Literature, History, Culture

This series of podcasts looks at the role literature plays in wider history and culture. How does literature reflect and offer a window onto historical moments? What role does literature play within society as a whole?

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Love, Hope and Imagination, with Michael O’Neill

Poet and literary critic Michael O’Neill explores love, hope, and imagination in the life and work of Percy Bysshe Shelley, creator of some of the world’s greatest lyrical poetry, before the revolutionary Romantic’s tragic early death. Read more about this podcast here.

Image caption: Percy Bysshe Shelley, by Amelia Curran. oil on canvas, 1819. NPG 1234. © National Portrait Gallery, London.

A Conversation with Jane Smiley

This conversation between Jennifer Terry and the Pulitzer-prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley, was recorded at the Literary Dolls conference. In a wide-ranging interview, Jane explains how literary characters take on a life of their own, reflects on the representation of the body in literature, and examines her own status as a female novelist emerging in the 1970s. Read more about this podcast here.

Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, with Dr Samuel Thomas and Michael Enright

In a programme recorded for the Sunday Edition on Canada’s CBC radio, Dr Samuel Thomas discusses Bleeding Edge, the long-awaited new novel by American author Thomas Pynchon. This podcast is reproduced courtesy of CBC radio. Read more about this podcast here.

The Decline of British Fiction, with Professor Patricia Waugh and Jennifer Hodgson

Patrica Waugh and Jennifer Hodgson discuss their motivations for writing their article “On the Exaggerated Reports of a Decline in British Fiction,” published in The White Review. In this conversation, they explain how we look at twentieth century literature through a series of historical phases, such as modernism and postmodernism. They argue that this blinds us to the stylistic and formal continuities that can be found running through innovative British fiction from the nineteenth century to the present literary moment. Read more about this podcast here.

When is Modernism? with Tony Patterson, Avishek Parui, and Michael Shallcross

Does the label “modernism” apply only to works published at a certain point in time? Or is modernism an aesthetic value that can apply more widely? In this podcast, the organisers of recent conferences on modernism discuss the difficulty of defining the period. Read more about this podcast here.

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