New Books in Literary Studies

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Interviews with Scholars of Literature about their New Books

Marshall Poe

    • Nov 26, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 57m AVG DURATION
    • 959 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from New Books in Literary Studies

    Katarzyna Bartoszyńska, "Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland, and Theories of World Literature" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 31:39

    Katarzyna (Kasia) Bartoszyńska is an assistant professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at Ithaca College. Her research and teaching focuses on the novel form and the theories connected to it, combining a formalist investigation of textual mechanics with an interest in studies of gender, sexuality, race, and world literature. Prof. Bartoszyńska is also active in Polish-English translation. She has translated several texts by Zygmunt Bauman, including Sketches in the Theory of Culture (Polity 2018), Of God and Man (Polity 2015), and Culture and Art (2021) and is currently completing a translation of a book about Bauman's work by Dariusz Brzeziński. In this interview, she discusses her new book Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland and Theories of World Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021), a comparative study of two national literatures that also makes a serious intervention into the history of the novel as a literary form. Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland, and Theories of World Literature (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021) offers a new way of thinking about the development of the novel as a genre. The work pushes against the standard narrative of the novel's rise on two fronts, arguing that the focus on Anglo-French fiction, on the one hand, and realism, on the other, gives us an overly narrow sense of the novel's potential, and skews our readings of fiction from "other" parts of the world. Bartoszyńska uses three close readings of pairs of books from Poland and Ireland, spanning the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, to demonstrate how mainstream theories of the novel fail to engage their most innovative features, because they do not conform to emerging conventions of realist fiction. Examining the features of these works that have been seen as deviations from the novel's teleology, such as satire, interlaced tales, or the use of the supernatural, she presents them as efforts to theorize the potential of the form and investigates the novel's world-building powers. Aidan Beatty is a historian at the Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Annegret Oehme, "The Knight Without Boundaries: Yiddish and German Arthurian Wigalois Adaptations" (Brill, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 57:20

    This volume explores a core medieval myth, the tale of an Arthurian knight called Wigalois, and the ways it connects the Yiddish-speaking Jews and the German-speaking non-Jews of the Holy Roman Empire. The German Wigalois / Viduvilt adaptations grow from a multistage process: a German text adapted into Yiddish adapted into German, creating adaptations actively shaped by a minority culture within a majority culture. The Knight Without Boundaries: Yiddish and German Arthurian Wigalois Adaptations (Brill, 2021) examines five key moments in the Wigalois / Viduvilt tradition that highlight transitions between narratological and meta-narratological patterns and audiences of different religious-cultural or lingual background. Lea Greenberg is a scholar of German studies with a particular focus on German Jewish and Yiddish literature and culture; critical gender studies; multilingualism; and literature of the post-Yugoslav diaspora. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Gretchen E. Minton, "Shakespeare in Montana: Big Sky Country's Love Affair with the World's Most Famous Writer" (U New Mexico Press, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 50:56

    Tracing more than two centuries of history, Shakespeare in Montana: Big Sky Country's Love Affair with the World's Most Famous Writer (University of New Mexico Press, 2020) uncovers a vast array of different voices that capture the state's love affair with the world's most famous writer. From mountain men, pioneers, and itinerant acting companies in mining camps to women's clubs at the turn of the twentieth century and the contemporary popularity of Shakespeare in the Parks throughout Montana, the book chronicles the stories of residents across this incredible western state who have been attracted to the words and works of Shakespeare. Gretchen Minton explores this unique relationship found in the Treasure State and provides considerable insight into the myriad places and times in which Shakespeare's words have been heard and discussed. By revealing what Shakespeare has meant to the people of Montana, Minton offers us a better understanding of the state's citizens and history while providing a key perspective on Shakespeare's enduring global influence. Gretchen Minton is a Professor of English at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. Troy A. Hallsell is the 341st Missile Wing Historian at Malmstrom AFB, MT. The opinions expressed in this podcast do not represent the 341st Missile Wing, United States Air Force, and the Department of Defense. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Atmadarshan Laura Santoro, "Song of Your Soul," a New Translation of the Bhagavad Gita

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 55:47

    Raj Balkaran interviews Atmadarshan Laura Santoro co-owner of Dharma Kshetra Yoga and author of forthcoming book The Song of Your Soul (an original new translation of the Bhagavad Gita) on the role of yoga and Indian spirituality in fostering life wisdom. They discuss her rich relationship to the Bhagavad Gītā and issues of cultural appropriation in modern yoga movements. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Daniel Alexander Jones, "Love Like Light: Plays and Performance Texts" (53rd State Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 66:19

    Daniel Alexander Jones' Love Like Light: Plays and Performance Texts (53rd State Press, 2021) collects seven plays and performance texts from the past twenty-five years. Together, they provide a panoramic view of a remarkable playwright, songwriter, improviser, and performer. In our conversation we discuss Jones' early exposure to theatre as a high school student in Springfield, MA, his discovery of Ntozake Shange's work, his emergence in the Radical Alternative Theater scenes in Austin and the Twin Cities, and his more recent work at New York venues including Soho Rep and Joe's Pub. Love Like Light should be of interest to anyone interested in queer performance, Afromysticism, and abstract structures of performance writing. Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Molly Thomasy Blasing, "Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture" (Cornell UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 59:03

    Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture (Cornell UP, 2021) considers how photography has shaped Russian poetry from the early twentieth century to the present day. Drawing on theories of the lyric and the elegy, the social history of technology, and little-known archival materials, Molly Thomasy Blasing offers close readings of poems by Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva, Joseph Brodsky, and Bella Akhmadulina, as well as by the late and post-Soviet poets Andrei Sen-Sen'kov, Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, and Kirill Medvedev, to understand their fascination with the visual language, representational power, and metaphorical possibilities offered by the camera and the photographic image. Within the context of long-standing anxieties about the threat that visual media pose to literary culture, Blasing finds that these poets were attracted to the affinities and tensions that exist between the lyric or elegy and the snapshot. Snapshots of the Soul reveals that at the core of each poet's approach to writing the photograph is the urge to demonstrate the superior ability of poetic language to capture and convey human experience. Molly T. Blasing holds degrees in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University (AB, 2002) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (MA, 2006; PHD, 2014). After teaching at Florida State University, Wellesley College, and Oberlin College, she joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky as Assistant Professor of Russian Studies in 2014 and was promoted to Associate Professor in July 2021.  Steven Seegel is Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Jeremy Black, "England in the Age of Dickens, 1812-70" (Amberley, 2022)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 37:30

    Jeremy Black, who recently retired as professor of history of Exeter University, has just published the two latest installments of his series of works on writers of literary fiction. England in the Age of Dickens, 1812-70 (Amberley, 2022) is an outstanding discussion of the worlds in which the most famous "Victorian novelist" engaged - even as it questions that reputation by reminding us that Dickens was often writing about an older England. In The Importance of Being Poirot (St Augustine's Press, 2021), Black turns his attention to Agatha Christie, showing how she sustained the moral framework that drove her detective fiction even as the world changed, sometimes in fundamental ways, around her.  Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen's University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Beatrice Gruendler, "The Rise of the Arabic Book" (Harvard UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 90:39

    How did it happen that, in the 13th century, Europe's largest library owned fewer than 2,000 volumes while Baghdad alone boasted of several libraries holding from 200,000 to 1,000,000 books each? In The Rise of the Arabic Book (Harvard UP, 2020), Beatrice Gruendler traces the story of the beginning of the revolution in book culture that happened in the first centuries of the Abbasid period in the Islamic lands of the Middle East. She does so by looking at the lives of people specializing and fulfilling different roles in a society that underwent a drastic technological revolution to accomodate them. Focusing on a range of social classes such as scholars and poets, craftsmen and traders, up to the large aristocratic book collectors, we read of the protagonists of this momentous revolution in knowledge, science, and book culture. Miguel Monteiro is a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. Twitter @anphph Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Charlie Louth on Rainer Maria Rilke

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 69:15

    Charlie Louth's illuminating recent book, Rilke: The Life of the Work (Oxford University Press, 2021) examines why Rilke's poems have exercised such preternatural attraction for now several generations of readers. The early 20th century German-language poet captured the experience of European culture irrevocably lurching into modernity, where an entire continent was forced to trade in its untenable and ultimately fantastically unrealistic Romantic worldview for the sober realization that humans are capable of even greater evil than any gods, and that life has meaning only if we continually create it. But unlike some other modernists, Rilke captured this vast cultural rupture in exceptionally beautiful and ever more effectively crafted, if ever less formal, poetry. Instead of explaining this effect away, Louth deepens the transformative experience of reading Rilke by offering his interpretation as one option among others and thus engaging the reader directly in the unfolding of each of Rilke's words. Louth's book follows the chronology of Rilke's life (1875 – 1926) but focuses on the works, often in the context of the situation when they were written, rather than on Rilke's itinerant life. I spoke with Charlie about the enduring importance of Rilke, about the Duino Elegies, and whether Rilke's 1915 poem “Death” – or any of his works in general – can alleviate the cold fact that as humans, no matter how blessed, we will face inconsolable loss. Charlie Louth is Associate Professor of German and Fellow of Queen's College, at Oxford University, in England. His research interests include poetry from the 18th century onwards, especially Goethe, Hölderlin, Mörike, Rilke and Celan; romanticism; translation; and comparative literature. His books include: Rilke: The Life of the Work (Oxford: OUP, 2020); Hölderlin and the Dynamics of Translation (Oxford: Legenda, 1998); (editor, with Patrick McGuinness), Gravity and Grace: Essays for Roger Pearson (Oxford: Legenda, 2019); (editor, with Florian Strob), Nelly Sachs im Kontext — eine »Schwester Kafkas«? (Heidelberg: Winter, 2014), and other works. He's also translated Rilke's Letters to Young Poet & The Letter from the Young Worker (Penguin, 2011). Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email; Twitter @UliBaer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Mike Palmquist and Barbara Wallraff, "Joining the Conversation: A Guide and Handbook for Writers With 2020 APA Update" (Bedford Books, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 77:13

    Listen to this interview of Mike Palmquist, Professor of English (with a focus on rhetoric and composition) and also University Distinguished Teaching Scholar. We have a conversation. Mike Palmquist : "We tend to think, 'Oh, writing. Just learn how to put your sentences together. Learn how to develop a nice paragraph. Learn the rules of grammar.' And somehow that's supposed to transfer magically into another discipline. But in fact, the kinds of debate and discourse and discussion and reporting and inquiry that go on in a particular discipline are highly conditioned by the knowledge they share, by the things they think are important — by the conversations, in a sense, that are going on in that discipline. You really have to learn it. Otherwise, you'll just be writing about stuff but won't quite know how to connect it to what everybody else is researching and publishing on." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    68 Martin Puchner: Writing and Reading from Gilgamesh to Amazon

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 43:08

    Book Industry Month continues with a memory-lane voyage back to a beloved early RtB episode. This conversation with Martin Puchner about the very origins of writing struck us as perfect companion to Mark McGurl's wonderful insights (in RtB 67, published earlier this month) about the publishing industry's in 2021, or as Mark tells it, the era of "adult diaper baby love." Aside from being a fabulous conversation about Martin's wonderful history of book production through the ages (The Written World) this episode brings back happy memories of Elizabeth and John piling their guests into a cozy sound booth at Brandeis, the kind of place that's utterly taboo in Pandemic America.So travel with us back to 2019 for a close encounter with the epic of Gilgamesh. The three friends discuss the different stages of world writing--from the time of the scribes to the time of great teachers like Confucius, Socrates and Jesus Christ, who had a very complicated relationship to writing. In Recallable Books, Martin recommends the fan fiction website Wattpad; Elizabeth recommends "No Reservations: Narnia," in which Anthony Bourdain goes through the wardrobe. John feints at recommending Dennis Tenen's book on the writing within coding before recommending the Brautigan Library. Come for the discussion of writing, stay for the impressions of Gollum! Discussed in this episode: The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History and Civilization, Martin Puchner Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse, David Ferry Wattpad "No Reservations: Narnia," Edonohana Plain Text: The Poetics of Computation, David Tenen The Brautigan Library Episode transcript available here: Episode 6 Puchner 3.28.19 Elizabeth Ferry is Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. Email: John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Sanskrit Tools on the Web: A Discussion with Martin Gluckman (Part 2)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 55:08

    This interview continues the conversation with Martin Gluckman, Researcher at University of Capetown and Director at Sanskrit Research Institute. We discuss his Panini Research Tool, Sanskrit Writer, Text to Speech Sanskrit tool and research into the Indus Valley Script. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    John B. Kachuba, "Shapeshifters: A History" (Reaktion Books, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 44:43

    There is something about a shapeshifter—a person who can transform into an animal—that captures our imagination; that causes us to want to howl at the moon, or flit through the night like a bat. Werewolves, vampires, demons, and other weird creatures appeal to our animal nature, our “dark side,” our desire to break free of the bonds of society and proper behavior. Real or imaginary, shapeshifters lurk deep in our psyches and remain formidable cultural icons. The myths, magic, and meaning surrounding shapeshifters are brought vividly to life in John B. Kachuba's Shapeshifters: A History (Reaktion Books, 2019). Rituals in early cultures worldwide seemingly allowed shamans, sorcerers, witches, and wizards to transform at will into animals and back again. Today, there are millions of people who believe that shapeshifters walk among us and may even be world leaders. Featuring a fantastic and ghoulish array of examples from history, literature, film, TV, and computer games, Shapeshifters explores our secret desire to become something other than human. Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Stephen Cushman, "The Generals' Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today" (UNC Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 58:37

    In the decades following the American Civil War, several of the generals who had laid down their swords picked up their pens and published accounts of their service in the conflict. In The Generals' Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), Stephen Cushman analyzes a half-dozen of these works to discern the perspectives they provided on the era and the insights they offered about their authors. The publication of the service memoirs proliferated during the Gilded Age, thanks to the increases in literacy and the market for books that this created. Beginning in the 1870s several generals took advantage of the opportunity created by this emergence to recount for profit their time in uniform and justify the decisions they made. As Cushman details, several of these books, such as those of the Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston and Union commander William T. Sherman, contained contrasting views of similar events that, when read together, reflect the process of postwar reconciliation between the former foes. For others, such as Richard Taylor and George McClellan, their accounts served as an opportunity to present themselves as wagers of a more gentlemanly and “humane” war than that subsequently conducted by Sherman and Ulysses Grant. Grant's own memoir proved the greatest successes of the genre, a testament both to his wartime stature and the skills as a writer he developed over the course of his life. The success of Grant's posthumously published book was such that it overshadowed the subsequent release of both McClellan's and Philip Sheridan's memoirs, both of which proved a disappointment for their publisher, Charles L. Webster and Company. Cushman shows how the firm's founder, Mark Twain, exerted an outsized influence on the genre, not only as a publisher but more famously as the editor of Grant's memoirs and as a writer about the war in his own right. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Jessica Romney, "Lyric Poetry and Social Identity in Archaic Greece" (U Michigan Press, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 65:16

    Jessica Romney's book Lyric Poetry and Social Identity in Archaic Greece (U Michigan Press, 2020) examines how Greek men presented themselves and their social groups to one another. The author examines identity rhetoric in sympotic lyric: how Greek poets constructed images of self for their groups, focusing in turn on the construction of identity in martial-themed poetry, the protection of group identities in the face of political exile, and the negotiation between individual and group as seen in political lyric. By conducting a close reading of six poems and then a broad survey of martial lyric, exile poetry, political lyric, and sympotic lyric as a whole, Romney demonstrates that sympotic lyric focuses on the same basic behaviors and values to construct social identities regardless of the content or subgenre of the poems in question. The volume also argues that the performance of identity depends on the context as well as the material of performance. Furthermore, the book demonstrates that sympotic lyric overwhelmingly prefers to use identity rhetoric that insists on the inherent sameness of group members. All non-English text and quotes are translated, with the original languages given alongside the translation or in the endnotes. Reyes Bertolin is a professor of Classics at the University of Calgary. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Yair Wallach, "A City in Fragments: Urban Texts in Modern Jerusalem" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 86:25

    In the mid-nineteenth century, Jerusalem was rich with urban texts inscribed in marble, gold, and cloth, investing holy sites with divine meaning. Ottoman modernization and British colonial rule transformed the city; new texts became a key means to organize society and subjectivity. Stone inscriptions, pilgrims' graffiti, and sacred banners gave way to street markers, shop signs, identity papers, and visiting cards that each sought to define and categorize urban space and people. A City in Fragments: Urban Texts in Modern Jerusalem (Stanford UP, 2020) tells the modern history of a city overwhelmed by its religious and symbolic significance. Yair Wallach walked the streets of Jerusalem to consider the graffiti, logos, inscriptions, official signs, and ephemera that transformed the city over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As these urban texts became a tool in the service of capitalism, nationalism, and colonialism, the affinities of Arabic and Hebrew were forgotten and these sister-languages found themselves locked in a bitter war. Looking at the writing of—and literally on—Jerusalem, Wallach offers a creative and expansive history of the city, a fresh take on modern urban texts, and a new reading of the Israel/Palestine conflict through its material culture. Avery Weinman is a PhD student in History at the University of California, Los Angeles. She researches Jewish history in the modern Middle East and North Africa, with emphasis on Sephardi and Mizrahi radicals in British Mandatory Palestine. She can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Adam Lehrer, "Communions" (Hyperidean Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2021 59:10

    [This episode contains explicit content.] Artists from Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse command fascination not only for their work but also for their drug addictions and the manner of their death. Communions is an attempt to understand the role that opiates play in the artistic lives of those who are gripped by addiction. Channeling hallucinated versions of dead artists and junkies, these fragments access the uncanny allure of shared experience. Elements of speculative fiction, criticism and encrypted auto-biography merge to form a disconcerting portrait of the artist as addict. Neither denunciation nor valorization, Communions probes the haunting singularity of opiate addiction and its ineradicable influence on art and culture. Adam Lehrer speaks to Pierre d'Alancaisez about addiction and class, our fetish for the artist flirting with death, communing with his heroes, his experience of the opioid crisis, and the role for art criticism in unraveling these issues. Lehrer reads a chapter on Darby Crash from Communions. Adam Lehrer is a writer and art critic, but he's also a former heroin addict himself. He blogs at Safety Propaganda. A Statement On My Severed Relationship With The Quietus Art's Moral Fetish Darby Crash Frisk, film based on a novel by Dennis Cooper Dash Snow Beautiful Boy, film based on memoirs by David and Nic Sheff Zoë Tamerlis Lund Pierre d'Alancaisez is a contemporary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Sanskrit Tools on the Web: A Discussion with Martin Gluckman (Part 1)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2021 43:33

    This interview features amazing open-access digital Sanskrit projects spearheaded by Martin Gluckman, Researcher at University of Capetown and Director at Sanskrit Research Institute. We discuss Martin's Sanskrit and computer science backgrounds as well as the on-line Sanskrit dictionary.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Michele Kennerly, "Editorial Bodies: Perfection and Rejection in Ancient Rhetoric and Poetics" (U South Carolina Press, 2018)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 61:16

    Though typically considered oral cultures, ancient Greece and Rome also boasted textual cultures, enabled by efforts to perfect, publish, and preserve both new and old writing. In Editorial Bodies: Perfection and Rejection in Ancient Rhetoric and Poetics (University of South Carolina Press, 2018) Michele Kennerly argues that such efforts were commonly articulated through the extended metaphor of the body. They were also supported by people on whom writers relied for various kinds of assistance and necessitated by lively debates about what sort of words should be put out and remain in public.  Spanning ancient Athenian, Alexandrian, and Roman textual cultures, Kennerly shows that orators and poets attributed public value to their seemingly inward-turning compositional labors. After establishing certain key terms of writing and editing from classical Athens through late republican Rome, Kennerly focuses on works from specific orators and poets writing in Latin in the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.: Cicero, Horace, Ovid, Quintilian, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger. The result is a rich and original history of rhetoric that reveals the emergence and endurance of vocabularies, habits, and preferences that sustained ancient textual cultures. This major contribution to rhetorical studies unsettles longstanding assumptions about rhetoric and poetics of this era by means of generative readings of both well-known and understudied texts. Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Simon O'Meara, "The Ka'ba Orientations: Readings in Islam's Ancient House" (Edinburgh UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 62:14

    The Kaʿba is the famous cuboid structure at the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca. In his book The Kaʿba Orientations: Readings in Islam's Ancient House (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), Simon O'Meara (SOAS) looks at the way Muslims from the beginnings of Islam to the 18th century engaged with the existence of such a structure, as a location, as an architectural object, as a direction, as a focus of devotion and prayer. He studies both material and visual as well as literary engagements through which Muslims pilgrims and scholars interpreted their own place in the world in relation to a location held to be the world's axis, and the consequences from a religious and psychological perspective of the often fraught and violent history of the built structure itself, its uses, and the emotional connection that millions of Muslims continue to feel towards it to this day. Miguel Monteiro is a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. Twitter @anphph Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    67 Everything and Less: Mark McGurl on Books in the Age of Amazon

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 44:17

    What do you make of Amazon: The new Sears Roebuck? A terrifying monopoly threat? Satisfaction (a paperback in your mailbox, a Kindle edition on your tablet) just a click away? John and Elizabeth speak with Stanford English prof Mark McGurl, whose previous books include the pathbreaking The Program Era. Mark faces that question squarely in his terrific new book, Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon: if you want to know even more about it, check out the NY Times review by RTB's own book-history maven, star of RTB 46, Leah Price. Mark ponders when service became an idiom for the relationship between writer and reader and how strong a claim he is willing to make about Amazon's impact on the modern novel (pretty strong!). Finally, he tackles the key question: is the genre of "Adult Diaper Baby Love" (a breakout hit in Kindle sales; google it at your peril!) the perfect metaphor for Amazon's effort to soothe, pacify and succor its infantilized consumer-base? Mentioned in the episode: Laura Miller, Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption Public libraries going trashy or classy: John wrote an article about this topic, praising a compelling database, "What Middletown Read" Recallable Books: Walter Tevis, Mockingbird (1980) Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1853) Anthony Trollope, The Warden (1855) Transcript available here RTB 67 Transcript (or Visit the Recall this Book Transcript page) Upcoming: Mark's discussion of the history of books and book publishing inspired next week's blog post: tune in next Thursday to find out more! It also sent us back to the archives for a golden RTB oldie starring Martin Puchner. That will appear, freshly rewrapped for the occasion, just before Thanksgiving. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Carlos M. Piocos, "Affect, Narratives and Politics of Southeast Asian Migration" (Routledge, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 65:16

    In Affect, Narratives and Politics of Southeast Asian Migration (Routledge, 2021), Carlos M. Piocos explores the politics of gendered labor migration in Southeast Asia through the stories and perspectives of Indonesian and Filipina women presented in films, fiction, and performance to show how the emotionality of these texts contribute to the emergence and vitality of women's social movements in Southeast Asia. By placing literary and filmic narratives of Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong and Singapore within existing conversations concerning migration policies, he offers an innovative approach towards examining contemporary issues of Asian migration. Furthermore, through rich ethnographic accounts, the book unpacks themes of belonging and displacement, shame and desire, victimhood and resistance, sacrifice, and grief to show that the stories of Filipina and Indonesian migrant women don't just depict their everyday lives and practices but also reveal how they mediate and make sense of the fraught politics of gendered labor diaspora and globalization. Contributing to the "affective turn" of feminist and transnational scholarship, the book draws insight from the importance and centrality of affect, emotions, and feelings in shaping discourses on women's subjectivity, labor, and mobility. In addition, the book demonstrates the issues of vulnerability and agency inherent in debates on social exclusion, human rights, development, and nation-building in Southeast Asia. Offering an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to analyses of Asian migration, this book will be of interest to academics in the fields of Asian Studies, literary and cultural studies, film studies, gender and women's studies, and migration studies. Carlos M. Piocos III is a professor in the Literature Department at De La Salle University. He has published widely on gender and transnationalism in international peer-reviewed journals and his monograph, Narratives, Affect and Politics of Southeast Asian Migration, was published in 2021. Clara Iwasaki is an assistant professor in the East Asian Studies department at the University of Alberta. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Andrea Gondos, "Kabbalah in Print: The Study and Popularization of Jewish Mysticism in Early Modernity" (SUNY Press, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 50:51

    Long before Kabbalah books lined multiple books shelves in bookstores, Jewish educators in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thought of copious ways of making Kabbalah more accessible for readers who were not acquainted with this lore. The book, Kabbalah in Print: The Study and Popularization of Jewish Mysticism in Early Modernity (SUNY Press, 2020), introduces the reader to an early seventeenth-century rabbi, Yissachar Baer, who lived and worked in Prague. Each of his four works seeks to illuminate a different facet of the Zohar (Book of Splendour), the medieval classic of kabbalistic speculation. His goal was to simplify the language of the Zohar as well as to assemble its halakhic teachings so Jews could enrich their daily observance of the commandments with the corresponding mystical explanation. He also wrote a short introduction to the study of Kabbalah and organized brief excerpts of the Zohar into an anthology. His works were important mediators of the Zohar and Kabbalah to Jewish and Christian readers alike. Andrea Gondos is an Emmy Noether post-doctoral fellow at Freie Universität (Berlin) where her current research centers on women's health and healing as discussed in early modern Jewish recipe books of magic and practical Kabbalah Her next book project will examine how the female body and its reproductive powers constituted a unique epistemological space for ba'alei shem (Jewish wonder-working healers) where knowledge concerning creation and regeneration could be accessed and controlled. Prior to joining the Emmy Noether research group, she held post-doctoral positions at Tel Aviv University and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She was also a fellow at the Katz Centre of Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He can be reached at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Machiko Ōgimachi, "In the Shelter of the Pine: A Memoir of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu and Tokugawa Japan" (Columbia UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 33:49

    In the early eighteenth century, the noblewoman Ōgimachi Machiko composed a memoir of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, the powerful samurai for whom she had served as a concubine for twenty years. Machiko assisted Yoshiyasu in his ascent to the rank of chief adjutant to the Tokugawa shogun. She kept him in good graces with the imperial court, enabled him to study poetry with aristocratic teachers and have his compositions read by the retired emperor, and gave birth to two of his sons. Writing after Yoshiyasu's retirement, she recalled it all—from the glittering formal visits of the shogun and his entourage to the passage of the seasons as seen from her apartments in the Yanagisawa mansion. In the Shelter of the Pine is the most significant work of literature by a woman of Japan's early modern era. Featuring Machiko's keen eye for detail, strong narrative voice, and polished prose studded with allusions to Chinese and Japanese classics, this memoir sheds light on everything from the social world of the Tokugawa elite to the role of literature in women's lives. Machiko modeled her story on The Tale of Genji, illustrating how the eleventh-century classic continued to inspire its female readers and provide them with the means to make sense of their experiences. Elegant, poetic, and revealing, In the Shelter of the Pine is a vivid portrait of a distant world and a vital addition to the canon of Japanese literature available in English. Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Aubrey L. Glazer, "Mystical Vertigo: Contemporary Kabbalistic Hebrew Poetry Dancing Over the Divide" (Academic Studies Press, 2013)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 59:08

    Aubrey L. Glazer's Mystical Vertigo: Contemporary Kabbalistic Hebrew Poetry Dancing Over the Divide (Academic Studies Press, 2013) immerses readers in the experience of the contemporary kabbalistic Hebrew poet, serving as a gateway into the poet's quest for mystical union known as devekut. This journey oscillates across subtle degrees of devekut―causing an entranced experience for the Hebrew poet, who is reaching but not reaching, hovering but not hovering, touching but not touching in a state of mystical vertigo. What makes this journey so remarkable is how deeply nestled it is within the hybrid cultural networks of Israel, crossing over boundaries of haredi, secular, national-religious, and agnostic beliefs among others. This volume makes a unique contribution to understanding and experiencing the mystical renaissance in Israel, through its multi-disciplinary focus on Hebrew poetry and its philosophical hermeneutics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Habiba Ibrahim, "Black Age: Oceanic Lifespans and the Time of Black Life" (NYU Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 70:32

    Although more than fifty years apart, the murders of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin share a commonality: Black children are not seen as children. Time and time again, excuses for police brutality and aggression—particularly against Black children— concern the victim “appearing” as a threat. But why and how is the perceived “appearance” of Black persons so completely separated from common perceptions of age and time? Black Age: Oceanic Lifespans and the Time of Black Life (NYU Press, 2021) posits age, life stages, and lifespans as a central lens through which to view Blackness, particularly with regard to the history of transatlantic slavery. Focusing on Black literary culture of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Habiba Ibrahim examines how the history of transatlantic slavery and the constitution of modern Blackness has been reimagined through the embodiment of age. She argues that Black age—through nearly four centuries of subjugation— has become contingent, malleable, and suited for the needs of enslavement. As a result, rather than the number of years lived or a developmental life stage, Black age came to signify exchange value, historical under-development, timelessness, and other fantasies borne out of Black exclusion from the human. Ibrahim asks: What constitutes a normative timeline of maturation for Black girls when “all the women”—all the canonically feminized adults—“are white”? How does a “slave” become a “man” when adulthood is foreclosed to Black subjects of any gender? Black Age tracks the struggle between the abuses of Black exclusion from Western humanism and the reclamation of non-normative Black life, arguing that, if some of us are brave, it is because we dare to live lives considered incomprehensible within a schema of “human time.” Brittney Edmonds is an Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison. I specialize in 20th and 21st century African American Literature and Culture with a special interest in Black Humor Studies. Read more about my work at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Hsuan L. Hsu, "The Smell of Risk: Environmental Disparities and Olfactory Aesthetics" (NYU Press, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 51:58

    Our sense of smell is a uniquely visceral—and personal—form of experience. As Hsuan L. Hsu points out, smell has long been spurned by Western aesthetics as a lesser sense for its qualities of subjectivity, volatility, and materiality. But it is these very qualities that make olfaction a vital tool for sensing and staging environmental risk and inequality. Unlike the other senses, smell extends across space and reaches into our bodies. Hsu traces how writers, artists, and activists have deployed these embodied, biochemical qualities of smell in their efforts to critique and reshape modernity's olfactory disparities.  Hsuan L. Hsu's The Smell of Risk: Environmental Disparities and Olfactory Aesthetics (NYU Press, 2020) outlines the many ways that our differentiated atmospheres unevenly distribute environmental risk. Reading everything from nineteenth-century detective fiction and naturalist novels to contemporary performance art and memoir, Hsu takes up modernity's differentiated atmospheres as a subject worth sniffing out. From the industrial revolution to current-day environmental crises, Hsu uses ecocriticism, geography, and critical race studies to, for example, explore Latinx communities exposed to freeway exhaust and pesticides, Asian diasporic artists' response to racialized discourse about Asiatic odors, and the devastation settler colonialism has reaped on Indigenous smellscapes. In each instance, Hsu demonstrates the violence that air maintenance, control, and conditioning enacts on the poor and the marginalized. From nineteenth-century miasma theory theory to the synthetic chemicals that pervade twenty-first century air, Hsu takes smell at face value to offer an evocative retelling of urbanization, public health, and environmental violence. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Susan Mokhberi, "The Persian Mirror: French Reflections of the Safavid Empire in Early Modern France" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 60:07

    When I/we think about the early modern relationship between France and Persia, Montesquieu's 1721 Lettres persanes is a text that comes to mind immediately. Susan Mokhberi's The Persian Mirror: Reflections of the Safavid Empire in Early Modern France (Oxford UP, 2019) is a kind of a pre-history of Montesquieu's work that is, in different ways, more of a commentary on France and the French than Persia or Persians during this period. The Persian Mirror's several chapters examine a range of cultural and political texts, including letters, literature, travel writing, and material artifacts from the period, excavating the French relationship to Persia and Persian culture as both reflective and distorting. Distinct from other sites in the region, Persia fascinated the French who were also hopeful that a political alliance with the Safavid Empire might work to counter the powerful Ottoman Empire. French observers in the period lingered on different forms of affinity between France and Persia while also tracking and commenting on the cultural divide that was evident in diplomatic and other exchanges between the two powers. The book brings together analysis of the French cultural imagination of Persia with a careful reading of real-life encounters such as the visit to France by the Persian ambassador Mohamed Beg in 1715. In addition to the perceptions of a common ground between cultures and political regimes, Franco-Persian relations also included misunderstanding and conflict. Concerns about the resemblance between France and Persia morphed and grew as political critiques of despotism, political power, decadence, and inequality emerged and proliferated in the period. After the fall of the Safavid Empire, France's anxious attention focused with increasing intensity on the Ottoman Empire into the later eighteenth century. Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email ( Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Koral Dasgupta, "Kunti: The Sati Series II" (Pan Macmillan India, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 54:46

    Kunti, a rare matriarch in the Mahabharata and one of the revered Pancha Satis, holds an unforgettable position in the Indian literary imagination. Yet, little is known about the fateful events that shaped her early life. Taking on the intricate task, Koral Dasgupta unravels the lesser-known strands of Kunti's story: through a childhood of scholarly pursuits to unwanted motherhood at adolescence, a detached marriage and her ambitious love for the king of the devas. After the remarkable success of Ahalya, the first book in the Sati series, Kunti: The Sati Series II (Pan Macmillan India, 2021) presents a brilliant and tender retelling of a story at the heart of our culture and mythology. * In the Sati series, Koral Dasgupta explores the lives of the Pancha Kanyas from Indian mythology and reinvents them in the modern context with a feminist consciousness. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Tim Hannigan, "The Travel Writing Tribe" (Hurst Publishing, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 39:07

    As most of us are stuck at home, whether due to lockdowns or border closures, some of us have returned to the idea of travel writing: nonfiction that charts someone's journey to a different land, a different people, and a different culture. Once a mainstay of bookstores in the eighties, travel writing has fallen behind a bit, both commercially and academically, as scholars critique some of the assumptions and perspectives that drove much of that writing. Tim Hannigan, author of The Travel Writing Tribe: Journeys in Search of a Genre (Hurst, 2021), tackles these questions head-on. In a series of interviews with some of the most famous and illustrious travel writers over the past few decades, Tim digs into these debates and hears--from the writers themselves--what drove them to write about what they saw and experienced. In this interview, Tim and I talk about what it means to be a travel writer, and why he decided to interview so many of the most prominent travel writers around today. We talk about some of the debates that have emerged on the subject, and what travel writing means in the age of COVID. Tim Hannigan is a writer and academic, and the author of several narrative history books, including A Brief History of Indonesia and the award-winning Raffles and the British Invasion of Java. He holds a PhD from the University of Leicester. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Travel Writing Tribe. Follow on Facebook or on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Chinmay Murali and Sathyaraj Venkatesan, "Infertility Comics and Graphic Medicine" (Routledge, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 58:07

    Infertility Comics and Graphic Medicine (Routledge, 2021) examines women's graphic memoirs on infertility, foregrounding the complex interrelationship between women's life writing, infertility studies, and graphic medicine. Through a scholarly examination of the artists' use of visual-verbal codes of the comics medium in narrating their physical ordeals and affective challenges occasioned by infertility, the book seeks to foreground the intricacies of gender identity, embodiment, subjectivity, and illness experience. Providing long-overdue scholarly attention on the perspectives of autobiographical and comics studies, the authors examine the gendered nature of the infertility experience and the notion of motherhood as an ideological force which interpolates socio-cultural discourses, accentuating the potential of graphic medicine as a creative space for the infertile women to voice their hitherto silenced perspectives on childlessness with force and urgency. This interdisciplinary volume will be of interest to scholars and students in comics studies, the health humanities, literature, and women's and gender studies, and will also be suitable for readers in visual studies and narrative medicine. Victoria Oana Lupașcu is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies at University of Montréal. Her areas of interest include medical humanities, visual art, 20th and 21st Chinese, Brazilian and Romanian literature and Global South studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Silvia Marina Arrom, "La Güera Rodrígue: The Life and Legends of a Mexican Independence Heroine" (U California Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 30:49

    In La Guera Rodriguez: The Life and Legends of a Mexican Independence Heroine (U California Press, 2021), Silvia Marina Arrom traces the legends of María Ignacia Rodríguez de Velasco y Osorio Barba (1778–1850), known by the nickname "La Güera Rodríguez." Seeking to disentangle the woman from the myth, Arrom uses a wide array of primary sources from the period to piece together an intimate portrait of this remarkable woman, followed by a review of her evolving representation in Mexican arts and letters that shows how the legends became ever more fanciful after her death. How much of the story is rooted in fact, and how much is fiction sculpted to fit the cultural sensibilities of a given moment in time? This is an indispensable resource for those searching to understand late-colonial Mexico, the role of women in the independence movement, and the use of historic figures in crafting national narratives. Rachel Grace Newman is Lecturer in the History of the Global South at Smith College. She has a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, and she writes about elite migration, education, transnationalism, and youth in twentieth-century Mexico. She is on Twitter (@rachelgnew). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Roy Schwartz, "Is Superman Circumcised?: The Complete Jewish History of the World's Greatest Hero" (McFarland, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 53:23

    ​Introduced in June 1938, the Man of Steel was created by two Jewish teens, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the sons of immigrants from Eastern Europe. They based their hero's origin story on Moses, his strength on Samson, his mission on the golem and his nebbish secret identity on themselves. They made him a refugee fleeing catastrophe on the eve of World War II and sent him to tear Nazi tanks apart nearly two years before the US joined the war. ​In following decades Superman's mostly Jewish writers, artists and editors continued to borrow Jewish motifs for their stories, basing Krypton's past on Genesis and Exodus, its civilization on Jewish culture, the trial of Lex Luthor on Adolf Eichmann's and a holiday celebrating Superman on Passover. Exploring these underlying themes of a beloved modern mythology, Is Superman Circumcised?: The Complete Jewish History of the World's Greatest Hero (McFarland, 2021) is a fascinating and entertaining journey through comic book lore, American history and Jewish tradition, sure to give readers a newfound appreciation for the Mensch of Steel! Amber Nickell is Associate Professor of History at Fort Hays State University, Editor at H-Ukraine, and Host at NBN Jewish Studies and Eastern Europe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Rebecca Copeland and Linda C. Ehrlich, "Yamamba: In Search of the Japanese Mountain Witch" (Stone Bridge, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 58:33

    Alluring, nurturing, dangerous, and vulnerable, the yamamba, or Japanese mountain witch, has intrigued audiences for centuries. What is it about the fusion of mountains with the solitary old woman that produces such an enigmatic figure? And why does she still call to us in this modern, scientific era? Co-editors Rebecca Copeland and Linda C. Ehrlich first met the yamamba in the powerful short story “The Smile of the Mountain Witch” by acclaimed woman writer Ōba Minako. The story revealed the compelling way creative women can take charge of misogynistic tropes, invert them, and use them to tell new stories of female empowerment.  Yamamba: In Search of the Japanese Mountain Witch (Stone Bridge Press, 2021) represents the creative and surprising ways artists and scholars from North America and Japan have encountered the yamamba. Matthew Hayes is the Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies Librarian at Duke University and a researcher in the area of early modern Japanese Buddhism. You can find him on Twitter at @_matthewhayes_. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Robert McCrum, "Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption" (Simon and Schuster, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 58:29

    When inspiration struck Robert McCrum to write a book about the Bard, it came while watching one of the playwright's plays in Central Park, New York. Here, McCrum realized that we, today, are undoubtedly living in Shakespearean times. Joe Krulder, a British Historian, interviews Robert about his latest book, Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption (Pegasus Books, 2021) Current events such as the Covid-19 Pandemic, the election and then four years of Donald Trump's presidency, and this twenty-first-century obsession with conspiracy theories, mirror London's many plagues from 1592 to 1603, Shakespeare's Caesar and Richard III, and of course our post-modern social media outlets are simply riddled with conspiracies. Shakespearean, indeed. What Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption accomplishes is to place the reader in William Shakespeare's London. There is danger at Bishops Gate, the neighborhood the Bard chose to reside in; danger appeared both from below and above. Sword fights, punch ups, and stabbings demarcate a rough “from below” existence while political intrigues from the execution of the Earl of Essex to the Gun Powder Plot of 1605 imperilled all of London's theatre productions if not William Shakespeare himself. Robert McCrum is the author of dozens of works, fiction as well as non-fiction, plus he's an Emmy Award-winning documentarian. A long-time editor for Faber and Faber and The Observer, McCrum career continues on despite a stroke. His recovery gave him time to read and Shakespeare, once again, filled his gaze. Joe Krulder is the author of The Execution of Admiral John Byng as a Microhistory of Eighteenth-Century Britain (Routledge 2021) teaching college History in Northern California. Joe earned his doctorate at the University of Bristol in West England. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Eileen Hunt Botting, "Portraits of Wollstonecraft" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 70:16

    Eileen Hunt Botting is a Professor political science at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Botting is a widely published and cited scholar on the thought of Mary Wollstonecraft, the eighteenth-century author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. As editor of a two-volume collection, Portraits of Wollstonecraft (Bloomsbury Academic,2021), she offers primary sources of criticism, literature and representation in portraiture, from the early international reception to Wollstonecraft's present global influence. Through well curated selections, we see Wollstonecraft in new light. From the iconic portrait painted by John Opie in 1797, to Sarah A. Underwood's essay Heroines of Free Thought in 1876, to references by modern feminists including Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and the artist Judy Chicago, the reader discovers the many implications of Wollstonecraft's ideas. This two-volume collection is sure to be of interest to anyone curious about Wollstonecraft's contribution to political philosophy, literature, and feminist thought. Lilian Calles Barger is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her most recent book is entitled The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her current writing project is on the intellectual history of women and the origins of feminism seen through the emblematic life and work of Simone de Beauvoir. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Nerina Rustomji, "The Beauty of the Houri: Heavenly Virgins and Feminine Ideals" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 50:31

    In her scintillating new book, The Beauty of the Houri: Heavenly Virgins, Feminine Ideals (Oxford UP, 2021), Nerina Rustomji presents a fascinating and multilayered intellectual and cultural history of the category of the “Houri” and the multiple ideological projects in which it has been inserted over time and space. Nimbly moving between a vast range of discursive theaters including Western Islamophobic representations of the Houri in the post 9/11 context, early modern and modern French and English Literature, premodern Muslim intellectual traditions, and popular preachers on the internet, Rustomji shows the complexity of this category and its unavailability for a canonical definition. The Beauty of the Houri is intellectual history at its best that combines philological rigor with astute theoretical reflection. And all this Rustomji accomplishes in prose the delightfulness of which competes fiercely with its lucidity. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Esther De Dauw, "Hot Pants and Spandex Suits: Gender Representation in American Superhero Comic" (Rutgers UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 59:09

    Superman, Batman, Captain America, and Iron Man are names that are often connected to the expansive superhero genre, including the multi-billion-dollar film and television franchises. But these characters are older and have been woven into American popular culture since their inception in the early days of comic books. The history of these comic book heroes are histories that include bulging muscles, flashy fight scenes, four-color panels, and heroic rescues of damsels in distress. Esther De Dauw's new book, Hot Pants and Spandex Suits: Gender Representation in American Superhero Comic (Rutgers UP, 2021),analyzes these characters with a critical lens to explore what exactly these figures teach the readers and the public about identity, embodiment, and sexuality. De Dauw, a comics scholar, focuses her research on the intersectionality of race and gender in comic books. Hot Pants and Spandex Suits takes the audience through the 80-year evolution of comic books to discuss the changes in identity and culture, and explore what these heroes say about and to the American people. As an expert in Comic Studies and Cultural Studies, De Dauw uses theories of structural power relations to explain the disenfranchisement of women, LGBTQIA+, and the Black community in comics. As she notes, superheroes are often metaphors for the concerns of the dominant culture, and are informed by the dominant gender ideology and the American cultural landscape. Hot Pants and Spandex Suits unpacks superhero actions to examine who these heroes are serving, how, and what this has to say about American culture and identity. These questions frame the discussion throughout the book as De Dauw traces the changing perceptions of identity, cultural, and historical shifts through comic books and their many different heroes. A significant avenue of analysis focuses on the fragility of white masculinity, and how the superheroes essentially became an antidote to the cultural sense that white men were “losing” in American society. With a fascinating tour of the history of comic books, De Dauw welcomes both the academic community and comic-book lovers to venture through this analysis to better understand the role of superheroes within our culture and our politics. Shaina Boldt assisted with this podcast. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Peter Toohey, "Hold On: The Life, Science, and Art of Waiting" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 49:10

    What do you do when you're not asleep and when you're not eating? You're most likely waiting--to finish work, to get home, or maybe even to be seen by your doctor. Hold On is less about how to manage all that staying where one is until a particular time or event (OED) than it is about describing how we experience waiting. Waiting can embrace things like hesitation and curiosity, dithering and procrastination, hunting and being hunted, fearing and being feared, dread and illness, courting and parenting, anticipation and excitement, curiosity, listening to and even performing music, being religious, being happy or unhappy, being bored and being boring. They're all explored here. Waiting is also characterized by brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. They can radically alter the way we register the passing of time. Waiting is also the experience that may characterize most interpersonal relations--mismanage it at your own risk. Hold On: The Life, Science, and Art of Waiting (Oxford UP, 2020) contains advice on how to cope with waiting-how to live better-but its main aim is to show how important the experience of waiting is, in popular and highbrow culture, and, sometimes, in history. Detouring into psychology, neurology, ethology, philosophy, film, literature, and especially art, Peter Toohey's illuminates in unexpected ways one of the most common of human experiences. After reading his book, you'll never wait the same way again. Reyes Bertolin is a professor of Classics at the University of Calgary. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    José Vergara, "All Future Plunges to the Past: James Joyce in Russian Literature" (Cornell UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 58:45

    All Future Plunges to the Past: James Joyce in Russian Literature (Cornell UP, 2021) explores how Russian writers from the mid-1920s on have read and responded to Joyce's work. Through contextually rich close readings, José Vergara uncovers the many roles Joyce has occupied in Russia over the last century, demonstrating how the writers Yury Olesha, Vladimir Nabokov, Andrei Bitov, Sasha Sokolov, and Mikhail Shishkin draw from Joyce's texts, particularly Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, to address the volatile questions of lineages in their respective Soviet, émigré, and post-Soviet contexts. Interviews with contemporary Russian writers, critics, and readers of Joyce extend the conversation to the present day, showing how the debates regarding the Irish writer's place in the Russian pantheon are no less settled one hundred years after Ulysses. The creative reworkings, or translations, of Joycean themes, ideas, characters, plots, and styles made by the five writers Vergara examines speak to shifting cultural norms, understandings of intertextuality, and the polarity between Russia and the West. Vergara illuminates how Russian writers have used Joyce's ideas as a critical lens to shape, prod, and constantly redefine their own place in literary history. All Future Plunges to the Past offers one overarching approach to the general narrative of Joyce's reception in Russian literature. While each of the writers examined responded to Joyce in an individual manner, the sum of their methods reveals common concerns. This subject raises the issue of cultural values and, more importantly, how they changed throughout the twentieth century in the Soviet Union, Russian emigration, and the post-Soviet Russian environment. José Vergara is Assistant Professor of Russian at Bryn Mawr College.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Roger K. Thomas, "Counting Dreams: The Life and Writings of the Loyalist Nun Nomura Bōtō" (Cornell UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 56:52

    Counting Dreams: The Life and Writings of the Loyalist Nun Nomura Bōtō (Cornell UP, 2021) tells the story of Nomura Bōtō, a Buddhist nun, writer, poet, and activist who joined the movement to oppose the Tokugawa Shogunate and restore imperial rule. Banished for her political activities, Bōtō was imprisoned on a remote island until her comrades rescued her in a dramatic jailbreak, spiriting her away under gunfire. Roger K. Thomas examines Bōtō's life, writing, and legacy, and provides annotated translations of two of her literary diaries, shedding light on life and society in Japan's tumultuous bakumatsu period and challenging preconceptions about women's roles in the era. Thomas interweaves analysis of Bōtō's poetry and diaries with the history of her life and activism, examining their interrelationship and revealing how she brought two worlds—the poetic and the political—together. Counting Dreams illustrates Bōtō's significant role in the loyalist movement, depicting the adventurous life of a complex woman in Japan on the cusp of the Meiji Restoration. Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Gregory Vargo, "Chartist Drama" (Manchester UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 52:15

    Greg Vargo's Chartist Drama (Manchester UP, 2021) opens a window into a fascinating aspect of working-class radical drama. This book includes scripts of four dramas performed or published by members of the Chartist movement, as well as an informative introduction situating these plays in their historical context. Ranging from history plays to political drama to Gothic melodrama, these plays show that Chartism was much more than a political movement. It included an entire cultural world, of which drama was a central part.  Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    David Kunzle, "Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope, 1847-1870" (UP of Mississippi, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 76:48

    Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope, 1847-1870 (UP of Mississippi, 2021) enters deep into an era of comic history that has been entirely neglected. This buried cache of mid-Victorian graphic humor is marvelously rich in pictorial narratives of all kinds. Author David Kunzle calls this period a "rebirth" because of the preceding long hiatus in use of the new genre, since the Great Age of Caricature (c.1780-c.1820) when the comic strip was practiced as a sideline. Suddenly in 1847, a new, post-Töpffer comic strip sparks to life in Britain, mostly in periodicals, and especially in Punch, where all the best artists of the period participated, if only sporadically: Richard Doyle, John Tenniel, John Leech, Charles Keene, and George Du Maurier. Until now, this aspect of the extensive oeuvre of the well-known masters of the new journal cartoon in Punch has been almost completely ignored. Exceptionally, George Cruikshank revived just once in The Bottle, independently, the whole serious, contrasting Hogarthian picture story. Numerous comic strips and picture stories appeared in periodicals other than Punch by artists who were likewise largely ignored. Like the Punch luminaries, they adopt in semirealistic style sociopolitical subject matter easily accessible to their (lower-)middle-class readership. The topics covered in and out of Punch by these strips and graphic novels range from French enemies King Louis-Philippe and Emperor Napoleon III to farcical treatment of major historical events: the Bayeux tapestry (1848), the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Artists explore a great variety of social types, occupations, and situations such as the emigrant, the tourist, fox hunting and Indian big game hunting, dueling, the forlorn lover, the student, the artist, the toothache, the burglar, the paramilitary volunteer, Darwinian animal metamorphoses, and even nightmares. In Rebirth of the English Comic Strip, Kunzle analyzes these much-neglected works down to the precocious modernist and absurdist scribbles of Marie Duval, Europe's first female professional cartoonist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Elizabeth Carolyn Miller, "Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion" (Princeton UP, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 47:47

    The 1830s to the 1930s saw the rise of large-scale industrial mining in the British imperial world. Elizabeth Carolyn Miller examines how literature of this era reckoned with a new vision of civilization where humans are dependent on finite, nonrenewable stores of earthly resources, and traces how the threatening horizon of resource exhaustion worked its way into narrative form. Britain was the first nation to transition to industry based on fossil fuels, which put its novelists and writers in the remarkable position of mediating the emergence of extraction-based life. Miller looks at works like Hard Times, The Mill on the Floss, and Sons and Lovers, showing how the provincial realist novel's longstanding reliance on marriage and inheritance plots transforms against the backdrop of exhaustion to withhold the promise of reproductive futurity. She explores how adventure stories like Treasure Island and Heart of Darkness reorient fictional space toward the resource frontier. And she shows how utopian and fantasy works like "Sultana's Dream," The Time Machine, and The Hobbit offer imaginative ways of envisioning energy beyond extractivism. Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion (Princeton UP, 2021) reveals how an era marked by violent mineral resource rushes gave rise to literary forms and genres that extend extractivism as a mode of environmental understanding. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, "Elusive Lives: Gender, Autobiography, and the Self in Muslim South Asia" (Stanford UP, 2018)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 56:58

    Muslim South Asia is widely characterized as a culture that idealizes female anonymity: women's bodies are veiled and their voices silenced. Challenging these perceptions, Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, University of Sheffield, highlights an elusive strand of autobiographical writing dating back several centuries that offers a new lens through which to study notions of selfhood. In Elusive Lives: Gender, Autobiography, and the Self in Muslim South Asia (Stanford University Press, 2018), she locates the voices of Muslim women who rejected taboos against women speaking out, by telling their life stories in written autobiography.  To chart patterns across time and space, materials dated from the sixteenth century to the present are drawn from across South Asia – including present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Lambert-Hurley uses many rare autobiographical texts in a wide array of languages to elaborate a theoretical model for gender, autobiography, and the self beyond the usual Euro-American frame. In doing so, she works toward a new, globalized history of the field. Ultimately, Elusive Lives points to the sheer diversity of Muslim women's lives and life stories, offering a unique window into a history of the everyday against a backdrop of imperialism, reformism, nationalism and feminism. In our conversation we discuss autobiographical writing, travelogues, letters, diaries, interviews, low literacy rates, the social and physical geographies of authors, reasons Muslim women narrated their life, the role of editors, translators, on publishers, intended and unintended audiences, the actress Begum Khurshid Mirza, and gender difference across autobiographies. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Helena de Bres, "Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2021 59:41

    What is a memoir? What makes a memoir both nonfictional and literary? What are the memoirist's moral obligations to the people they write about besides themselves, and to their potential readers? And is the writing of a memoir just indulging in narcissism, or revenge?  In Artful Truths: The Philosophy of Memoir (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Helena De Bres examines the philosophical issues that the memoir genre raises, given the doubts we may have about whether people can write the truth about themselves, whether the demands of literature overwhelm the demands of truth-telling, and even whether there is such a thing as a unified, persisting self to write about. De Bres, who is an associate professor of philosophy at Wellesley College, defends the nonfiction status of memoir while acknowledging that memories fail, we often engage in self-justification, and it can be difficult to draw a line between the “experiential truth” the memoirist tries to capture and falsity. De Bres deftly navigates issues in metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics in this highly readable examination of an evolving literary form. Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Mans Broo, "The Rādhā Tantra: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation" (Routledge, 2019)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 50:51

    The Rādhā Tantra is an anonymous 17th-century tantric text from Bengal. Mans Broo's The Rādhā Tantra: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation (Routledge, 2019) offers a lively picture of the meeting of different religious traditions in 17th century Bengal, since it presents a Śākta version of the famous Vaiṣṇava story of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This book presents a critically edited text of the Rādhā Tantra, based on manuscripts in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, as well as an annotated translation It is prefaced by an introduction that situates the text in its social and historical context and discusses its significance.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Joshua S. Mostow and Tokurō Yamamoto, "An Ise monogatari Reader: Contexts and Receptions" (Brill, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 48:17

    An An Ise monogatari Reader: Contexts and Receptions (Brill, 2021) is the first collection of essays in English on The Ise Stories, a canonical literary text ranked beside The Tale of Genji. Eleven scholars from Japan, North America, and Europe explore the historical and political context in which this literary court romance was created, or relate it to earlier works such as the Man'yōshū and later works such as the Genji and noh theater. Its medieval commentary tradition is also examined, as well as early modern illustrated editions and parodies. The collection brings cutting-edge scholarship of the very highest level to English readers, scholars, and students. Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm, "Metamodernism: The Future of Theory" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 79:32

    For decades, scholars have been calling into question the universality of disciplinary objects and categories. The coherence of defined autonomous categories—such as religion, science, and art—has collapsed under the weight of postmodern critiques, calling into question the possibility of progress and even the value of knowledge. Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm aims to radicalize and move beyond these deconstructive projects to offer a path forward for the humanities and social sciences using a new model for theory he calls metamodernism. Metamodernism: The Future of Theory (U Chicago Press, 2021) works through the postmodern critiques and uncovers the mechanisms that produce and maintain concepts and social categories. In so doing, Storm provides a new, radical account of society's ever-changing nature—what he calls a “Process Social Ontology”—and its materialization in temporary zones of stability or “social kinds.” Storm then formulates a fresh approach to philosophy of language by looking beyond the typical theorizing that focuses solely on human language production, showing us instead how our own sign-making is actually on a continuum with animal and plant communication. Storm also considers fundamental issues of the relationship between knowledge and value, promoting a turn toward humble, emancipatory knowledge that recognizes the existence of multiple modes of the real. Metamodernism is a revolutionary manifesto for research in the human sciences that offers a new way through postmodern skepticism to envision a more inclusive future of theory in which new forms of both progress and knowledge can be realized. Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion' at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    Pieter Vanhove, "World Literature After Empire: Rethinking Universality in the Long Cold War" (Routledge, 2021)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 78:37

    Pieter Vanhove's World Literature After Empire: Rethinking Universality in the Long Cold War (2021), engages with the idea of ‘world' as it manifests in literary and philosophical studies. Taking an interdisciplinary and multilingual approach, Vanhove centers his discussion on literature and the arts, while drawing an important historical tableau of the Cold War that highlights the ways in which decolonization processes facilitated a multiplicity of ways to think of the ‘world'. His book engages at length with debates on world literature, postcolonial thought, and translation. In order to show the complex political and cultural tapestry of the Cold War, Vanhove engages in case studies on China and the Afro-Asian Writer's Bureau, Alberto Moravia and PEN International, Antonio Gramsci and Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jean-Paul Sartre and Patrice Lulumba, André Malraux, and Huang Yong Ping. In so doing, the Vanhove demonstrates how artists during the Cold War engaged in cultural discourse that was anti-imperialist, and whose questions centered on issues of race, sexuality, gender, and class. Vanhove's book argues for a process of deconstruction of the Eurocentric conception of the world, for a closer engagement with conceptions of the world in various contexts during the Cold War, and ultimately for using tools of deconstruction to “do justice to the untranslatability of cultural artifacts that call into question the logic of universalization.” Pieter Vanhove is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Cultures at Lancaster University. He holds a PhD in Italian and Comparative Literature from Columnia University. Vanhove's publications include articles in Critical Asian Studies, estetica: studi e ricerche, Senses of Cinema, and Studi pasoliniani. Eralda Lameborshi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University Commerce. Her areas of research include world literature and cinema, Southeast European studies, Ottoman studies, postcolonial theory, and the global novel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

    William Souder, "Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck" (Norton, 2020)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2021 60:11

    The first full-length biography of America's most celebrated novelist of the Great Depression to appear in a quarter century, Mad at the World illuminates what has made the work of John Steinbeck endure: his capacity for empathy. Pulitzer Prize finalist William Souder explores Steinbeck's long apprenticeship as a writer struggling through the depths of the Great Depression, and his rise to greatness with masterpieces such as The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath.  Angered by the plight of the Dust Bowl migrants who were starving even as they toiled to harvest California's limitless bounty, fascinated by the guileless decency of the downtrodden denizens of Cannery Row, and appalled by the country's refusal to recognize the humanity common to all of its citizens, Steinbeck took a stand against social injustice—paradoxically given his inherent misanthropy—setting him apart from the writers of the so-called "lost generation." A man by turns quick-tempered, compassionate, and ultimately brilliant, Steinbeck could be a difficult person to like. Obsessed with privacy, he was mistrustful of people. Next to writing, his favorite things were drinking and womanizing and getting married, which he did three times. And while he claimed indifference about success, his mid-career books and movie deals made him a lot of money—which passed through his hands as quickly as it came in. And yet Steinbeck also took aim at the corrosiveness of power, the perils of income inequality, and the urgency of ecological collapse, all of which drive public debate to this day. Steinbeck remains our great social realist novelist, the writer who gave the dispossessed and the disenfranchised a voice in American life and letters. Eloquent, nuanced, and deeply researched, Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck (Norton, 2020) captures the full measure of the man and his work. Barbara Berglund Sokolov is a historian of the American West. She is also the convener of the Joy of History Book Club, an online history seminar open to anyone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

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