, 2018)
Nov 14, 2018 • 40 min
The success of a translator may seem to lie in going unnoticed: the translator ducks out of the spotlight so that the original author may shine. Mark Polizzotti challenges that idea in a provocative treatise on his craft, Sympathy for the Traitor: A…
J.R. Osborn, “Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design” (Harvard UP, 2017)
Nov 12, 2018 • 85 min
Arabic script is astounding! Not only because it represents one of the most commonly spoken languages today –that is, the Arabic language– but because it has represented dozens of other languages over the course of human history from the Middle East to…
Anindita Banerjee, “Russian Science Fiction Literature and Cinema: A Critical Reader” (Academic Studies Press, 2018)
Nov 8, 2018 • 42 min
Russian Science Fiction Literature and Cinema: A Critical Reader (Academic Studies Press, 2018) offers a compelling investigation of the genre whose development was significantly reshaped in the second half of the 20th century. In her introduction to this…
Nathan Kravis, “On the Couch: A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud” (MIT Press, 2017)
Nov 7, 2018 • 58 min
Sometimes, a couch is a only a couch, but not in Dr. Nathan Kravis’s new book, On the Couch: A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud (MIT Press, 2017). In a live interview conducted in connection with the Manhattan Institute for…
Philip Lutgendorf, “The Epic of Ram” (Harvard University Press, 2016-)
Nov 2, 2018 • 64 min
Dr. Philip Lutgendorf is Retired Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies at the University of Iowa. He is currently working on a seven-volume translation of the Hindi devotional text, the Rāmcaritmānas written by the sixteenth-century North Indian…
Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, “Cents and Sensibility: What Economics Can Learn from the Humanities” (Princeton UP, 2017)
Nov 2, 2018 • 48 min
The vast chasm between classical economics and the humanities is widely known and accepted. They are profoundly different disciplines with little to say to one another. Such is the accepted wisdom. Fortunately, Professors Gary Saul Morson and Morton…
Naomi Seidman, “The Marriage Plot, Or, How Jews Fell In Love With Love, And With Literature” (Stanford UP, 2016)
Oct 29, 2018 • 40 min
In The Marriage Plot, Or, How Jews Fell In Love With Love, And With Literature (Stanford University Press, 2016), Naomi Seidman, Chancellor Jackman Professor in the Arts at the University of Toronto, considers the evolution of Jewish love and marriage…
Jonathan Shandell, “The American Negro Theatre and the Long Civil Rights Era” (U Iowa Press, 2018)
Oct 26, 2018 • 54 min
The role of the artist in the cause of Black freedom has been a hotly debated topic for generations now. Dr. Jonathan Shandell’s The American Negro Theatre and the Long Civil Rights Era (University of Iowa Press, 2018) focuses the American Negro Theatre,…
Justyna Weronika Kasza, “Hermeneutics of Evil in the Works of Endō Shūsaku: Between Reading and Writing” (Peter Lang, 2016)
Oct 26, 2018 • 62 min
In literature, evil can appear in a broad spectrum of shapes, images and motifs. For Endō Shūsaku, the problem of evil is central to the reality of human existence, and it has to be accepted as such. In Hermeneutics of Evil in the Works of Endō Shūsaku.…
Gary Alan Fine, “Talking Art: The Culture of Practice and the Practice of Culture in MFA Education” (U Chicago Press, 2018)
Oct 25, 2018 • 42 min
Most people have heard of the Masters of Fine Arts–“MFA”–degree, but few know about the grueling process one must undergo to complete one. In Talking Art: The Culture of Practice and the Practice of Culture in MFA Education (University of Chicago Press,…
Melissa Terras, “Picture-Book Professors: Academia and Children’s Literature” (Cambridge UP, 2018)
Oct 23, 2018 • 32 min
How have academics been represented in children’s books? In Picture-Book Professors: Academia and Children’s Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage at the University of Edinburgh, tells the…
David E. Fishman, “The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis” (ForeEdge, 2017)
Oct 23, 2018 • 33 min
In The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis (ForeEdge, 2017), David E. Fishman, Professor of Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, tells the amazing story of the paper brigade of…
Victoria Lamont, “Westerns: A Women’s History” (U Nebraska Press, 2016)
Oct 19, 2018 • 52 min
Westerns are having a bit of a moment in the early twenty-first century. Westworld was recently nominated for eight Emmys, the hit show Deadwood is slated for a return to television in the next few years, and in 2015 Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight…
Jeffrey Kahan, “Shakespeare and Superheroes” (ARC Humanities Press, 2018)
Oct 18, 2018 • 64 min
What do Shakespeare and superheroes have in common? A penchant for lycra and capes? A flair for the dramatic? Well, according to Shakespeare scholar, English Professor and comic-book fan Jeffrey Kahan, the connection between Batman and the Bard runs much…
Stephanie L. Derrick, “The Fame of C. S. Lewis: A Controversialist’s Reception in Britain and America” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Oct 11, 2018 • 36 min
C. S. Lewis remains one of the most popular religious writers, and one of the most widely discussed children’s writers. I had the chance to catch up with Stephanie L. Derrick about her new book, The Fame of C. S. Lewis: A Controversialist’s Reception in…
Sara J. Brenneis, “Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp, 1940-2015” (U Toronto, 2018)
Oct 10, 2018 • 61 min
To be quite honest, I had no idea there were any Spanish prisoners at Mauthausen. That’s perhaps an unusual way to begin a blog post. But it reflects a real gap in the literature about the Holocaust, one that Sara J. Brenneis identifies and fills in her…
Jacqueline Rose ,”Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018)
Oct 10, 2018 • 54 min
I left the kitchen radio on while reading Jacqueline Rose‘s Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018) in preparation for this interview. It was June. Putting the book down for a minute to get a glass of water, I heard a news…
Laila Amine, “Postcolonial Paris: Fictions of Intimacy in the City of Light” (U Wisconsin Press, 2018)
Sep 27, 2018 • 37 min
At the heart of Laila Amine’s book is a crucial question: where is Paris? This question may be surprising for anyone who can readily point to the French capital on a map. Geography is, after all stable, is it not? Postcolonial Paris: Fictions of Intimacy…
Nick Hubble, “The Proletarian Answer to the Modernist Question” (Edinburgh UP, 2017)
Sep 21, 2018 • 87 min
Nick Hubble’s The Proletarian Answer to the Modernist Question (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) is a thrilling, and timely challenge to the orthodoxy that proletarian and high-modernist literatures ought to be understood in opposition to one another.…
Scott Spector, “Modernism Without Jews?: German Jewish Subjects and Histories” (Indiana UP, 2017)
Sep 12, 2018 • 71 min
Was there anything particularly Modern about Modern Jews? Was there something characteristically Jewish about Modernism? In this episode, we hear from Scott Spector, professor of History and German Studies at the University of Michigan, who complicates…
M. Cooper Harriss, “Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Theology” (NYU Press, 2017)
Sep 12, 2018 • 59 min
Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man is a milestone of American literature and the idea of invisibility has become a key way for understanding social marginalization. In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Theology (NYU Press, 2017), M. Cooper Harriss,…
Rebecca Reich, “State of Madness: Psychiatry, Literature and Dissent After Stalin” (Northern Illinois UP, 2018)
Sep 10, 2018 • 54 min
In her new book, State of Madness: Psychiatry, Literature and Dissent After Stalin (Northern Illinois University Press, 2018), Rebecca Reich argues that Soviet dissident writers used literary narratives to counter state-sanctioned psychiatric diagnoses of…
Megan Ward, “Seeming Human: Artificial Intelligence and Victorian Realist Character” (OSU Press, 2018)
Sep 7, 2018 • 34 min
Artificial intelligence and Victorian literature: these two notions seem incompatible. AI brings us to the age of information and technology, whereas Victorian literature invites us to the world of lengthy novels, to the world of the written word. In…
Marc Leeds, “The Vonnegut Encyclopedia” (Delacorte Press, 2016)
Sep 5, 2018 • 100 min
Originally published in 1994, Marc Leeds’ The Vonnegut Encyclopedia (Delacorte Press, 2016) was initially conceived of as a comprehensive A-Z guide to the expansive oeuvre of the American author Kurt Vonnegut. The encyclopedia was created as resource for…
Julia Miele Rodas, “Autistic Disturbances: Theorizing Autism Poetics from the DSM to Robinson Crusoe” (U Michigan Press, 2018)
Sep 3, 2018 • 106 min
Ever since the first clinical account of autism was published by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943, Western culture has tended to mythologise the disorder as impenetrable, non-verbal and characterised by silence. As such, in both medical literature and popular…
Olga Borovaya, “The Beginnings of Ladino Literature: Moses Almosnino and His Readers” (Indiana UP, 2017)
Aug 24, 2018 • 70 min
When did Ladino literature emerge? According to Dr. Olga Borovaya, author of The Beginnings of Ladino Literature: Moses Almosnino and his Readers (Indiana University Press, 2017), the history of Ladino writing may have a much earlier start date than…
Lily Wong, “Transpacific Attachments: Sex Work, Media Networks, and Affective Histories of Chineseness” (Columbia UP, 2018)
Aug 20, 2018 • 50 min
Lily Wong‘s Transpacific Attachments: Sex Work, Media Networks, and Affective Histories of Chineseness (Columbia University Press, 2018) traces the genealogy of the Chinese sex worker as a figure who manifests throughout the 20th century in moments of…
Zhang Tianyi (tr. David Hull), “The Pidgin Warrior” (Balestier Press, 2017)
Aug 10, 2018 • 63 min
“Big boys, the story in this little book is told for you.” Thus begins the preface to Zhang Tianyi’s The Pidgin Warrior (Balestier Press, 2017), as translated by the wonderful David Hull. Not just for boys (big or small), The Pidgin Warrior is a moving,…
Sumana Roy, “How I Became a Tree” (Aleph, 2017)
Aug 7, 2018 • 59 min
Sumana Roy‘s first book How I Became a Tree (Aleph, 2017) is impossible to classify. Part-philosophical tract, part-memoir and part-literary criticism, the book is a record of her explorations in “tree-time.” Intrigued by the balance, contentment and…
Steven Gimbel, “Isn’t That Clever: A Philosophical Account of Humor and Comedy” (Routledge, 2018)
Aug 6, 2018 • 66 min
Humor and its varied manifestations—jesting joking around, goofing, lampooning, and so on—pervade the human experience and are plausibly regarded as necessary features of interpersonal interactions. As one would expect, these pervasive phenomena occasion…
Irina Dumitrescu, “The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature” (Cambridge UP, 2018)
Aug 3, 2018 • 52 min
A sharply observed study of the representations of education found in Anglo-Saxon texts, Irina Dumitrescu’s The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Cambridge University Press 2018) invites readers to recognize just how often educational…
Sucharita Adluri, “Textual Authority in Classical Indian Thought: Ramanuja and the Vishnu Purana” (Routledge, 2014)
Aug 2, 2018 • 38 min
What role, if any, do mythological texts play in philosophical discourse? While modern Hindu Studies scholars are becoming increasingly attuned to the extent to which Indian narratives encode ideology, Sucharita Adluri’s Textual Authority in Classical…
Reginald Jackson, “Textures of Mourning: Calligraphy, Mortality, and The Tale of Genji Scrolls” (U Michigan Press, 2018)
Aug 2, 2018 • 79 min
Reginald Jackson’s inspiring new book takes a transdisciplinary approach to rethinking how we read, how we pay attention, and why that matters deeply in shaping how we understand the past, live in the present, and imagine possible futures. Textures of…
Jay Geller, “Bestiarium Judaicum: Unnatural Histories of the Jews” (Fordham UP, 2017)
Jul 24, 2018 • 40 min
In Bestiarium Judaicum: Unnatural Histories of the Jews (Fordham University Press, 2017), Jay Geller, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Culture at Vanderbilt Divinity School and the Vanderbilt University Jewish Studies Program, presents the first…
Kirstin Squint, “LeAnne Howe at the Intersections of Southern and Native American Literature” (LSU Press, 2018)
Jul 13, 2018 • 68 min
Choctaw writer LeAnne Howe has quickly emerged as a crucial voice in twenty-first-century American literature. Her innovative, award-winning works of fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism capture the complexities of Native American life and interrogate…
Elizabeth M. Sanders, “Genres of Doubt: Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Crisis of Victorian Faith” (McFarland, 2017)
Jul 12, 2018 • 78 min
The Victorians left an indelible stamp on culture that continues to be in evidence today, not least of which is their refinement of the realist fiction medium known as the novel and their innovations, which led to the birth of fantasy and science fiction…
Ari Heinrich, “Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body” (Duke UP, 2018)
Jul 10, 2018 • 47 min
Ari Larissa Heinrich’s new book, Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body (Duke University Press, 2018), is a fascinating study of representations of the Chinese body in the context of biotechnology. How are bodies…
Rebekah J. Buchanan, “Writing a Riot: Riot Grrrl Zines and Feminist Rhetorics” (Peter Lang, 2018)
Jul 9, 2018 • 48 min
In 1989, Time magazine pronounced “Feminism is dead.” It seemed to mainstream culture that the conservative era, marked by Regan and Thatcher, had killed the lingering energy that began with the rise of second-wave feminism in the 1960s. And yet, as…
Christopher G. White, “Other Worlds: Spirituality and the Search for Invisible Dimensions” (Harvard UP, 2018)
Jul 4, 2018 • 2 min
In the modern world, we often tend to view the scientific and the spiritual as diametrically opposed adversaries; we see them as fundamentally irreconcilable ways of understanding the world, whose epistemologies are so divergent that they espouse…
Elias Muhanna, “The World in a Book: Al-Nuwayri and the Islamic Encyclopedic Tradition” (Princeton UP, 2017)
Jul 2, 2018 • 52 min
Described as a small book about a very large book, The World in a Book: Al-Nuwayri and the Islamic Encyclopedic Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2017) by Elias Muhanna tells the story of an encyclopedia, or a universal compendium, The Ultimate…
Andrii Danylenko, “From the Bible to Shakespeare: Pantelejmon Kuliš (1819-1897) and the Formation of Literary Ukrainian” (Academic Studies Press, 2016)
Jun 27, 2018 • 51 min
How does a language develop? What are the factors and processes that shape a language and reflect the changes it undergoes? These seemingly routine questions entail a conversation that involves not only linguistic phenomena, but historical, sociological,…
Robert D. Miller II, “The Dragon, the Mountain, and the Nations: An Old Testament Myth, Its Origins, and Its Afterlives” (Eisenbrauns, 2018)
Jun 21, 2018 • 29 min
People have long been captivated by stories of dragons. Myths related to dragon slaying can be found across many civilizations around the world, even among the most ancient cultures including ancient Israel. In his book The Dragon, the Mountain, and the…
Helen Bones, “The Expatriate Myth: New Zealand Writers and the Colonial World” (Otago University Press, 2018)
Jun 14, 2018 • 17 min
In her new book, The Expatriate Myth: New Zealand Writers and the Colonial World (Otago University Press, 2018), Helen Bones, a Research Associate in Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University, presents a new look at late nineteenth and early…
Samuel England, “Medieval Empires and the Cultures of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts” (Edinburgh UP, 2017)
Jun 13, 2018 • 37 min
In his thrilling and sparkling new book, Medieval Empires and the Cultures of Competition: Literary Duels at Islamic and Christian Courts (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), Samuel England, Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of…
Sami Schalk, “Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction” (Duke UP, 2018)
Jun 12, 2018 • 35 min
What do werewolves, enslaved women and immortal beings have in common? And how can they shed light on contemporary questions of ableism and police brutality? In Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction…
Bruno Chaouat, “Is Theory Good for the Jews?: French Thought and the Challenge of the New Antisemitism” (Liverpool University Press, 2017)
Jun 11, 2018 • 72 min
“Is Theory Good for the Jews?” asks author Bruno Chaouat, professor of French at the University of Minnesota, in Is Theory Good for the Jews?: French Thought and the Challenge of the New Antisemitism (Liverpool University Press, 2017) . The title carries…
Daniel Heath Justice, “Why Indigenous Literatures Matter” (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2018)
Jun 7, 2018 • 47 min
In a remarkable new book, Daniel Heath Justice, an author and professor of First Nations and Indigenous Studies and English at the University of British Columbia, makes an argument for the vitality of Indigenous literatures and their ability to help make…
Wojtek Sawa, “The Wall Speaks: Voices of the Unheard” (National Center of Culture, 2016)
Jun 5, 2018 • 46 min
Wojtek Sawa‘s The Wall Speaks: Voices of the Unheard (National Center of Culture, 2016) is a bilingual Polish-English project that engages with the intricacies of remembering and forgetting as part of the individual’s personal history, which appears to…
Luisa Banki, “Post-Katastrophische Poetik: Zu W. G. Sebald und Walter Benjamin” (Wilhelm Fink, 2016)
Jun 4, 2018 • 23 min
W. G. Sebald, one of the most prominent German-speaking authors of the late 20th century, has been discussed in German literary studies again and again. Nonetheless, many questions about him and his work remain open. In her dissertation Post-Catastrophic…
Mark I. Lurie, “Galantière: The Lost Generation’s Forgotten Man” (Overlook Press, 2018)
May 30, 2018 • 67 min
Though he never enjoyed the publishing success and fame of such friends as Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway, Lewis Galantière made a considerable contribution to literature over the course of the twentieth century. In Galantière: The Lost…
Stephan Resch, “Stefan Zweig und der Europa-Gedanke” (Königshausen & Neumann, 2017)
May 24, 2018 • 40 min
In Stefan Zweig und der Europa-Gedanke (Königshausen & Neumann, 2017), Stephan Resch analyzes the Austrian author’s relationship with Europe and the concept of pacifism. To date Stephan Zweig is a contentious figure, especially when it comes to his…
Discussion with Dahlia Schweitzer (“Going Viral”) and Rob Thomas (“Veronica Mars”)
May 15, 2018 • 6 min
Follow-up interviews are always fun. Listen to my follow-up interview with Dahlia Schweitzer, author of Going Viral: Zombies, Viruses, and the End of the World (Rutgers University Press, 2018). I talk with her and Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars…
Mark Rifkin, “Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination” (Duke UP, 2017)
May 11, 2018 • 51 min
Mark Rifkin’s Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination (Duke University Press, 2017) engages fields including physics, phenomenology, native storytelling, and queer temporality. He describes the organization of Beyond…
Barry Wimpfheimer, “The Talmud: A Biography” (Princeton UP, 2018)
May 10, 2018 • 54 min
​In The Talmud: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2018), Barry Scott Wimpfheimer, associate professor of religious studies and law at Northwestern University, introduces the reader to the Babylonian Talmud, the most studied book in the Jewish…
Erin Edwards, “The Modernist Corpse: Posthumanism and the Posthumous” (U Minnesota Press, 2018)
May 7, 2018 • 47 min
At the beginning of the 20th century, surrealists such as André Breton and Man Ray played a game called “Exquisite Corpse.” You can play it by drawing or by writing, and the rules are very simple. Let’s say you’re writing. You would write the beginning of…
Sarah Schulman, “Conflict is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair” (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016)
May 4, 2018 • 62 min
Sarah Schulman’s Conflict is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016) examines how accusations of harm are appropriated and deployed by powerful people, groups, and political entities in…
Mark A. McCutcheon, “The Medium Is the Monster: Canadian Adaptations of Frankenstein and the Discourse of Technology” (Athabasca UP, 2018)
May 3, 2018 • 78 min
What do Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, media theorist Marshall McLuhan and Canadian popular culture have in common? This is the question that Mark A. McCutcheon seeks to answer in his new book, The Medium Is the Monster: Canadian Adaptations of Frankenstein…
Mira Beth Wasserman, “Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals: The Talmud After the Humanities” (U Penn Press, 2017)
May 2, 2018 • 45 min
In Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals: The Talmud After the Humanities (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), Mira Beth Wasserman undertakes a close reading of Avoda Zara, arguably the Talmud’s most scandalous tractate, to uncover the hidden…
Pablo Piccato, “A History of Infamy: Crime, Truth, and Justice in Mexico” (U California Press, 2017)
Apr 27, 2018 • 70 min
A History of Infamy: Crime, Truth, and Justice in Mexico (University of California Press, 2017) explores the definitive changes that the justice system as well as criminal ideas and practices underwent during the 1920s-1950s. For his most recent book,…
Jannica Budde, “Turkish Women Writers in German Cities” (Königshausen and Neumann, 2017)
Apr 25, 2018 • 21 min
In Germany, beginning in the 1960s, a major population shift took place. The reason for it was the German guest worker program. Due to the German ‘economic miracle,’ the country was in growing need of cheap labor, and it found it in places like Turkey.…
Brian Tochterman, “The Dying City: Postwar New York and the Ideology of Fear” (UNC Press, 2017)
Apr 23, 2018 • 65 min
What does it mean to say that a city can “die”? As Brian Tochterman shows in this compelling intellectual and cultural history, motifs of imminent death—of a “Necropolis” haunting the country’s great “Cosmopolis”—have been a persistent feature of…
Koritha Mitchell, ed., “Iola Leroy Or, Shadows Uplifted” by Frances E.W. Harper (Broadview Editions, 2018)
Apr 20, 2018 • 45 min
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s nineteenth-century novel Iola Leroy has not always been considered a core text in the canon of African American literature. Indeed, throughout much of the twentieth century, her work was dismissed as derivate and was erased…
Katelyn Knox, “Race on Display in Twentieth- and Twenty First-Century France” (Liverpool UP, 2016)
Apr 17, 2018 • 58 min
Katelyn Knox’s book, Race on Display in Twentieth- and Twenty First–Century France (Liverpool University Press, 2016) examines francophone literature, art, dance, music, and fashion, considering how race and national identity intersect in postcolonial…
Emily Petermann, “The Musical Novel: Imitation of Musical Structure, Performance, and Reception in Contemporary Fiction” (Camden House, 2014)
Apr 17, 2018 • 2 min
The Musical Novel: Imitation of Musical Structure, Performance, and Reception in Contemporary Fiction (Camden House, 2014; a new paperback edition has recently come out (Boydell and Brewer, 2018)) examines a variety of music and literature…
Marcel Schmid, “Autopoiesis and Literature: The Short History of an Endless Process” (transcript, 2016)
Apr 12, 2018 • 27 min
In his new book Autopoiesis and Literature: The Short History of an Endless Process (Autopoiesis und Literatur: Die kurze Geschichte eines endlosen Verfahrens [transcript, 2016]), Marcel Schmid, a visiting postdoc at the German Department of Brown…
Nick Admussen, “Recite and Refuse: Contemporary Chinese Prose Poetry” (U Hawaii Press, 2016)
Apr 11, 2018 • 62 min
Published by the University of Hawaii Press in 2016, Nick Admussen’s exciting new book Recite and Refuse: Contemporary Chinese Prose Poetry explores the development of twentieth-century prose poetry within the unique political and cultural context of…
Lana Lin, “Freud’s Jaw and Other Lost Objects: Fractured Subjectivity in the Face of Cancer” (Fordham UP, 2017)
Apr 3, 2018 • 47 min
In April 1923 Sigmund Freud detected a lesion in his mouth that turned out to be cancerous. From diagnosis to his death, he endured 33 surgeries and 10 prostheses. In 1932 alone, Freud consulted with his surgeon Hans Pichler 92 times. Freud’s smoking…
Hanna Engelmeier, “Man, the Ape: Anthropology and the Reception of Darwin in Germany, 1850-1900” (Bohlau, 2016)
Apr 2, 2018 • 22 min
The relationship between humans and apes has been discussed for centuries. That discussion took a new turn with the publication and reception of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859). In her book, Man, the Ape:…
Ruth von Bernuth, “How the Wise Men Got to Chelm: The Life and Times of a Yiddish Folk Tradition” (NYU Press, 2017)
Apr 2, 2018 • 32 min
In How the Wise Men Got to Chelm: The Life and Times of a Yiddish Folk Tradition (New York University Press, 2017), Ruth von Bernuth, Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures and Director of the Carolina…
Amelia Glaser, “Stories of Khmelnytsky: Competing Literary Legacies of the 1648 Ukrainian Cossack Uprising” (Stanford UP, 2015)
Mar 30, 2018 • 31 min
The cover of Amelia Glaser‘s new edited volume, Stories of Khmelnytsky: Competing Literary Legacies of the 1648 Ukrainian Cossack Uprising (Stanford University Press, 2015), bears a portrait of the formidable Cossack leader by that name. Inside the book,…
Mehammed Mack, “Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture” (Fordham UP, 2017)
Mar 29, 2018 • 79 min
In the recent past, anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric have surged across America and Europe. Much of this public discourse revolves around questions of assimilation and where Muslim positions on sexuality and gender fit into national unity. In Sexagon:…
Kerry Wallach, “Passing Illusions: Jewish Visibility in Weimar Germany” (U Michigan Press, 2017)
Mar 29, 2018 • 41 min
What did it mean to be perceived as Jewish or non-Jewish in Weimar Germany? How, in an age of growing antisemitism, was Jewishness revealed, or made invisible? Kerry Wallach of Gettysburg College, explores these questions in her new book, Passing…
Christopher B. Patterson, “Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific” (Rutgers UP, 2018)
Mar 26, 2018 • 48 min
Christopher B. Patterson‘s book Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific (Rutgers University Press, 2018) reads English-language literary production from Southeast Asia and its diasporas in North America to recognize and reveal…
Till Nitschmann, “Theater of the Maimed” (Konigshausen and Neumann, 2015)
Mar 23, 2018 • 14 min
In his new book Theater of the Maimed: Fictional Characters between Deformation und Destruction in Theatrical Works of the Twentieth and early Twenty-First Centuries (Knigshausen and Neumann, 2015) (Theater der Versehrten: Kunstfiguren zwischen…
Bruce Clarke, “Neocybernetics and Narrative” (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
Mar 22, 2018 • 79 min
As Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Literature and Science at Texas Tech University, Bruce Clarke has spent the last decade-plus publishing groundbreaking scholarship introducing the application of second-order systems theory to the analysis of literature…
Hoda Yousef, “Composing Egypt: Reading, Writing, and the Emergence of a Modern Nation, 1870-1930” (Stanford UP,
Mar 20, 2018 • 35 min
Literacy is often portrayed as a social good. Composing Egypt: Reading, Writing, and the Emergence of a Modern Nation, 1870-1930 (Stanford University Press, 2016), Hoda Yousef has a different take on it, portraying it as a tool. Yousef uses reading and…
Reiko Ohnuma, “Unfortunate Destiny: Animals in the Indian Buddhist Imagination” (Oxford UP, 2017)
Mar 20, 2018 • 53 min
Reiko Ohnuma‘s Unfortunate Destiny: Animals in the Indian Buddhist Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017) is a masterful treatment of animals in Indian Buddhist literature. Although they are lower than humans in the paths of rebirth, stories about…
Robert Darnton, “A Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Mar 15, 2018 • 60 min
Five decades ago, a young scholar named Robert Darnton followed up on a footnote that took him to the archives of the “Typographical Society of Neuchatel”(S.T.N.) in Switzerland, not far from the French border. Many years, and thousands of documents…
Sergej Rickenbacher, “Wissen um Stimmung” (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2015)
Mar 14, 2018 • 43 min
In his new book, Wissen um Stimmung (Knowledge of Mood), Sergej Rickenbacher, a post-doc at the University of Aachen, examines two works of Robert Musil from the perspective of knowledge and atmosphere/mood. In doing so, his approach differs from…
Marian Wilson Kimber, “The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word” (U Illinois Press, 2017)
Mar 13, 2018 • 53 min
Although largely forgotten today, elocution was a popular form of domestic and professional entertainment from the late nineteenth century until around World War II. Elocution is the dramatic reading of poetry, adapted plays, and other types of monologues…
Didem Havlioglu, “Mihri Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending, and Subversion in Ottoman Intellectual History” (Syracuse UP, 2017)
Mar 13, 2018 • 32 min
Mihri Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending, and Subversion in Ottoman Intellectual History (Syracuse University Press, 2017) by Didem Havlioglu is at once an intellectual history and biography of sorts of Mihri Hatun, a fifteenth century Ottoman poet. It…
Andrew Lees, “Mentored by a Madman: The William Burroughs Experiment” (Notting Hill Editions, 2017)
Mar 12, 2018 • 63 min
Mentored by a Madman: The William Burroughs Experiment (Notting Hill Editions, 2017) is a fascinating account by one of the world’s leading and most decorated neurologists of the profound influence of William Burroughs on his medical career. Dr. Andrew…
Christine Arce, “Mexico’s Nobodies: The Cultural Legacy of the Soldadera and Afro-Mexican Women” (SUNY Press, 2017)
Mar 9, 2018 • 79 min
In Mexico’s Nobodies: The Cultural Legacy of the Soldadera and Afro-Mexican Women (SUNY Press, 2017), Christine Arce rightfully stresses that these two figures have greatly influenced Mexico’s national identity, arts, and popular culture. However, their…
Vivian Liska, “German-Jewish Thought and Its Afterlife: A Tenuous Legacy” (Indiana UP, 2016)
Mar 9, 2018 • 28 min
In German-Jewish Thought and Its Afterlife: A Tenuous Legacy (Indiana University Press, 2016), Vivian Liska, Professor of German Literature and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp in Belgium as well as a Distinguished…
Ann-Marie Priest, “A Free Flame: Australian Women Writers and Vocation in the Twentieth Century” (UWA Publishing, 2018)
Mar 8, 2018 • 18 min
In her new book, A Free Flame: Australian Women Writers and Vocation in the Twentieth Century (UWA Publishing, 2018), Ann-Marie Priest, a lecturer at Central Queensland University, explores the literary lives of four Australian women—Gwen Harwood, Dorothy…
Julia Kerscher, “Autodidacticism, Artistry, Media Practice” (Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2016)
Feb 28, 2018 • 20 min
In her new book, Autodidacticism, Artistry, Media Practice (Autodidaktik, Artistik, Medienpraktik [Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2016]), Julia Kerscher, postdoc at the University of Tubingen examines the historical development of appearances of dilettantism…
Christopher J. Lee, “Jet Lag” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)
Feb 27, 2018 • 50 min
My father has this personality quirk that drives me crazy. Whenever and wherever he travels, no matter how far, he refuses to reset his watch to the local time. For him, it’s always whatever time it is in Cincinnati, Ohio, even if all the clocks around…
Interview with Australian Poets Leni Shilton and Renee Pettitt-Schipp
Feb 23, 2018 • 18 min
In this special episode of New Books in Australian and New Zealand Studies, we are joined by two fantastic Australian poets. In her new poetic narrative, Walking with Camels: The Story of Bertha Strehlow (UWA Publishing, 2018), poet Leni Shilton takes us…
Christopher Grobe, “The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV” (NYU Press, 2017)
Feb 16, 2018 • 70 min
Christopher Grobe’s The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV (New York University Press, 2017) traces the ways the performance of confession permeated and transformed a wide range of media in postwar America. Grobe…
Christopher Hager, “I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters” (Harvard UP, 2018)
Feb 12, 2018 • 60 min
In I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters (Harvard University Press, 2018), Christopher Hager trains our attention to “the cell-level transfers that created the meaning of the Civl War.” He follows the correspondence of a group of soldiers, and…
Harrod Suarez, “The Work of Mothering: Globalization and the Filipino Diaspora” (U Illinois Press, 2017)
Feb 8, 2018 • 61 min
Harrod Suarez‘s new book The Work of Mothering: Globalization and the Filipino Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2017) focuses on the domestic workers that make up around a third of all overseas Filipino/a workers, and whose remittances back to the…
Mikhail Epstein, “The Irony of the Ideal: Paradoxes of Russian Literature” (Academic Studies Press, 2018)
Feb 7, 2018 • 64 min
In The Irony of the Ideal: Paradoxes of Russian Literature (Academic Studies Press, 2018), Mikhail Epstein offers strategies on how to engage with texts in the current continuum. Based on the subversion of linearity as a principle component of…
Nicholas Hengen Fox, “Reading as Collective Action: Texts as Tactics” (U Iowa Press, 2017)
Feb 6, 2018 • 38 min
How can reading change the world? In Reading as Collective Action: Texts as Tactics (University of Iowa Press, 2017), Nicholas Hengen Fox, who teaches literature, writing and social justice courses at Portland Community College, explores how literature…
Kevin Patrick, “The Phantom Unmasked: America’s First Superhero” (U Iowa Press, 2017)
Feb 2, 2018 • 67 min
In The Phantom Unmasked: America’s First Superhero (University of Iowa Press, 2017), Kevin Patrick examines the history of The Phantom—an American comic strip superhero that made his debut in 1936. Although not popular in the United States, The Phantom…
Jason Herbeck, “Architextual Authenticity: Constructing Literature and Literary Identity in the French Caribbean” (Liverpool UP, 2017)
Jan 23, 2018 • 44 min
What do gingerbread houses in Haiti teach us about the construction of identity in the French Caribbean? How do hurricanes and earthquakes reveal the connections between the tangible built environment and intangible notions of identity? Architextual…
Margarete Fuchs, “The Moving View: The Gaze in the Modern German Literature” (Rombach Verlag, 2014)
Jan 22, 2018 • 20 min
In her new book Der bewegende Blick: Literarische Blickinszenierungen der Moderne (Rombach Verlag, 2014)—The Moving View: The Gaze in the Modern German Literature—Margarete Fuchs, a postdoc at the Philipps University of Marburg, examines the role of gaze…
Lisa Brooks, “Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War” (Yale UP, 2018)
Jan 17, 2018 • 66 min
Lisa Brooks, Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College, recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance in Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War (Yale University Press, 2018). Brooks narrates…
Ray Cashman, “Packy Jim: Folklore and Worldview on the Irish Border” (U Wisconsin Press, 2016)
Jan 17, 2018 • 70 min
How do individuals on national or societal peripheries make use of tradition and to what ends? How can narratives discursively construct a complex worldview? These are some of the questions Ray Cashman seeks to answer in his new book Packy Jim: Folklore…
Lena Wetenkamp, “Europe Narrated, Contextualized and Remembered” (Koenigshausen and Neumann, 2017)
Jan 16, 2018 • 32 min
Lena Wetenkamp‘s Europe Narrated, Contextualized and Remembered: The Discourse of ‘Europe’ in Contemporary German Literature (Europa erzhalt, verortet, erinnert: Europa-Diskurse in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur (Koenigshausen and Neumann,…
Gregory Laski, “Untimely Democracy: The Politics of Progress after Slavery” (Oxford UP, 2018)
Jan 15, 2018 • 49 min
Gregory Laski approaches the concept of democracy in his text, Untimely Democracy: The Politics of Progress after Slavery (Oxford University Press, 2018) from a variety of dimensions and perspectives, integrating the concept of temporality to…
Rebecca Janzen, “The National Body in Mexican Literature: Collective Challenges to Biopolitical Control” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
Jan 10, 2018 • 56 min
In The National Body in Mexican Literature: Collective Challenges to Biopolitical Control (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), Rebecca Janzen explores the complex interaction between the national body created by the rhetoric of the 1910 Mexican revolution and…
Amos Goldberg, “Trauma in First Person: Diary Writing during the Holocaust” (Indiana UP, 2017)
Jan 10, 2018 • 75 min
In his most recent work, Trauma in First Person: Diary Writing during the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 2017), Amos Goldberg examines Jewish diary writing during the Holocaust—a subject that is familiar to many within and without the academy—from…
Liam Cole Young, “List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to Buzzfeed” (Amsterdam UP, 2017)
Jan 9, 2018 • 50 min
The list is the origin of culture. At least, that’s according to Umberto Eco, whose words open Liam Cole Young‘s new book, List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to Buzzfeed (Amsterdam University Press, 2017). Young follows shifting…
David J. Carlson, “Imagining Sovereignty: Self-Determination in American Indian Law and Literature” (U of Oklahoma Press, 2016)
Jan 5, 2018 • 60 min
Sovereignty is a key concept in Native American and Indigenous Studies, but its also a term that is understood in multiple ways. Working across the boundaries of legal and literary theory, David J. Carlson‘s Imagining Sovereignty: Self-Determination in…
Dan Barker, “God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction” (Sterling, 2016)
Dec 30, 2017 • 67 min
For those of us who pay close attention in Sunday school, a troubling dissimilarity may begin to appear between what we are told of God’s personality and what we learn of it from His actions. For example, we are told that God is merciful, just,…
Stephen Cushman, “Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War” (UNC Press, 2014)
Dec 25, 2017 • 61 min
How do we use words to tease out the “real” that history strives to capture? Listen to my conversation with Stephen Cushman, as we consider the historian’s art through Cushman’s book, Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our…
Tanja Angela Kunz , “Sehnsucht nach dem Guten” (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2017)
Dec 24, 2017 • 35 min
In her new book Longing for the Good. The Relationship between Literature and Ethics in the Work of Peter Handke (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2017), Tanja Angela Kunz, a postdoc at the Humboldt University of Berlin, analyzes the work of the Austrian contemporary…
Michel Leiris, “Phantom Africa” (Seagull Books, 2017)
Dec 20, 2017 • 77 min
Between 1931 and 1933, French writer Michel Leiris participated in a state-sponsored expedition to document the cultural practices of people in west and east Africa. The Mission Dakar-Djibouti employed some questionable, unethical methods to dispossess…
Sheshalatha Reddy, “British Empire and the Literature of Rebellion: Revolting Bodies, Laboring Subjects” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
Dec 8, 2017 • 38 min
Sheshalatha Reddy’s British Empire and the Literature of Rebellion: Revolting Bodies, Laboring Subjects (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) examines historical and literary texts relating to three rebellions in the second half of the nineteenth century: the Sepoy…
Jacqueline Emery, “Recovering Native American Writings in the Boarding School Press” (U. Nebraska Press, 2017)
Dec 4, 2017 • 39 min
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Native American students from across the United States attended federally-managed boarding schools where they were taught English, math, and a variety of vocational skills, all for the purpose of…
Christian Kirchmeier “Morality and Literature: A Historical Typology” (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2013)
Dec 1, 2017 • 29 min
In his new book Morality and Literature: A Historical Typology (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2013)—in German: Moral und Literatur. Eine historische Typologie—Christian Kirchmeier, post doc at the University of Munich who is currently at Yale for a research stay,…
Stephane Robolin, “Grounds of Engagement: Apartheid-Era African American and South African Writing” (U. Illinois Press, 2015)
Nov 30, 2017 • 58 min
Writers have long created networks and connections by exchanging letters or writing back to one another in their poetry and fiction. Letters between Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, attest to the rich…
David Jacobson, “The Charm of Wise Hesitancy: Talmudic Stories in Contemporary Israeli Culture” (Academic Studies Press, 2017)
Nov 28, 2017 • 38 min
In The Charm of Wise Hesitancy: Talmudic Stories in Contemporary Israeli Culture (Academic Studies Press, 2017), David Jacobson, Professor of Judaic Studies at Brown University, offers an overview and detailed analysis of one of a most intriguing cultural…
Sarah Rivett, “Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of a Literary Nation” (Oxford UP, 2017)
Nov 27, 2017 • 52 min
In Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of a Literary Nation (Oxford University Press, 2017), Princeton University English Associate Professor Sarah Rivett studies how colonists in North America struggled to understand, translate, and…
Dinty W. Moore, “The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing your Novel or Memoir” (Ten Speed Press, 2016)
Nov 24, 2017 • 49 min
If you’ve ever wondered how your favorite writers go about crafting their written works, or if you’ve ever been interested in writing a book yourself, chances are you’ve wandered into a bookstore or a library, scanning the shelves for some kind of…
Andreas Gehrlach, “Thieves: Stealing in Literature, Philosophy, and Myth” (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2016)
Nov 24, 2017 • 28 min
In his new book Thieves: Stealing in Literature, Philosophy, and Myth (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2016)—in German: Diebe: Die heimliche Aneignung als Ursprungserzahlung in Literatur, Philosophie und Mythos—Andreas Gehrlach, post doc at the Humboldt University…
J. Samaine Lockwood, “Archives of Desire: The Queer Historical Work of New England Regionalism” (UNC Press, 2015)
Nov 22, 2017 • 63 min
J. Samaine Lockwood, Associate Professor in the English Department at George Mason University, specializes in nineteenth-century American literature and gender and sexuality studies. In an hour-long conversation, we discuss her new book Archives of…
Michael Flier and Andrea Graziosi, eds. “The Battle for Ukrainian: A Comparative Perspective” (Harvard UP, 2017)
Nov 11, 2017 • 39 min
Language is one of the complex systems facilitating communication; language is a system producing the inside and the outside of the individual’s awareness of self and other. However, language is also a tool for and of ideological battles, shaping states…
Candace Ward, “Crossing the Line: Early Creole Novels and Anglophone Caribbean Culture in the Age of Emancipation” (UVA Press, 2017)
Nov 7, 2017 • 34 min
Candace Ward’s Crossing the Line: Early Creole Novels and Anglophone Caribbean Culture in the Age of Emancipation (University of Virginia Press, 2017) foregrounds an understudied group of writers: white creole novelists in Britain’s Caribbean colonies.…
Daniel Kane, “Do You Have a Band?”: Poetry and Punk Rock in New York City” (Columbia UP, 2017)
Nov 2, 2017 • 33 min
Often, poetry and punk rock are seen as distinct activities that occur in different locations with separate audiences. Many would also ascribe to them varying levels of cultural and political capital. Daniel Kane, the author of Do You Have a Band?: Poetry…
Regine Jean-Charles, “Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary” (OSU Press, 2014)
Oct 26, 2017 • 42 min
Regine Jean-Charles’ Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary (Ohio State University Press, 2014) foregrounds black women as speaking subjects in narrating and protesting sexual violence. Jean-Charles emphasizes a…
Laura Lee, “Oscar’s Ghost: The Battle for Oscar Wilde’s Legacy” (Amberley, 2017)
Oct 24, 2017 • 35 min
Laura Lee’s Oscar’s Ghost: The Battle for Oscar Wilde’s Legacy (Amberley Publishing, 2017) offers a detailed investigation of a conflict involving the writer and his two friends with whom he maintained sexual relations, Lord Alfred Douglas and Robert…
Martha J. Cutter, “The Illustrated Slave: Empathy, Graphic Narratives, and the Visual Culture of the Transatlantic Abolition Movement, 1800-1853” (U. Georgia Press, 2017)
Oct 19, 2017 • 33 min
Slavery as a system of torture and bondage has fascinated the optical imagination of the transatlantic world for centuries. Scholars have examined various aspects of the visual culture that was slavery, including its painting, sculpture, pamphlet…
John Rieder, “Science Fiction and the Mass Cultural Genre System” (Wesleyan UP, 2017)
Oct 19, 2017 • 55 min
A deft and searching exploration of genre theory through science fiction, and science fiction through genre theory, John Rieder‘s Science Fiction and the Mass Cultural Genre System (Wesleyan University Press, 2017) makes a significant contribution to the…
Adam Gaiser, “Shurat Legends, Ibadi Identities: Martyrdom, Asceticism and the Making of an Early Islamic Community” (U. South Carolina Press, 2016)
Oct 18, 2017 • 40 min
Adam Gaiser‘s majestic new book Shurat Legends, Ibadi Identities: Martyrdom, Asceticism and the Making of an Early Islamic Community (University of South Carolina Press, 2016), treats readers to a dazzling analysis of a wide range of Shurat/Kharijite…
Julia Fawcett, “Spectacular Disappearances: Celebrity and Privacy, 1696-1801” (U. Michigan Press, 2016)
Oct 9, 2017 • 35 min
“How can the modern individual maintain control over his or her self-representation when the whole world seems to be watching?” This is the question that prompts Julia Fawcett‘s new book, Spectacular Disappearances: Celebrity and Privacy, 1696-1801…
Deborah Parker and Mark L. Parker, “Sucking Up: A Brief Consideration of Sycophancy” (U. of Virginia Press, 2017)
Oct 3, 2017 • 41 min
Ever since Donald Trump was elected President, he’s created a non-stop torrent of news, so much so that members of the media regularly claim that he’s effectively trashed the traditional news cycle. Whether that’s true or not, it is hard to keep up with…
Clayton Childress, “Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel” (Princeton UP, 2017)
Sep 29, 2017 • 48 min
How does a book come into being? In Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel (Princeton University Press, 2017), Clayton Childress, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at The University of Toronto, accounts for…
Alessandro Duranti, “The Anthropology of Intentions: Language in a World of Others” (Cambridge UP, 2015)
Sep 26, 2017 • 72 min
Alessandro Duranti is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, where he served as Dean of Social Sciences from 2009-2016. In his book The Anthropology of Intentions: Language in a World of Others (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Duranti…
Rachel Seelig, “Strangers in Berlin: Modern Jewish Literature between East and West, 1919-1933” (U. Michigan Press, 2016)
Sep 25, 2017 • 34 min
In Strangers in Berlin: Modern Jewish Literature between East and West, 1919-1933 (University of Michigan Press, 2016), Rachel Seelig, Visiting Scholar in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto, works against the…
Mykola Soroka, “Faces of Displacement: The Writings of Volodymyr Vynnychenko” (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012)
Sep 7, 2017 • 51 min
Mykola Soroka’s Faces of Displacement: The Writings of Volodymyr Vynnychenko (McGill-Queens University Press, 2012) is a compelling investigation of the oeuvre of one of the Ukrainian writers whose dramatic literary career offers insights not only into…
Omar Valerio-Jimenez and Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez, eds. “The Latina/o Midwest Reader” (U. Illinois Press, 2017)
Sep 5, 2017 • 49 min
In The Latina/o Midwest Reader (University of Illinois Press, 2017) editors Omar Valerio-Jimenez, Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez, and Claire F. Fox bring together an exceptional cadre of scholars to dispel the notion that Latinas/os are newcomers to the…
Hanna Tervanotko, “Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature” (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016)
Aug 29, 2017 • 40 min
In Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature (Vandenhock and Ruprecht, 2016) Hanna Tervanotko first analyzes the treatment and development of Miriam as a literary character in ancient Jewish texts, taking into account all the…
Rahuldeep Singh Gill, “Drinking From Love’s Cup: Surrender and Sacrifice in the Vars of Bhai Gurdas Bhalla” (Oxford UP, 2016)
Aug 27, 2017 • 48 min
There is a long tradition of the study of Sikhism in Western academia. However, historiographical accounts still lack a clear vision of the early formation of the tradition. Rahuldeep Singh Gill, Associate Professor of Religion at California Lutheran…
Ron Edwards, “The Edge of Evolution: Animality, Inhumanity, and Doctor Moreau” (Oxford UP, 2016)
Aug 25, 2017 • 57 min
As I was reading Ron Edward’s fascinating and far-reaching new book, The Edge of Evolution: Animality, Inhumanity, and Doctor Moreau (Oxford University Press, 2016), I had a flashback. I must have been about seven. I was watching a film adaptation of H.G.…
Karmen MacKendrick, “The Matter of Voice: Sensual Soundings” (Fordham UP, 2016)
Aug 19, 2017 • 49 min
Philosophers have long tried to silence the physical musicality of voice in favor of the purity of ideas without matter, souls without bodies. But voices resonate among bodies and texts; they are singular, as unique as fingerprints, but irreducibly…
Michael Allan, “In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt” (Princeton UP, 2016)
Aug 14, 2017 • 32 min
Michael Allan‘s In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2016) challenges traditional perceptions of world literature: he argues that the disciplinary framework of world literature levels the…
Jacob Emery, “Alternative Kinships: Economy and Family in Russian Modernism” (Northern Illinois U. Press, 2017)
Jul 25, 2017 • 48 min
In Alternative Kinships: Economy and Family in Russian Modernism (Northern Illinois University Press, 2017), Jacob Emery presents literary texts as intersections of aesthetic, social, and economic phenomena. Drawing particular attention to the texts that…
Patrick S. Tomlinson, “Trident’s Forge: Children of a Dead Earth, Book Two” (Angry Robot, 2016)
Jul 23, 2017 • 41 min
Patrick S. Tomlinson is a stand-up comic, political commentator, and the author of the Children of a Dead Earth series. In this interview, we discuss the first two books in the series, The Ark: Children of a Dead Earth (Book One) and Trident’s Forge:…
Ira Dworkin, “Congo Love Song: African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State” (UNC Press, 2017)
Jul 20, 2017 • 57 min
In his 1903 hit “Congo Love Song,” James Weldon Johnson recounts a sweet if seemingly generic romance between two young Africans. While the song’s title may appear consistent with that narrative, it also invokes the site of King Leopold II of Belgium’s…
Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, “Like Nothing on this Earth: A Literary History of the Wheatbelt” (UWA Publishing, 2017)
Jul 9, 2017 • 19 min
In his book, Like Nothing on this Earth: A Literary History of the Wheatbelt (University of Western Australia Publishing, 2017), Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia, explores the…
Allan H. Pasco, “Balzac, Literary Sociologist” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
Jul 8, 2017 • 54 min
In Balzac, Literary Sociologist (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), Allan H. Pasco explores the talents of the writer whose reputation has been primarily based on his extraordinary gift to compose captivating stories. In his meticulously conducted research, Allan…
Lyn McCredden, “The Fiction of Tim Winton: Earthed and Sacred” (Sydney UP, 2017)
Jun 25, 2017 • 19 min
In her book, The Fiction of Tim Winton: Earthed and Sacred (Sydney University Press, 2017), Lyn McCredden, Professor of Literary Studies at Deakin University, explores the sacred and secular themes in the writings of Western Australian author Tim Winton.…
Michelle D. Commander, “Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic” (Duke UP, 2017)
Jun 20, 2017 • 81 min
In Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic (Duke University Press, 2017), Michelle D. Commander examines the (im)possibility of literal and figurative returns to Africa of African-descended peoples throughout the diaspora. Using…
Gary Kulik, “War Stories: False Atrocity Tales, Swift Boaters, and Winter Soldiers” (Potomac Books, 2009)
Jun 15, 2017 • 70 min
One often hears stories of World War II and Korean War veterans who came back from the war and refused to talk about what they had experienced in combat. They neither wanted folks at home to know what had happened nor did they want to relive it…
Michael Muhammad Knight, “Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing” (Soft Skull Press, 2013)
Jun 13, 2017 • 64 min
Michael Muhammed Knight writes this book from a first-person perspective, as a piece of creative non-fiction. The book includes a liberal amount of swearing and sexual references, and Knight’s writing style is raw, sometimes jarring, but smart and…
Susan Rubenstein DeMasi, “Henry Alsberg: The Driving Force Behind the New Deal Federal Writers’ Project” (McFarland, 2016)
Jun 1, 2017 • 55 min
Over the course of a long and adventurous life, Henry Alsberg was guided by the constancy of his passion for radical causes. This focus, as Susan Rubenstein DeMasi makes clear in Henry Alsberg: The Driving Force Behind the New Deal Federal Writers’…
Augustine’s “Confessions,” a new translation by Sarah Ruden (Modern Library, 2017)
Jun 1, 2017 • 65 min
Sarah Ruden holds a Ph.D. in Classical Philology from Harvard University and an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She has taught Latin, English, and writing at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Cape Town and has been a tutor for the South…
Britt Rusert, “Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture” (NYU Press, 2017)
May 26, 2017 • 45 min
Traversing the archives of early African American literature, performance, and visual culture, Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture (New York University Press, 2017), uncovers the dynamic experiments of a group of…
Carlo Rotella and Michael Ezra, eds. “The Bittersweet Science: Fifteen Writers in the Gym, in the Corner, and at Ringside” (U. Chicago, 2017)
May 26, 2017 • 50 min
“Boxing has always attracted writers because it issues a standing challenge to their powers of description and imagination, and also a warning–really a promise–that no matter how many layers of meaning you peel away there will always be others beneath…
Sarah Ruden, “The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible” (Pantheon, 2017)
May 17, 2017 • 60 min
On this program, we talk to Sarah Ruden about her new book, The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible (Pantheon, 2017). Novelist J. M. Coetzee praised the book, saying, “If you seriously want to know what the Bible says but don’t…
Roy Bing Chan, “The Edge of Knowing: Dreams, History, and Realism in Modern Chinese Literature” (U. Washington Press, 2017)
May 4, 2017 • 69 min
Roy Bing Chan‘s new book explores twentieth-century Chinese literature that emphasizes sleeping and dreaming as a way to reckon with the trauma of modernity, from the early May Fourth period through the end of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1970s.…
Territory-A Literary Project about Maps: Discussion with Tommy Mira y Lopez
May 3, 2017 • 54 min
As our name makes clear, the New Books Network focuses on books. And as a host who looks at contemporary literature, I have the pleasure of interviewing authors with new books, ones often published by smaller presses without the huge PR machines of larger…
William Kolbrener, “The Last Rabbi: Joseph Soloveitchik and Talmudic Tradition” (Indiana UP, 2016)
Apr 24, 2017 • 33 min
In The Last Rabbi: Joseph Soloveitchik and Talmudic Tradition (Indiana University Press, 2016), William Kolbrener, professor of English at Bar Ilan University in Israel, explores the life and thought of Joseph Soloveitchik, the scion of the Brisk rabbinic…
Allison E. Fagan, “From the Edge: Chicana/Chicano Border Literature and the Politics of Print” (Rutgers UP, 2016)
Apr 24, 2017 • 42 min
What is a book? The answer, at first glance, may seem apparent: printed material consisting of a certain amount of pages. However, when a printed item goes under the scrutiny of readers, writers, editors, scholars, etc., the discussion gets complicated.…
Rebecca Gould, “Writers and Rebels: Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus” (Yale UP, 2016)
Apr 22, 2017 • 66 min
Rebecca Gould‘s Writers and Rebels: Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press, 2016) is the first existing comparative study of Chechen, Dagestani and Georgian literatures and a major contribution to the study of the cultures of the…
Benjamin Fondane, “Existential Monday” (NYRB Classics, 2016)
Apr 7, 2017 • 71 min
Benjamin Fondane, a Franco-Romanian writer and contributor to the development of existential philosophy in the 1930s and 40s, is in the process of being rediscovered. His work has gained a new relevance in the contemporary period due in part to the way it…
Audrey Truschke, “Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court” (Columbia UP, 2016)
Apr 3, 2017 • 51 min
Contemporary scholarship on the Mughal empire has generally ignored the role Sanskrit played in imperial political and literary projects. However, in Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (Columbia University Press, 2016), Audrey Truschke,…
Steve Aldous, “The World of Shaft: A Complete Guide to the Novels, Comic Strip, Films and Television Series” (McFarland, 2015)
Mar 29, 2017 • 44 min
Who’s the black private dick That’s a sex machine to all the chicks? (Shaft) Ya damn right Who is the man that would risk his neck For his brother man? (Shaft) Can you dig it? Who’s the cat that won’t cop out When there’s danger all about? (Shaft) Right…
Carrie J. Preston, “Learning to Kneel: Noh, Modernism, and Journeys in Teaching” (Columbia UP, 2016)
Mar 29, 2017 • 71 min
Carrie J. Preston‘s new book tells the story of the global circulation of noh-inspired performances, paying careful attention to the ways these performances inspired twentieth-century drama, poetry, modern dance, film, and popular entertainment. Inspired…
Joseph Lumbard, “The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary” (HarperOne, 2015)
Mar 24, 2017 • 56 min
The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (HarperOne, 2015) represents years of effort from a team of dedicated translators and editors (Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Joseph Lumbard, Maria Dakake, Caner Dagli, and Mohammad Rustom). The book is a remarkable…
Stephen H. Grant, “Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014)
Mar 21, 2017 • 54 min
Henry and Emily Folger were linked together not just by their love for one another, but their shared passion for the works of William Shakespeare. In Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014),…
Laurence A. Rickels, “The Psycho Records” (Wallflower Press, 2016)
Mar 21, 2017 • 54 min
Reading Laurence Rickels‘ The Psycho Records (Wallflower Press, 2016) gave me the urge to ask random strangers questions like: Are you haunted by Alfred Hitchcock’s famous shower scene? How do you feel about Norman Bates and other cinematic killers…
Sarah Hammerschlag, “Broken Tablets: Levinas, Derrida, and the Literary Afterlife of Religion” (Columbia UP, 2016)
Mar 20, 2017 • 33 min
In Broken Tablets: Levinas, Derrida, and the Literary Afterlife of Religion (Columbia University Press, 2016), Sarah Hammerschlag, Associate Professor of Religion and Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School, explores the admiring and at…
Christopher Pizzino, “Arresting Development: Comics at the Boundaries of Literature” (U of Texas Press, 2016)
Mar 19, 2017 • 32 min
There’s a common myth about the history of comic books and strips. It’s the idea that the medium languished for decades as a sort of time-wasting hobby for children, but now has redeemed itself and can be appreciated even by the literary. University of…
Gleb Tsipursky, “Socialist Fun: Youth, Consumption, and State-Sponsored Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1945-1970” (U. Pittsburgh Press, 2016)
Mar 14, 2017 • 56 min
Socialist Fun: Youth, Consumption, and State-Sponsored Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1945-1970 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016) offers a compelling investigation of Soviet leisure culture. Gleb Tsipursky undertakes an unexpected approach to…
Meredith K. Ray, “Margherita Sarrocchi’s Letters to Galileo: Astronomy, Astrology, and Poetics in 17th-Century Italy” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
Mar 13, 2017 • 61 min
Meredith K. Ray’s new book contextualizes and translates a range of seventeenth-century letters, mostly between Margherita Sarrocchi (1560-1617) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), that collectively offer a fascinating window into the correspondence of two…
Glyne Griffith, “The BBC and the Development of Anglophone Caribbean Literature, 1943-1958” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016)
Mar 7, 2017 • 50 min
The BBC radio program “Caribbean Voices” aired for fifteen years and introduced writers like George Lamming, Louise Bennett, Sam Selvon and others to listeners on both sides of the Atlantic. Glyne Griffith’s The BBC and the Development of Anglophone…
Andre Carrington, “Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction” (U. Minnesota Press, 2016)
Mar 3, 2017 • 65 min
Have you ever watched a futuristic movie and wondered if there will actually be any black people in the future? Have you ever been surprised, disappointed, or concerned with the lack of diversity demonstrated in many science fiction stories? In…
Benjamin Schreier, “The Impossible Jew: Identity and the Reconstruction of Jewish American Literary History” (NYU Press, 2015)
Feb 27, 2017 • 46 min
What is Jewish about Jewish American literature? While the imaginative possibilities are numerous many scholars approach literary products with an established notion of a Jewish identity before they reach their subjects. This is one of the central…
Maria G. Rewakowicz, “Literature, Exile, Alterity: The New York Group of Ukrainian Poets” (Academic Studies Press, 2014)
Feb 23, 2017 • 63 min
In Literature, Exile, Alterity: The New York Group of Ukrainian Poets (Academic Studies Press, 2014), Maria G. Rewakowicz explores a unique collaboration of the poets residing in the United States and writing poetry in the Ukrainian language. This…
David Rosen and Aaron Santesso, “The Watchman in Pieces: Surveillance, Literature, and Liberal Personhood” (Yale UP, 2013)
Feb 9, 2017 • 67 min
“Surveillance and literature, as kindred practices, have light to shed on each other.” When David Rosen and Aaron Santesso considered the discipline of surveillance studies in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001, they saw contributions from…
Randy Olson, “Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story” (U. Chicago Press, 2015)
Feb 4, 2017 • 63 min
Randy Olson, author of Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story (University of Chicago Press, 2015), has an unusual background. He is a Harvard-trained biologist and former tenured professor who resigned from his academic post to earn a…
Stephen Brockmann, “The Writers’ State: Constructing East German Literature, 1945-1959” (Camden House, 2015)
Jan 27, 2017 • 52 min
Stephen Brockmann’s The Writers’ State: Constructing East German Literature, 1945-1959 (Camden House, 2015) introduces readers to a specific atmosphere–political, cultural, and historical–that accompanied the emergence of East German literature from…
Richard Jean So, “Transpacific Community: America, China, and the Rise and Fall of a Cultural Network” (Columbia University Press, 2016)
Jan 23, 2017 • 68 min
Richard Jean So’s new book studies a group of American and Chinese writers in the three decades after WWI to propose a conceptual framework for understanding intellectual and cultural relations between China and America in the twentieth century and…
David Willgren, “The Formation of the ‘Book’ of Psalms” (Mohr Siebeck, 2016)
Jan 20, 2017 • 48 min
How was the ‘Book’ of Psalms formed, and why? The first question relates to the diachronic growth of the collection, while the second relates to issues of purpose–to what end are psalms being juxtaposed in a collection? On this show, David Willgren…
Sara L. Crosby, “Poisonous Muse: The Female Poisoner and the Framing of Popular Authorship in Jacksonian America” (U. Iowa Press, 2016)
Jan 20, 2017 • 72 min
In this episode of the H-Law Legal History Podcast I talk with Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University at Marion, Sara L. Crosby about her new book, Poisonous Muse: The Female Poisoner and the Framing of Popular Authorship in…
Melissa Sweet, “Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
Jan 6, 2017 • 47 min
Readers of all ages know E. B. White’s work. Charlotte’s Web is the first book many children are read aloud. Elements of Style remains an essential reference book. Almost everyone has a favorite writing by White: his legendary essays; his humorous New…
David Shafer, “Antonin Artaud” (Reaktion/U Chicago Press, 2016)
Jan 3, 2017 • 60 min
“Artaud lived with his neck placed firmly in the noose.” -Bauhaus* David Shafer’s new biography, Antonin Artaud (Reaktion Books and the University of Chicago Press, 2016), situates the life of this enigmatic and fascinating figure in historical context.…
Violeta Davoliute, “The Making and Breaking of Soviet Lithuania: Memory and Modernity in the Wake of War” (Routledge, 2013)
Jan 3, 2017 • 63 min
In The Making and Breaking of Soviet Lithuania: Memory and Modernity in the Wake of War, published by Routledge, Violeta Davoliute calls Lithuania an improbably successful and paradoxically representative case study of 20th century modernization and…
Eva Mroczek, “The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity” (Oxford UP, 2016)
Dec 23, 2016 • 51 min
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed a world of early Jewish writing larger than the Bible, from multiple versions of biblical texts to revealed books not found in our canon. Despite this diversity, the way we read Second Temple Jewish…
David B. Goldstein and Amy L. Tigner, eds. “Culinary Shakespeare: Staging Food and Drink in Early Modern England” (Duquesne UP, 2016)
Dec 19, 2016 • 45 min
Culinary Shakespeare: Staging Food and Drink in Early Modern England (Duquesne University Press, 2016) is a collection of essays that offers new dimensions for reading and understanding Shakespeare’s plays. Responding to a rich scholarship on Shakespeare,…
Gail Ashton, ed. “Medieval Afterlives in Contemporary Culture” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015/2017)
Dec 14, 2016 • 33 min
Dilapidated thirteenth-century walls as a playscape for today’s children, medieval relics made as fetish objects for twenty-first century enthusiasts, tourism at “the birthplace of King Arthur,” Harry Potter’s pageantry, Game of Thrones‘ swordplay, the…
Scott Bruce, ed., “The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters” (Penguin, 2016)
Nov 28, 2016 • 38 min
Like so many Americans, I’m a big fan of the undead. I look forward to a night of nail-biting when a new episode of The Walking Dead airs and I get excited when Hollywood gears up for the next big-budget film featuring zombie hordes. I also love those…
Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, “The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World” (Thames and Hudson, 2016)
Nov 28, 2016 • 65 min
On today’s program, I talk with Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle about their new book, The Art of the Bible Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World, published by Thames and Hudson (and distributed in the United States by W. W. Norton) in…
Christian Lange, “Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions” (Cambridge UP, 2015)
Nov 21, 2016 • 59 min
Christian Lange’s Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which was recently awarded the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society’s Book Prize, presents a rich, challenging, and meticulous account of how Muslims have…
Jonathan Brooks Platt, “Greetings, Pushkin! Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard” (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 2016)
Nov 19, 2016 • 63 min
Greetings, Pushkin! Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016) by Jonathan Brooks Platt explores the national celebrations around the centennial anniversary of Pushkin’s death in 1937. Platt structures…
Matthew Pauly, “Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923-1934” (U. of Toronto Press, 2014)
Nov 15, 2016 • 70 min
Matthew Pauly’s Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923-1934 (University of Toronto Press, 2014) offers a detailed investigation of the language policy–officially termed Ukrainization–that was introduced in Ukraine…
Mary Chapman, “Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing of Edith Maude Eaton” (McGill-Queens UP, 2016)
Nov 12, 2016 • 58 min
Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing of Edith Maude Eaton (McGill-Queens University Press, 2016) is a collection of works–previously published and newly discovered–produced by Edith Eaton, the writer whose literary status…
Kathryn Kleppinger, “Branding the Beur Author: Minority Writing and Media in France, 1983-2013” (Liverpool UP, 2015)
Nov 12, 2016 • 61 min
Kathryn Kleppinger’s Branding the Beur Author: Minority Writing and the Media in France, 1983-2013 (Liverpool University Press, 2015) examines the “paradox of ethnic minority writing” in the work of multiple authors of North African descent over a…
Scott Donaldson, “The Impossible Craft” Literary Biography” (Penn State UP, 2015)
Nov 8, 2016 • 56 min
Admiring books that appeal to our hearts and souls, rather often we want to know more about the writers who create them. If a book is a dialogical and communal entity–as readers we also participate in interpreting what we read, adding to and/or…
Jennifer Glaser, “Borrowed Voices: Writing and Racial Ventriloquism in the Jewish American Imagination” (Rutgers UP, 2016)
Nov 7, 2016 • 25 min
In Borrowed Voices: Writing and Racial Ventriloquism in the Jewish American Imagination (Rutgers University Press, 2016), Jennifer Glaser, Associate Professor of English and comparative literature and an affiliate faculty member in Judaic studies and…
Daniel Moran,”Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers” (U. of Georgia Press, 2016)
Nov 1, 2016 • 45 min
Daniel Moran’s Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers (University of Georgia Press, 2016) provides a compelling investigation of how O’Connor’s initial reputation of a Southern female writer over the years evolved into her…
Kate Partridge, “Intended American Dictionary” (Miel Press, 2016)
Oct 31, 2016 • 47 min
We commonly think of Walt Whitman as the great American poet, the gray-bearded bard who captures the democratic music of our country with, as he called it, his “barbaric yawp.” And, sure enough, Whitman thought of himself this way. “I hear America…
Kristen Case, “Abdication: Emily Dickinson’s Failures of Self” (Essay Press, 2015)
Oct 8, 2016 • 46 min
Emily Dickinson is no ordinary poet. Her intelligent and profound work inspires a fierce attachment in those who love it. I know this first-hand. My wife began reading Dickinson soon after we first met and took to the poems so deeply that, a little over a…
Kristin Stapleton, “Fact in Fiction: 1920s China and Ba Jin’s Family” (Stanford UP, 2016)
Oct 5, 2016 • 66 min
Kristin Stapleton’s new book opens onto a political crisis in China, and into a spirit of reform touched off by student demonstrations on May 4, 1919. Ba Jin was a teenager from a well-off family in Chengdu during this period. He wrote three popular…
Alisa Solomon, “Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof” (Metropolitan, 2013)
Oct 3, 2016 • 45 min
In Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof (Metropolitan, 2013), Alisa Solomon, Director of the Arts and Culture concentration in the MA program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, traces how and why the story of…
Mark R. Andryczyk, “The Intellectual as Hero in 1990s Ukrainian History” (U. of Toronto Press, 2012)
Sep 29, 2016 • 48 min
In The Intellectual as Hero in 1990s Ukrainian Fiction (University of Toronto Press, 2012), Mark R. Andryczyk takes his readers to an intriguing territory of dense narratives, arising from a complex network of literary, political, and philosophical…
Jan Schwarz, “Survivors and Exiles: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust” (Wayne State UP, 2015)
Sep 26, 2016 • 40 min
In Survivors and Exiles: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2015), Jan Schwarz, Associate Professor of Yiddish studies at Lund University, Sweden, reveals that in the two and a half decades after the Holocaust, Yiddish…
Ellen Widmer, “Fiction’s Family: Zhan Xi, Zhan Kai, and the Business of Women in Late-Qing China” (Harvard UP, 2016)
Sep 21, 2016 • 63 min
Ellen Widmer’s new book tells a story of the life and work of a literary family in China, in order to open out into a fascinating discussion of the ramifications of that story for how we understand and produce relationships between fiction and history.…
E.R. Truitt, “Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art” (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)
Sep 21, 2016 • 54 min
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Clarke’s third law, coined in 1973, expresses the difficulty that people of any era have in reconciling the bounds of current knowledge with our experiences in a world full of…
Isabelle Hesse, “The Politics of Jewishness in Contemporary World Literature: The Holocaust, Zionism and Colonialism” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)
Sep 12, 2016 • 23 min
In The Politics of Jewishness in Contemporary World Literature: The Holocaust, Zionism and Colonialism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), Isabelle Hesse, Lecturer in English at the University of Sydney, reads a wide range of novels from post-war Germany to…
Robert K. Elder, et. al. “Hidden Hemingway: Inside the Ernest Hemingway Archives of Oak Park” (Kent State UP, 2016)
Aug 29, 2016 • 59 min
Before the war, before the novels, before the four marriages and the safaris, the plane crashes and the bullfighting fascination, Ernest Hemingway was simply a young boy growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Author Robert K. Elder lives…
Robert O’Kell, “Disraeli: The Romance of Politics” (U. of Toronto Press, 2014)
Aug 11, 2016 • 75 min
Benjamin Disraeli was unique among British prime ministers in the 19th century in many ways, but perhaps none more so than for his career as a novelist. Whereas many scholars have treated Disraeli’s literary endeavors as an aberration born of financial…
Mark R. E. Meulenbeld, “Demonic Warfare: Daoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel” (U. of Hawaii Press, 2015)
Jul 25, 2016 • 62 min
Mark R. E. Meulenbeld’s new book looks closely at the relationship between vernacular novels and vernacular rituals in Ming China. Focusing on a particular novel called Canonization of the Gods (Fengshen yanyi), and on a particular set of ritual practices…
Josh Lambert, “Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture” (NYU Press, 2014)
Jul 18, 2016 • 33 min
In Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture (New York University Press, 2014), Josh Lambert, Academic Director of the Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at UMass Amherst, explores the role of Jews in the history of…
Aisha Geissinger, “Gender and the Construction of Exegetical Authority: A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qur’an Commentary (Brill, 2015)
Jul 12, 2016 • 52 min
Aisha Geissinger’s monograph, Gender and the Construction of Exegetical Authority: A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qur’an Commentary (Brill, 2015), contributes to the growing field of intersections between gender studies and Qur’anic studies. Unlike…
Jessa Crispin, “The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries” (U. of Chicago Press, 2015)
Jul 1, 2016 • 34 min
Biography is a genre of largely unexamined power: a literary field that preserves stories of lived lives and, through them, perpetuates notions that there are certain ways lives can be lived. This is particularly true of the lives of women, which are…
Sarah Wald, “The Nature of California: Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl” (U. of Washington Press, 2016)
Jun 28, 2016 • 58 min
The California farmlands have long served as a popular symbol of America’s natural abundance and endless opportunity. Yet, from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart to Helena Maria Viramontes’s Under the Feet…
Susan Kavaler-Adler, “The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers” (ORI Academic, 2013)
Jun 27, 2016 • 57 min
Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in private practice and founder of The Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis where she is a training analyst, is a prolific writer and thinker celebrated for…
Ana Foteva, “Do the Balkans Begin in Vienna? The Geopolitical and Imaginary Borders Between the Balkans and Europe” (Peter Lang, 2014)
Jun 19, 2016 • 77 min
Starting with Metternich’s declaration that the Balkans begin at Rennweg (a street in the Third District of Vienna), Ana Foteva draws on novels, plays, librettos and travelogues from the 19th through the 21st century to explore the various forms the…
Pi-Ching Hsu, “Feng Menglong’s ‘Treasury of Laughs’: A Seventeenth-Century Anthology of Traditional Chinese Humour” (Brill, 2015)
Jun 8, 2016 • 60 min
The Treasury of Laughs was compiled by Feng Menglong in the 1610s. It includes more than 700 humorous skits and jokes from elite and popular sources, rewriting some of them to give the volume a kind of aesthetic and stylistic coherence. Pi-Ching Hsu’s new…
Mingwei Song, “Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959” (Harvard University Asia Center, 2016)
Jun 3, 2016 • 67 min
What does it mean to be young? Mingwei Song‘s new book explores this question in the context of a careful study of the nature and significance of the discourse of youth in modern China. Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959…
Roy Fox, “Facing the Sky: Composing Through Trauma in Word and Image” (Parlor, 2015)
May 17, 2016 • 48 min
All of us experience trauma at various points throughout our lives. On one end of the spectrum, we have negative experiences from which we tend to think we can recover quickly. This might include a fight with a friend or an hurtful comment made in…
Dana Sajdi, “The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant” (Stanford UP, 2012)
May 16, 2016 • 52 min
In her stunning new book The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant (Stanford University Press, 2012), Dana Sajdi, Associate Professor of History at Boston College, presents a riveting narrative of the intersection…
Maria C. Fumagalli, “On the Edge: Writing the Border Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic” (Liverpool UP, 2015)
May 12, 2016 • 35 min
The border that divides the island of Hispaniola has been the site of commercial and cultural exchanges, labor migrations, environmental change, and violence. Maria Cristina Fumagalli‘s wonderful, wide-ranging On the Edge: Writing the Border Between Haiti…
Ayesha Ramachandran, “Worldmakers: Global Imagining in Early Modern Europe” (U of Chicago Press, 2015)
May 10, 2016 • 56 min
At what point does the world end? More importantly, how did this idea of a whole, unified world emerge to begin with? In Worldmakers: Global Imagining in Early Modern Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2015) Ayesha Ramachandran illustrates the…
Emily Troscianko, “Kafka’s Cognitive Realism” (Routledge, 2014)
May 2, 2016 • 39 min
In her first monograph, Kafka’s Cognitive Realism (Routledge, 2014), Emily Troscianko set out to answer a brief, cogent question: “Why is Kafka so brilliant? Why do I still want to read his work after all this time? It’s a good question. Even today,…
Seth Jacobowitz, “Writing Technology in Meiji Japan” (Harvard UP, 2015)
Apr 26, 2016 • 70 min
Seth Jacobowitzs new book opens with a balloon ride and closes with a record-scratching cat, and in between it offers a fascinating history of Meiji media focused on technologies of writing and script. Inspired, in part, by the work of Friedrich Kittler,…
Stern, et al., “The Monk’s Haggadah: A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee” (Penn State UP, 2015)
Apr 20, 2016 • 61 min
The Monk’s Haggadah: A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee (Penn State UP, 2015) is unique. The book, edited by David Stern, Christoph Markschies, and Sarit Shalev-Eyni, combines a gorgeous facsimile of a late 15th-century…
Kate Bolick, “Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own” (Crown, 2015)
Apr 19, 2016 • 40 min
“There still exists little organized sense of what a woman’s biography or autobiography should look like,” Carolyn G. Heilbrun wrote in her 1988 classic, Writing A Woman’s Life, noting, “Even less has been told of the life of the unmarried woman.” One can…
Marlene Daut, “Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865” (Liverpool UP, 2015)
Apr 18, 2016 • 51 min
Marlene Daut tackles the complicated intersection of history and literary legacy in her book Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865 (Liverpool University Press, 2015). She not only…
Sarah Phillips Casteel, “Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination” (Columbia UP, 2016)
Apr 18, 2016 • 30 min
In Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2016), Sarah Phillips Casteel, associate professor of English at Carleton University, explores the representation of Jewishness in Caribbean literature. She…
Minsoo Kang, trans. “The Story of Hong Gildong” (Penguin Classics, 2016)
Apr 1, 2016 • 65 min
Minsoo Kang‘s new translation of The Story of Hong Gildong (Penguin Classics, 2016) is a wonderful rendering of a text that is arguably the “single most important work of classic…prose fiction of Korea.” Though Hong Gildong is a popular figure in modern…
Sulak and Kolosov, eds., “Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres” (Rose Metal Press, 2015)
Mar 30, 2016 • 30 min
When Marcela Sulak was planning classes in the MFA program she directs at Bar Ilan University, it became clear that the traditional prose/poetry binary was not going to work. In both her own and her students’ writing, there was a tendency to complicate…
Tahneer Oksman, “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?” (Columbia UP, 2016)
Mar 24, 2016 • 29 min
In “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”: Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs (Columbia University Press, 2016), Tahneer Oksman explores the graphic memoirs of seven female cartoonists, whose works grapple with issues of…
Eubanks, Abel and Chen, eds., “Verge: Studies in Global Asias 1.2: Collecting Asias” (U of Minnesota Press, 2015)
Mar 18, 2016 • 65 min
Verge: Studies in Global Asias is an inspiring and path-breaking new journal that explores innovative forms for individual and collaborative scholarly work. I had the privilege of talking with Charlotte Eubanks, Jonathan E. Abel, and Tina Chen about…
Jean-Michel Rabate, “The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Psychoanalysis” (Cambridge UP, 2014)
Mar 18, 2016 • 58 min
Calling into question common assumptions regarding the supposedly antagonist relationship between literary criticism and psychoanalytic reading, Jean-Michel Rabatepaints a picture of reconciliation rather than rift. Drawing from a vast store of cultural…
Hillary Chute, “Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form” (Harvard UP, 2016)
Mar 14, 2016 • 53 min
In her new book Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form (Harvard UP, 2016), Hillary Chute analyses the documentary power in the comics-form sometimes known as “graphic novels.” Chute is particularly interested in Art Spiegelman’s…
Friederike Kind-Kovacs, “Written Here, Published There: How Underground Literature Crossed the Iron Curtain” (Central European UP, 2014)
Mar 7, 2016 • 61 min
Written Here, Published There: How Underground Literature Crossed the Iron Curtain (Central European University Press, 2014) is a richly detailed description of the social practices, debates and discourses that were part of a transnational literary…
James Davis, “Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean” (Columbia University Press, 2015)
Feb 24, 2016 • 48 min
This terrific book follows the itinerary of Eric Walrond’s peripatetic life. Born in Guyana in 1898, Walrond lived in Barbados, Panama, New York, Paris, London. As a writer and sharp observer of those around him, he produced trenchant critiques of racial…
Maris Kreisman, “Slaughterhouse 90210: Where Great Books Meet Pop Culture” (Flatiron Books, 2015)
Jan 28, 2016 • 38 min
The concept sounds simple: Maris Kreizman‘s Slaughterhouse 90210: Where Great Books Meet Pop Culture (Flatiron Books, 2015), based on her popular Tumblr, pairs up classic celebrity and television images with relevant quotes from literature. But the blend…
Leigh Claire La Berge, “Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s” (Oxford UP, 2014)
Jan 27, 2016 • 50 min
What stories do we tell about finance? How does financial print culture shape our lives? Our guest today explores the narratives we have been told, and tell, about finance. A literary scholar, Leigh Claire La Berge writes about the representations of…
George Cotkin, “Feast of Excess: A Cultural History of the New Sensibility” (Oxford UP, 2015)
Jan 22, 2016 • 55 min
George Cotkin is an emeritus professor of history at California Polytechnic State University. In his book Feast of Excess: A Cultural History of the New Sensibility (Oxford University Press, 2015) he has given us cultural criticism through a set of…
Jodi Eichler-Levine, “Suffer the Little Children: Uses of the Past in Jewish and African American Children’s Literature” (NYU Press, 2013)
Dec 14, 2015 • 29 min
In Suffer the Little Children: Uses of the Past in Jewish and African American Children’s Literature (New York University Press, 2013), Jodi Eichler-Levine, associate professor of Religion Studies and Berman Professor of Jewish Civilization at Lehigh…
Nanxiu Qian, “Politics, Poetics, and Gender in Late Qing China: Xue Shaohui and the Era of Reform” (Stanford UP, 2015)
Dec 11, 2015 • 70 min
Nanxiu Qian, professor at Rice University, discusses her new book Politics, Poetics, and Gender in Late Qing China: Xue Shaohui and the Era of Reform (Stanford University Press, 2015). Qian argues that the role women played in the late Qing reform…
Ranen Omer-Sherman, “Imagining the Kibbutz: Visions of Utopia in Literature and Film” (Penn State UP, 2015)
Dec 8, 2015 • 30 min
In Imagining the Kibbutz: Visions of Utopia in Literature and Film (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), Ranen Omer-Sherman, a professor at the University of Louisville, looks at literary and cinematic representations of the kibbutz, what he…
Leah Garrett, “Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel” (Northwestern UP, 2015)
Dec 3, 2015 • 64 min
Finalist, 2015 National Jewish Book Award In her new book Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel (Northwestern University Press, 2015), Leah Garrett, the Loti Smorgon (Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at Monash…
Kimberly Fain, “Colson Whitehead: The Postracial Voice of Contemporary Literature” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015)
Nov 30, 2015 • 54 min
Colson Whitehead’s fiction has drawn varied criticism. On the one hand, there’s the scholarship of the African diaspora, a tradition that takes the long view of Whitehead–extrapolating him from their existing canon (of Du Bois, Hurston, Ellison, etc.); on…
Megan Marshall, “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life” (Mariner Books, 2013)
Nov 8, 2015 • 65 min
Megan Marshall is the Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor in writing, literature and publishing. Her book Margaret Fuller: A New American Life (Mariner Books, 2013) won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in biography. Marshall has written a beautiful and…
Tom Sperlinger, “Romeo and Juliet in Palestine: Teaching Under Occupation” (Zero Books, 2015)
Nov 8, 2015 • 28 min
Tom Sperlinger, Reader in English Literature and Community Engagement at the University of Bristol, joins New Books in Education to discuss Romeo and Juliet in Palestine: Teaching Under Occupation (Zero Books, 2015). The book is an account of Tom’s time…
Ilan Stavans and Jorge J. E. Garcia, “Thirteen Ways of Looking At Latino Art” (Duke UP, 2014)
Sep 30, 2015 • 59 min
As demographic trends continue to mark the so-called “Latinization” of the U.S., pundits across various media outlets struggle to understand the economic, cultural, and political implications of this reality. In popular discourse, Latinoas/os are often…
David Snowdon, “Writing the Prizefight: Pierce Egan’s Boxiana World” (Peter Lang, 2013)
Sep 4, 2015 • 51 min
When ESPN anchor Stuart Scott passed away from cancer this past January, he was widely hailed for his innovative style, which mixed heavy does of African American slang and pop culture references. His signature phrases are now commonly used terms in the…
Anna M. Shields, “One Who Knows Me: Friendship and Literary Culture in Mid-Tang China” (Harvard UP, 2015)
Sep 4, 2015 • 69 min
Anna M. Shields has written a marvelous book on friendship, literature, and history in medieval China. One Who Knows Me: Friendship and Literary Culture in Mid-Tang China (Harvard University Press, 2015) is the first book-length study of friendship in the…
Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, “Dear Continuum: Letters to a Poet Crafting Liberation” (Grand Concourse Press, 2015)
Aug 7, 2015 • 32 min
Poetry is far more than crafting verse. Poetry is a way of thought and a way of being. It seeps into every aspect of a poet’s life only to reveal that it is the life that seeped into poetry. In a series of letters penned to “Continuum,” Mariahadessa Ekere…
Mrinalini Chakravorty, “In Stereotype: South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary” (Columbia UP, 2014)
Aug 2, 2015 • 42 min
In Stereotype: South Asia in the Global Literary Imaginary (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a masterful account of the importance of the stereotype in English language South Asian literature. Mrinalini Chakravorty explores such tropes as the crowd in…
Alexander Etkind, “Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied” (Stanford UP, 2013)
Jul 26, 2015 • 50 min
Theoretical and historical accounts of postcatastrophic societies often discuss melancholia and trauma at length but leave processes of mourning underexplored. In Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied (Stanford UP, 2013),…
Derek Sayer, “Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History” (Princeton UP 2013)
Jul 24, 2015 • 71 min
Prague, according to Derek Sayer, is the place “in which modernist dreams have time and again unraveled.” In this sweeping history of surrealism centered on Prague as both a physical location and the “magic capital” in the imagination of leading…
Carlos Rojas, “Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation in Modern China” (Harvard UP, 2015)
Jul 8, 2015 • 73 min
Carlos Rojas‘s new book is a wonderfully transdisciplinary exploration of discourses of sickness and disease in Chinese literature and cinema in the long twentieth century. As its title indicates, Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National…
Nick Sousanis, “Unflattening” (Harvard UP, 2015)
Jun 12, 2015 • 66 min
Nick Sousanis‘s new book is a must-read for anyone interested in thinking or teaching about the relationships between text, image, visuality, and knowledge. Unflattening (Harvard University Press, 2015) uses the medium of comics to explore “flatness of…
Greg Barnhisel, “Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy” (Columbia UP, 2015)
Jun 2, 2015 • 59 min
Greg Barnhisel‘s new book, Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy (Columbia UP, 2015) examines how modernism was defanged, re-packaged, and resold during the Cold War. Barnhisel, an Associate Professor at Duquesne…
Magda Romanska, “The Post-Traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor” (Anthem Press, 2014)
Jun 2, 2015 • 53 min
Jerzy Grotowsky and Tadeusz Kantor were influential in avant-garde theater in the West in the 1960s and 1970s, receiving high critical regard despite the fact that audiences could not understand the Polish language of the performances. In The…
Paul K. Saint-Amour, “Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form” (Oxford UP, 2015)
May 6, 2015 • 67 min
Paul K. Saint-Amour, Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, is a ruminative thinker and meticulous writer. These traits pay dividends in the surprising insights of his new book, Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic…
Eva Illouz, “Hard-Core Romance: Fifty Shades of Grey, Best-Sellers, and Society” (U of Chicago Press, 2014)
Apr 27, 2015 • 63 min
Eva Illouz is professor of sociology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and president of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her book Hard-Core Romance: Fifty Shades of Grey, Best Sellers, and Society (University of Chicago Press, 2014), provides a…
Andrew Cayton, “Love in the Time of Revolution” (UNC Press, 2013)
Apr 21, 2015 • 61 min
Andrew Cayton is a distinguished professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In his book Love in the Time of Revolution: Transatlantic Literary Radicalism and Historical Change (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) he has given us a…
Lital Levy, “Poetic Trespass: Writing Between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine” (Princeton UP, 2014)
Apr 6, 2015 • 58 min
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish settlement in Palestine and the revival of Hebrew as a national language have profoundly impacted the relationship between Arabic and Hebrew. In a highly contentious political environment, the two languages…
Paula T. Connolly, “Slavery in American Children’s Literature, 1790-2010” (U of Iowa Press, 2013)
Mar 26, 2015 • 52 min
The “peculiar institution” upon which the US nation was founded is still rich for examination.Perhaps this is why it is a subject to which 21st century authors continue to return. In this exploration of slavery, Paula T. Connolly, author of Slavery in…
Wen Jin, “Pluralist Universalism: An Asian Americanist Critique of U.S. and Chinese Multiculturalisms” (Ohio State University Press, 2012)
Mar 20, 2015 • 44 min
Wen Jin’s book, Pluralist Universalism: An Asian Americanist Critique of U.S. and Chinese Multiculturalisms (Ohio State Press, 2012), compares histories and modes of multiculturalism in China and the United States. Whereas many see few correlations…
Helena Gurfinkel, “Outlaw Fathers in Victorian and Modern British Literature” (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2014)
Mar 16, 2015 • 33 min
What is a father? In Outlaw Fathers in Victorian and Modern British Literature: Queering Patriarchy (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2014), Helena Gurfinkel offers an insightful new vision of fatherhood through an engagement with English literature, Freudian…
Mark Dennis and Darren Middleton, eds., “Approaching Silence: New Perspectives on Shusaku Endo’s Classic Novel” (Bloomsbury, 2015)
Mar 15, 2015 • 65 min
What does it mean to be a martyr? What does it mean to be an apostate? How should we understand people who choose one or the other? These are the questions asked by Shusaku Endo in his novel Silence, in which he tells the story of Japanese Catholics and…
Robert P. Burns, “Kafka’s Law: ‘The Trial’ and American Criminal Justice” (U of Chicago Press, 2014)
Mar 13, 2015 • 66 min
Professor Robert P. Burns of Northwestern University School of Law offers an insightful critique of the modern American criminal justice system in his new work Kafka’s Law: ‘The Trial’ and American Criminal Justice (University of Chicago Press 2014). This…
Justin Martin, “Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians” (Da Capo Press, 2014)
Mar 10, 2015 • 42 min
Biography is, both etymologically and in its conventional forms, the writing of a life. But what is the role of place within that? And how do the stories of lives- some of them well known, others less so- realign when we see them through the lens of a…
Sarah M. Allen, “Shifting Stories: History, Gossip, and Lore in Narratives from Tang Dynasty China” (Harvard University Asia Center, 2014)
Mar 9, 2015 • 69 min
Sarah M. Allen‘s new book looks at the literature of tales in eighth- and ninth-century China. Shifting Stories: History, Gossip, and Lore in Narratives from Tang Dynasty China (Harvard University Asia Center, 2014) situates Tang tales in the context of…
Wilt Idema, “The Resurrected Skeleton: From Zhuangzi to Lu Xun” (Columbia University Press, 2014)
Mar 4, 2015 • 65 min
Wilt Idema‘s new book traces a story and its transformations through hundreds of years of Chinese literature. The Resurrected Skeleton: From Zhuangzi to Lu Xun (Columbia University Press, 2014) collects and translates variations of the tale of Master…
Tamara T. Chin, “Savage Exchange” (Harvard University Asia Center, 2014)
Jan 30, 2015 • 69 min
Tamara Chin‘s new book is a tour de force and a must-read for anyone interested in early China, the history of economy, or inter-disciplinarity in the humanities. Focusing on the reign of Han Emperor Wu (r. 141-87 BCE), Savage Exchange: Han Imperialism,…
Susan Byrne, “Law and History in Cervantes’ Don Quixote” (University of Toronto Press, 2013)
Jan 29, 2015 • 58 min
Please listen to the fascinating conversation I had with Susan Byrne, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of Undergraduate Studies for Spanish at Yale University, about her new work, Law and History in Cervantes’ Don Quixote (University of Toronto…
R. Keller Kimbrough, “Wondrous Brutal Fictions: Eight Buddhist Tales from the Early Japanese Puppet Theater” (Columbia UP, 2013)
Jan 23, 2015 • 80 min
In his recent book, Wondrous Brutal Fictions: Eight Buddhist Tales from the Early Japanese Puppet Theater (Columbia University Press, 2013), R. Keller Kimbrough provides us with eight beautifully translated sekkyō and ko-jōruri. Learn more about your ad…
Jenny Kaminer, “Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture” (Northwestern UP, 2014)
Jan 20, 2015 • 52 min
Jenny Kaminer‘s new book, Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture (Northwestern University Press, 2014) analyzes Russian myths of motherhood over time and in particular, the evolving myths of the figure of the “bad mother.”…
Paola Iovene, “Tales of Futures Past: Anticipation and the Ends of Literature in Contemporary China” (Stanford UP, 2014)
Jan 19, 2015 • 65 min
Paola Iovene‘s new book is a beautiful exploration of visions of the future as they have shaped a range of texts, genres, and editorial practices in Chinese literature from the middle of the twentieth century through the beginning of the twenty-first…
Steven Shaviro, “The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism” (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
Jan 16, 2015 • 63 min
Steven Shaviro‘s new book is a wonderfully engaging study of speculative realism, new materialism, and the ways in which those fields can speak to and be informed by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. While The Universe of Things: On Speculative…
Steven Fielding, “A State of Play” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)
Dec 12, 2014 • 62 min
To understand contemporary politics we must understand how it is represented in fiction. This is the main argument in A State of Play: British Politics on Screen, Stage and Page, from Anthony Trollope to The Thick of It (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014) a new…
Joshua S. Mostow, “Courtly Visions: The Ise Stories and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation” (Brill, 2014)
Dec 10, 2014 • 66 min
In pre-modern Japan, Ise monogatari (also known as the Ise Stories or Tales of Ise) was considered to be one of the three most important works of literature in the Japanese language. Joshua S. Mostow‘s new book focuses on the reception and appropriation…
Beth Driscoll, “The New Literary Middlebrow: Readers and Tastemaking in the Twenty-First Century” (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2014)
Dec 3, 2014 • 41 min
It is a cliche to suggest we are what we read, but it is also an important insight. In The New Literary Middlebrow: Readers and Tastemaking in the Twenty First Century (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2014), Beth Driscoll, from University of Melbourne, extends and…
Melek Ortabasi, “The Undiscovered Country” (Harvard University Asia Center, 2014)
Dec 3, 2014 • 68 min
Melek Ortabasi‘s new book explores the work of Yanagita Kunio (1875-1962), a writer, folk scholar, “eccentric, dominating crackpot,” “brilliant, versatile iconoclast” and much more. The Undiscovered Country: Text, Translation, and Modernity in the Work of…
Wai-yee Li, “Women and National Trauma in Late Imperial Chinese Literature” (Harvard Asia Center, 2014)
Nov 24, 2014 • 66 min
Wai-yee Li‘s new book explores writing around the Ming-Qing transition in seventeenth-century China, paying careful attention to the relationships of history and literature in writing by women, about women, and/or in a feminine voice. In a series of…
Harleen Singh, “The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India” (Cambridge UP, 2014)
Nov 18, 2014 • 51 min
The Rani of Jhansi was and is many things to many people. In her beautifully written book The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Harleen Singh explores four representations of the famous warrior queen…
Bridget Conor, “Screenwriting: Creative labor and professional practice” (Routledge, 2014)
Nov 18, 2014 • 50 min
Bridget Conor’s new book, Screenwriting: Creative Labor and Professional Practice (Routledge, 2014), looks closely at the creative practice and profession of screenwriting for film and television in the US and UK. Situated within the critical media…
Lawrence Lipking, “What Galileo Saw: Imagining the Scientific Revolution” (Cornell UP, 2014)
Nov 5, 2014 • 69 min
Lawrence Lipking‘s new book, What Galileo Saw: Imagining the Scientific Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2014) examines the role of imagination and creativity in the seventeenth century developments that have come to be known as the Scientific…
Shengqing Wu, “Modern Archaics: Continuity and Innovation in the Chinese Lyric Tradition, 1900-1937” (Harvard Asia Center, 2014)
Sep 25, 2014 • 68 min
Shengqing Wu’s gorgeous new book begins by exploring the image of the treasure pagoda to introduce readers to an aesthetics of ornamental lyricism in Chinese poetry at the turn of the twentieth-century. Modern Archaics: Continuity and Innovation in the…
Nabil Matar, “Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam: The Originall and Progress of Mahometanism” (Columbia UP, 2013)
Sep 18, 2014 • 55 min
In Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam: The Originall and Progress of Mahometanism (Columbia University Press, 2014), Nabil Matar masterfully edits an important piece of scholarship from seventeenth-century England by scholar and physician, Henry…
William Chittick, “Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God” (Yale UP, 2013)
Sep 2, 2014 • 62 min
Where does love come from and where will it lead us? Throughout the years various answers have been given to these questions. In Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God (Yale University Press, 2013), William Chittick, professor at Stony Brook…
Mark Rifkin, “Settler Common Sense: Queerness and Everyday Colonialism in the American Renaissance” (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
Aug 21, 2014 • 64 min
In Settler Common Sense: Queerness and Everyday Colonialism in the American Renaissance (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), Mark Rifkin, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and incoming president of the Native American and…
Martin Joseph Ponce, “Beyond the Nation: Diasporic Filipino Literature and Queer Reading” (NYU Press, 2012)
Jul 22, 2014 • 58 min
Martin Joseph Ponce‘s recently published book, Beyond the Nation: Diasporic Filipino Literature and Queer Reading (NYU Press, 2012), traces the roots of Filipino literature to examine how it was shaped by forces of colonialism, imperialism, and migration.…
Christina Laffin, “Rewriting Medieval Japanese Women” (University of Hawaii Press, 2013)
Jul 15, 2014 • 65 min
Known primarily as a travel writer thanks to the frequent assignment of her Diary in high school history and literature classes, Nun Abutsu was a thirteenth-century poet, scholar, and teacher, and also a prolific writer. Christina Laffin‘s new book…
Eric LeMay, “In Praise of Nothing: Essays, Memoir, and Experiments” (Emergency Press, 2014)
Jun 13, 2014 • 47 min
Some people describe a lonesome highway or the middle of a desert town–even a state like Ohio–as “the middle of nowhere.” But for others, like Eric LeMay, no such place exists. There is always a “there there.” It’s the presence within the absence that…
Lori Emerson, “Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound” (University of Minnesota, 2014)
Jun 12, 2014 • 30 min
How much do we really think about the technology that we spend so much time using? More specifically, have you really ever considered the possible effects that the use of technology like your laptop, tablet, cellphone, etc. has on your reading, writing,…
Xiaojue Wang, “Modernity with a Cold War Face: Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide” (Harvard UP, 2013)
May 15, 2014 • 75 min
1949 was a crucial year for modern China, marking the beginning of Communist rule on the mainland and the retreat of the Nationalist government to Taiwan. While many scholars of Chinese literature have written 1949 as a radical break, Xiaojue Wang‘s new…
Michael Saler, “As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality” (Oxford UP, 2012)
May 12, 2014 • 54 min
In As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality (Oxford, 2012), historian Michael Saler explores the precursors of the current proliferation of digital virtual worlds. Saler challenges Max Weber’s analysis of modernity as the…
Lucy Hughes-Hallett, “Gabriele d’Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War” (Knopf, 2013)
Apr 27, 2014 • 35 min
Winner of the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize, Lucy Hughes-Hallett‘s biography of Gabriele d’Annunzio is a book with a big mission: to write inventively about the life of someone with whom most everyone outside of Italy is entirely unfamiliar whilst also…
Robert Mitchell, “Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science and Literature” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2013)
Apr 16, 2014 • 72 min
Robert Mitchell‘s new book is wonderfully situated across several intersections: of history and literature, of the Romantic and contemporary worlds, of Keats’ urn and a laboratory cylinder full of dry ice. In Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic…
Christopher P. Hanscom, “The Real Modern: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea” (Harvard University Asia Center, 2013)
Mar 16, 2014 • 70 min
In The Real Modern: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea (Harvard University Asia Center, 2013), Christopher P. Hanscom explores literary modernism in the work of three writers who were central to literary production in…
Colette Colligan, “A Publisher’s Paradise: Expatriate Literary Culture in Paris 1890-1960” (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014)
Mar 10, 2014 • 59 min
From the end of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth, Paris was a center for the publication of numerous English-language books, including many of a sexually explicit, pornographic nature. Colette Colligan‘s new book, A Publisher’s…
Adam Henig, “Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey” (2014)
Feb 5, 2014 • 44 min
Alex Haley’s 1976 book Roots: The Saga of an American Family still stands as a memorable epic journey into the history of African Americans during the enslavement period and after. The 1977 televised miniseries was a must-watch event of the day, and it…
Robert Darnton, “On the Future of Libraries”
Jan 25, 2014 • 35 min
Robert Darnton, author of books, articles, and Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library at Harvard. Darnton joins host Jonathan Judaken to discuss the future of libraries, the printed press, and his project – the…
Scott Cook, “The Bamboo Texts of Guodian: A Study and Complete Translation” (Cornell East Asia Program, 2012)
Jan 15, 2014 • 62 min
It’s always a joy when I have the opportunity to talk with the author of a book that is clearly a game-changer for its field. In The Bamboo Texts of Guodian: A Study and Complete Translation (Cornell University East Asia Series, 2012), Scott Cook has…
Erin Khue Ninh, “Ingratitude: The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature” (NYU Press, 2011)
Jan 6, 2014 • 63 min
Erin Khue Ninh is the author of Ingratitude: The Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature (New York University Press, 2011), which in 2013, won the Literary Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. Ingratitude…
Sandrine Sanos, “The Aesthetics of Hate: Far-Right Intellectuals, Antisemitism and Gender in 1930s France” (Stanford University Press, 2013)
Jan 5, 2014 • 60 min
Sandrine Sanos‘s new book, The Aesthetics of Hate: Far-Right Intellectuals, Antisemitism and Gender in 1930s France (Stanford University Press, 2013), examines the central roles that gender, sexuality, and race played in the far-right ideologies of the…
Jill Talbot, “Metawritings: Toward a Theory of Nonfiction” (University of Iowa Press, 2012)
Dec 20, 2013 • 51 min
We all know the commonplace that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. After reading Metawritings: Toward a Theory of Nonfiction (University of Iowa Press, 2012), I’m inclined to extend this wisdom to titles. Though accurate, Metawritings doesn’t…
Julia H. Lee, “Interracial Encounters: Reciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937” (NYU Press, 2011)
Dec 18, 2013 • 66 min
Julia H. Lee is the author of Interracial Encounters: Reciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937 (New York University Press, 2011). Dr. Lee is an Assistant Professor in the department of Asian American Studies at the…
David Tod Roy, “The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P’ing Mei” (Princeton UP, 1993-2013)
Dec 16, 2013 • 74 min
By any measure, David Tod Roy‘s translation The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P’ing Mei, Vol. 1-5 (Princeton University Press, 1993-2013) is a landmark achievement for East Asian Studies, translation studies, and world literature. Comprising 100…
Jeremy Dauber, “The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem” (Schocken, 2013)
Nov 8, 2013 • 45 min
The first comprehensive biography of famed Yiddish novelist, story writer and playwright Sholem Aleichem, Jeremy Dauber‘s welcome new book The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye (Schocken, 2013)…
Jonathan D. Wells, “Women Writers and Journalists in the Nineteenth-Century South” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Oct 23, 2013 • 64 min
It’s getting harder and harder to trailblaze in the field of American Studies. More and more, writers have to follow paths created by others, imposing new interpretations on old ones in never-ending cycles of revision. But Jonathan Daniel Wells did find…
Elizabeth Winder, “Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953” (Harper, 2013)
Oct 18, 2013 • 36 min
It is a struggle sometimes in biography to find new ways to write about subjects about whom many biographies have been written. This is particularly pronounced in the case of iconic figures of the 20th century (think: Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Onassis,…
Henrietta Harrison, “The Missionary’s Curse and Other Tales from a Chinese Catholic Village” (University of California Press, 2013)
Oct 10, 2013 • 64 min
Henrietta Harrison‘s new book is the work of a gifted storyteller. In its pages, the reader will find Boxers getting drunk on communion wine, wolf apparitions, people waking up from the dead, ballads about seasickness, and flying bicycles. You will also…
The NBS Fall Seminar: Sports Memoirs
Oct 7, 2013 • 120 min
One of the most crowded sections of the sports library is the one devoted to autobiographies and memoirs. The shelves here are constantly adding new titles, by both legends and bit players. For instance, the past week has brought the release of new…
Annette Kolodny, “In Search of First Contact” (Duke University Press, 2012)
Oct 1, 2013 • 41 min
We all know the song. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” And now, thankfully, we all know the controversy; celebrating a perpetrator of genocide might say a few unpleasant things about the country doing the celebrating. But there is something that…
Sarah Churchwell, “Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of the Great Gatsby” (Virago, 2013)
Sep 19, 2013 • 45 min
One phenomenon of movies made of classic novels is that the movie often says a lot more about the time of its making than about the time of the novel. And so Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is more a depiction of a 2012 idea of the 1920s than a realistic…
Carmen Kynard, “Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacies Studies” (SUNY Press, 2013)
Jul 18, 2013 • 58 min
You know you are not going to get the same old story about progressive literacies and education from Carmen Kynard, who ends the introduction to her book with a saying from her grandmother: “Whenever someone did something that seemed contradictory enough…
Stacy Alaimo, “Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self” (Indiana UP, 2010)
Jul 8, 2013 • 51 min
In her book, Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self (Indiana University Press, 2010), Stacy Alaimo approaches the concepts of “science, environment, and self” in an extremely novel and inventive way. The central concept in Alaimo’s…
Keith Clark, “The Radical Fiction of Ann Petry” (Louisiana State UP, 2013)
Jun 23, 2013 • 45 min
What do you do if you accompany a friend on her research trip to Boston University’s Gotlieb Archival Research Center and end up finding a treasure trove of letters, news articles, hand written notes, and original drafts of nonfiction by one of your…
Patrick James and Abigail Ruane, “The International Relations of Middle-Earth: Learning from the Lord of the Rings” (University of Michigan Press, 2012)
Jun 6, 2013 • 32 min
Patrick James is the Dornsife Dean’s Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California. A self-described intellectual “fox,” James works on a wide variety of subjects in the study of world politics. But one of his latest books,…
The NBS Summer Seminar: Sports Books for Children
Jun 4, 2013 • 115 min
What did you read as a young sports fan? Maybe the sports pages in the local newspaper, or a glossy illustrated magazine? Did your school’s library carry biographies of famous athletes written for children, or did you go straight to the books for adults…
Ron Kaplan, “501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die” (University of Nebraska Press, 2013)
May 17, 2013 • 45 min
WorldCat is the largest online catalog in the world, accessing the collections of more than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories. Using the catalog, a subject search of particular sports turns up the following tally of book titles in the…
Ned Stuckey-French, “The American Essay in the American Century” (University of Missouri Press, 2011)
May 17, 2013 • 54 min
Clio, Erato, Polyhymnia–among the nine muses of Greek mythology, there’s no muse for the essay. And that’s not only because the essay doesn’t appear, in name, until Montaigne publishes his first book of them in 1580. No, one gets the feeling that, even if…
Beth H. Piatote, “Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature” (Yale University Press, 2013)
May 13, 2013 • 58 min
The suspension of the so-called “Indian Wars” did not signal colonialism’s end, only a different battlefield. “The calvary man was supplanted–or, rather, supplemented–by the field matron, the Hotchkiss by the transit, and the prison by the school,” writes…
Andre Williams, “Dividing Lines: Social Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction” (University of Michigan, 2013)
May 8, 2013 • 48 min
Andrei Williams‘ provocative new book on African American class divisions in Post-Reconstruction and Jim Crow America is sure to spark spirited debate among those interested in how the interplay of economic status and racial identity influence what has…
Ian Condry, “The Soul of Anime” (Duke UP, 2013)
Apr 30, 2013 • 10 min
You may come for the Astro Boy or Afro Samurai, but you’ll stay for the innovative ways that Ian Condry‘s new book brings together analyses of transmedia practice, collaboration, and materialities of democracy. The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity…
Eric Hayot, “On Literary Worlds” (Oxford UP, 2012)
Apr 19, 2013 • 83 min
Eric Hayot‘s new book is a bold, ambitious, and inspiring call for revising the way we think about, practice, and teach literary history. Pt. I of On Literary Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2012) offers a critical evaluation of the notion of “worlds” in…
Bruce Rusk, “Critics and Commentators: The ‘Book of Poems’ as Classic and Literature” (Harvard UP, 2012)
Feb 12, 2013 • 80 min
What makes something a poem? What defines “poetry,” and how has that changed over space and time? Critics and Commentators: The ‘Book of Poems’ as Classic and Literature (Harvard University Press, 2012) considers such questions as they chart a path…
Richard W. Leeman and Bernard Duffy, “The Will of a People: A Critical Anthology of Great African American Speeches (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012)
Jan 30, 2013 • 44 min
The Will of a People: A Critical Anthology of Great African American Speeches (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012) is a compendium of 22 orations delivered by African Americans over a span of over 265 years. Co-edited by frequent collaborators…
Michael Gibbs Hill, “Lin Shu, Inc.: Translation and the Making of Modern Chinese Culture” (Oxford UP, 2013)
Jan 23, 2013 • 70 min
What do “Rip van Winkle,” Oliver Twist, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Aesop’s Fables have in common? All of them were translated into Chinese by Lin Shu (Lin Qinnan, 1852-1924), a major force in the literary culture of late Qing and early Republican China. In…
Amir Eshel, “Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
Jan 22, 2013 • 56 min
In his very recent work, Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past(University of Chicago Press, 2013), Amir Eshel presents us with a very interesting examination of what he refers to as “futurity” or literature’s ability to provide us…
Katy Price, “Loving Faster Than Light: Romance and Readers in Einstein’s Universe” (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
Jan 9, 2013 • 62 min
You were amused to find you too could fear “The eternal silence of the infinite spaces.” The astronomy love poems of William Empson, from which the preceding quote was taken, were just some of the many media through which people explored the ramifications…
Michael Gordin, “The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe” (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
Dec 19, 2012 • 61 min
When I agreed to host New Books and Science Fiction and Fantasy there were a number of authors I hoped to interview, including Michael Gordin. This might come as a surprise to listeners, because Michael is neither a science-fiction nor a fantasy author.…
Cosima Bruno, “Between the Lines: Yang Lian’s Poetry through Translation” (Brill, 2012)
Nov 26, 2012 • 57 min
Cosima Bruno‘s new book asks us to consider a deceptively simple question: what is the relationship between a poem and its translation? In the course of Between the Lines: Yang Lian’s Poetry through Translation (Brill, 2012), Bruno helps us imagine what…
Christopher Bush, “Ideographic Modernism: China, Writing, Media” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Nov 13, 2012 • 79 min
Orientalism, the ideograph, and media theory grew up together. In Ideographic Modernism: China, Writing, Media (Oxford University Press, 2010), Christopher Bush offers a wonderfully trans-disciplinary account of modernism through the figure of the…
Anthony Bale, “The Book of Marvels and Travels” (Oxford UP, 2012)
Nov 2, 2012 • 69 min
Anthony Bale‘s new translation of Sir John Mandeville’s classic account is an exciting and engaging text that’s accessible to a wide range of readers. The Book of Marvels and Travels (Oxford University Press, 2012) recounts a fourteenth-century journey…
Ulrich Plass, “Language and History in Theodor W. Adorno’s Notes to Literature” (Routledge, 2007)
Sep 25, 2012 • 59 min
In Language and History in Theodor W. Adorno’s Notes to Literature (Routledge, 2007), Ulrich Plass makes the case for the importance and relevance of Adorno’s often forgotten and derided attempts at literary criticism. Plass specifically draws our…
Cory MacLauchlin, “Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of A Confederacy of Dunces” (Da Capo, 2012)
Sep 4, 2012 • 44 min
If you’ve spent any time in New Orleans, you can appreciate the challenge of putting the city’s joie de vivre into words.However, as a New Orleans native, John Kennedy Toole was steeped in the traditions and flavor of his hometown and, therefore, uniquely…
J. Hillis Miller, “The Conflagration of Community: Fiction Before and After Auschwitz” (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
Aug 23, 2012 • 93 min
In his recent book, The Conflagration of Community: Fiction Before and After Auschwitz (University of Chicago Press, 2011), J. Hillis Miller sets outs to address Theodor Adorno’s famous proclamation that to write poetry after Auschwitz is impossible and…
Koritha Mitchell, “Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930” (University of Illinois Press, 2012)
Jun 29, 2012 • 63 min
Koritha Mitchell‘s Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930 (University of Illinois Press, 2012) is, as described on the publisher’s webpage, “the first full-length critical study of lynching plays in…
Nancy Hargrove, “T.S. Eliot’s Parisian Year” (University of Florida Press, 2010)
Jun 15, 2012 • 61 min
When it comes to writers and artists, biography plays a provocative role–yielding insight into both artistic influences and origins. This is especially true with the modernists, in particular T.S. Eliot. After graduating from Harvard University in 1910,…
John Cheng, “Astounding Wounder: Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)
Jun 1, 2012 • 77 min
John Cheng‘s new book Astounding Wonder: Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) uncovers the material and social circumstances that created the social phenomenon of American science fiction. To a…
Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr., “Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind” (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2011)
May 15, 2012 • 38 min
Much ink has been spilled in telling the story of the making of Gone With the Wind– be it the book, the movie, or the subsequent musicals and merchandise. So it’s not only refreshing but downright commendable that in their biography, Margaret Mitchell’s…
Robert Lipsyte, “An Accidental Sportswriter: A Memoir” (Ecco, 2011)
May 7, 2012 • 62 min
In the summer of 1957, Robert Lipsyte answered a classified ad. He was an English major who needed some cash, and The New York Times was looking for an editorial assistant. He went to work on the night shift in the sports department, serving as a copyboy…
Elizabeth West, “African Spirituality in Black Women’s Fiction: Threaded Visions of Memory, Community, Nature, and Being” (Lexington Books, 2011)
Apr 9, 2012 • 46 min
Elizabeth West has written an insightful study about the presence of African spirituality in the autobiographies, poetry, speeches and novels of African American women, ranging from Phylis Wheatley to Harriet Wilson to Zora Neale Hurston. West’s book is…
Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, “Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color” (Rutgers UP, 2012)
Mar 9, 2012 • 71 min
One lesson that the ever-present trickster figure in African American folklore teaches is how to use signifying to protect one’s intimate self. A challenge of writing Dorothy West’s life is getting beyond the masks she presents before the ever-prying…
Cynthia Wachtell, “War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914” (LSU Press, 2010)
Feb 3, 2012 • 67 min
My favorite book as a teenager (and in fact the only book I ever read as a teenager) was All Quiet on the Western Front. I liked it mostly for the vivid scenes of trench warfare. Teenage boys love that stuff (or at least I did). But even then I recognized…
Charles J. Shields, “And So It Goes. Kurt Vonnegut, A Life” (Henry Holt, 2011)
Nov 9, 2011 • 51 min
The public image of Kurt Vonnegut is that of a crusty, irascible old man. Someone with whom one would want to drink, but never ever fall in love. The Vonnegut we meet in Charles J. Shields’s insightful new biography, And So It Goes. Kurt Vonnegut: A Life…
Rosamund Bartlett, “Tolstoy: A Russia Life” (Houghton Mifflin, 2011)
Nov 4, 2011 • 84 min
I vividly recall a time in my life–especially my late teens and early twenties–when I thought I could be anyone but had no idea which anyone to be. For this I blame (or credit) my liberal arts education, which convinced me that there was really nothing I…
Gregory Nagy on Homer’s “Iliad”
Oct 25, 2011 • 10 min
In this installment of Faculty Insight, produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School, ThoughtCast speaks with the esteemed Harvard classicist Gregory Nagy about one of the earliest and greatest legends of all time: Homer’s epic story…
Tom Perrotta on Flannery O’Connor
Sep 23, 2011 • 32 min
[Re-posted with permission from Jenny Attiyeh’s ThoughtCast] Tom Perrotta, the esteemed author of Little Children, Election, The Abstinence Teacher and the recently published novel The Leftovers (St. Martin’s Press, September 2011) speaks with ThoughtCast…
Alan Jacobs, “The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction” (Oxford UP, 2011)
Sep 12, 2011 • 39 min
In his new book, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (Oxford University Press, 2011), Alan Jacobs, Clyde S. Kilby Chair Professor of English at Wheaton College, discusses the state of reading in the United States. Where some would argue that…
Evander Lomke and Martin Rowe, “Right Off the Bat: Cricket, Baseball, Literature & Life” (Paul Dry Books, 2011)
Aug 9, 2011 • 67 min
Last spring’s Cricket World Cup was a major global event. Estimates of the television audience for the final matches ranged from 400 million to one billion, while the website ESPNcricinfo.com had an average audience, throughout the entire 43-day…
Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, and Dru Pagliasotti, “Boy’s Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre” (McFarland, 2010)
Jul 13, 2011 • 49 min
Growing up in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indy-car racing offered my friends and me some very exciting heroes. As children, we played “Indy 500” on our bikes in the cul-de-sac. As we became teenagers, the Indy-car drivers who descended on our city in…
Lee Ambrozy, “Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009” (MIT Press, 2011)
Jun 21, 2011 • 63 min
Anyone who has been following the news this year has likely heard of Ai Weiwei. This provocative and gifted Chinese artist-activist has made 2011 headlines for his controversial work Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads and for his recent arrest by Chinese…
Alan Nadel, “August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle” (University of Iowa Press, 2010)
May 30, 2011 • 52 min
Many scholars consider August Wilson to be the premier American playwright of the 20th Century. Alan Nadel is surely one of their number. In the early 1990s, he focused our attention on Wilson’s plays in the outstanding collection of essays May All Your…
George Hunka, “Word Made Flesh: Philosophy, Eros, and Contemporary Tragic Drama” (Eyecorner Press, 2011)
May 1, 2011 • 68 min
George Hunka’s book Word Made Flesh: Philosophy, Eros, and Contemporary Tragic Drama (Eyecorner Press, 2011) offers a series of challenges, provocations and meditations on Theatre (with a capital “T”). It’s a valuable piece of work to wrestle with,…
J. E. Lendon, “Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins” (Basic, 2010)
Feb 18, 2011 • 67 min
Reading J. E. Lendon’s writerly Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins (Basic Books, 2010) took me back to the eventful days of my youth at Price Elementary School, or rather to the large yardon which we had recess. We called it a “playground.” But…
Joyce Salisbury, “The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages” (Routledge, 2011)
Jan 21, 2011 • 60 min
I have three cats. They have names (Fatty, Mini, and Koshka). They live in my house. I feed them, take them to the vet, and love them. When they die, I’ll be really sad. After having read Joyce Salisbury’s eye-opening The Beast Within: Animals in the…
Joanna Levin, “Bohemia in America, 1858-1920” (Stanford UP, 2010)
Jun 11, 2010 • 62 min
You’ve probably heard of hipsters. Heck, you may even be a hipster. If you don’t know what a hipster is, you might spend some time on this sometimes entertaining website. Where do hipsters come from? Let’s work backwards. Before hipsters (1990s), there…
Jeffrey Reznick, “John Galsworthy and the Disabled Soldiers of the Great War” (Manchester UP, 2009)
May 18, 2010 • 58 min
You may not know who John Galsworthy is, but you probably know his work. Who hasn’t seen some production of The Forsyte Saga? Galsworthy was one of the most popular and famous British writers of the early 20th century (the Edwardian Era). He left an…