Humor/horror, brother/devil, author/character, Roger/Dave–doubles abound as The Sometime Seminar discusses James Hogg’s meta-gothic brain-twister, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824).
The Sometime Seminar discusses the aesthetic implications of reading literature in electronic form, the fate of literature in the digital age, and the burgeoning genre of writing lamenting the fate of literature in the digital age.
Books on e-reading mentioned in the podcast include: The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age by Sven Birkerts; The Case for Books by Robert Darnton; The Edge of the Precipice: Why Read Literature in the Digital Age? ed. by Paul Socken; The Late Age of Print by Ted Striphas; The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
Novels read as etexts and mentioned in the podcast: Children of Violence series by Doris Lessing; Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray; Daniel Deronda (previously discussed on the podcast) and Middlemarch by George Eliot
In talking about the history of the word culture, or the idea of cultural conservatism, the name Matthew Arnold is all but unavoidable. But why? What did the Victorians think it meant to be cultured, and how did they think this connected to politics? Is Arnold a key theorist of culture and education, or the Malcolm Gladwell of the 19th century?
The Sometime Seminar discusses Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy (1875), a text perhaps more talked about than read.
Are irony, ambiguity and skeptical wit instruments of serious philosophy, or “literary” toys for amateurs with no skin in the game?
The Sometime Seminar discusses the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (published 1779) by David Hume.
Supplementary links: “Hume on Religion” from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; Wikipedia on the Dialogues
The Sometime Seminar discusses The Antinomies of Realism (2013), in which Fredric Jameson revisits and re-theorizes the realist novel.
Supplemental links: Michael Wood reviews Antinomies of Realism in the LRB
Writing a novel? Anyone can do that. Writing two novels? That’s sort of impressive…I guess. Writing a novel that seems like it’s really two novels, one a masterful tragicomedy of manners and the other a crazy fairy tale of ideas, a novel equally notable for peerless psychological acuity and for well-meaning yet nutso 19th-century race mystique, and featuring one of the most enjoyably despicable villains in literature? Now you’re talking.
The Sometime Seminar discusses George Eliot’s final novel, Daniel Deronda (1876).
Wile E. Coyote meets Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence of the same! If Krazy Kat could transcend the veil of illusion, would he ever be the same again? And how do you even read, much less summarize, much less talk about, a book with no words?
Supplementary link: Joe McCulloch reviews Fran in The Comics Journal
The Sometime Seminar discusses Inverted World, an early (1974) work of science fiction by Christopher Priest, along with his more recent writing about the genre.
Discussed in the podcast: Ned Beauman’s recent review of Priest’s work in the LRB, Priest’s 2012 polemic about the Clarke Awards
Should we fear the hobgoblins of consistency? And to what end? Can you be a philosopher if you write essays that don’t have a clearly stated point, and if so, what kind is Ralph Waldo Emerson: American individualist prophet or misunderstood pre-Nietzschean post-Stoic?
The Sometime Seminar discusses “Experience,” from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s First Series of essays (1841).