Literature Lab

Interviews about the world of literary studies. For anyone who loves reading and wants to think about what they read.

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Oprah, the Victorian Novel, and You

Posted by dsherman on June 20th, 2012

Lisa Rodensky from Wellesley College talks about Victorian Oprah -- how she takes up a similar cultural function as novelist George Eliot.  Oprah and Eliot shed surprising light on each other.  For all their differences, both seek to instruct our private lives in just about the most public media of their respective times, TV and the serialized novel.  Rodensky talks about their different insights into how we fashion our selves as we try to imagine the lives of others.


The Medieval Imagination, or, the Fresh Blood of the Deep Past

Posted by dsherman on May 29th, 2012

Nicholas Watson from Harvard University discusses medieval concepts of the imagination, dream visions, and the desire for the past.  What's the relation between the imagination and historical knowledge?  How can medieval thought teach us something about keeping a vital relation to a past we can never know?  The mind as re-combining machine, the present as re-combined past.  Insights into how the blood of the deep past is still fresh.


Ezra Pound, Noh Theater, and Submission

Posted by dsherman on April 30th, 2012

Carrie Preston from Boston University tells her story of reckoning with American poet Ezra Pound's Cantos, several of which he wrote while incarcerated.  These poems eventually take her to Japan to study Noh Theater.  What do we do with Pound's demanding poetry and fascist politics?  Where can we learn something from submission, and where can't we?


Virtual Reality in 9/11 Fiction

Posted by dsherman on April 30th, 2012

Laura Tanner from Boston College talks about literary and artistic responses to the highly mediated, spectacle-quality experience of 9/11.  She focuses on Don DeLillo's novel Falling Man to ask about the authenticity of the experiences we have through screens.  What kinds of experiences are real in a digital age?  What kinds of emotional reactions to screen-experiences are legitimate?