How many forms of uncanny weirdness can you cram into one trilogy? Can the Netflix model of binge consumption work for novels as well as TV shows? And should you settle for a mystery when you could have a mythos?
What does it mean for a poem to be difficult, anyway? And how can fart jokes and anagrammatic puns combine with elegiac poignancy and philosophical seriousness? The Sometime Seminar discusses Speech! Speech! (2000), a late-modernist poem about politics and the public sphere by Geoffrey Hill.
Discussed in the podcast: Ann Hassan’s Annotations to Geoffrey Hill’s Speech! Speech!
Supplementary link: Hill’s own favorite review of the poem, by Andy Fogle for PopMatters
How much can you tell about the psychic life of post-September-11 America from the movies? Just how important were The Matrix and The Passion of the Christ and Avatar as landmarks in cinema history? And why does CGI even matter?
The Sometime Seminar discusses Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive (2010), a work of critical social theory about online culture by Jodi Dean.
Is science fiction becoming a conservative genre? The Sometime Seminar discusses the 31st (2014) edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, an annual anthology of short stories edited by Gardner Dozois which in decades past has served to define, and to introduce many readers (including us!) to, the genre.
The Sometime Seminar discusses Identity and Difference: John Locke and the Invention of Consciousness (English 2013, French 1998) by Etienne Balibar. Balibar’s book, prompted by an interest in philosophical translation and untranslatability, centers on Chapter 27 of John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) and the genesis of the idea of “consciousness” in modern philosophy.
The Sometime Seminar returns from its late-spring hiatus with a trip to 19th-century Madrid!
In this episode, we discuss Fortunata and Jacinta: Two Stories of Married Women (1887), a sprawling four-part realist novel of adultery in Madrid by Benito Pérez Galdós. It’s a gargantuan, wonderful novel that combines the vivid characterization of Dickens, the documentary scope of Balzac, and the dramatis personae of a phone book.
The Sometime Seminar discusses The Alienist (1882), a comic novella about the birth of psychology in Brazil by Joaquim Mario Machado de Assis.
It’s another visit to the land of weird fiction, this time somewhere on the border territories between Surrealism and Modernism, Wellesian science fiction, Poeian romantic solipsism, and wistful speculations in photographic theory. With a sidebar on the politics of alone-on-an-island fantasies and more than a dash of ambiguity about narratorial madness, The Sometime Seminar discusses Adolfo Bioy Casares’s terrific The Invention of Morel (1940).
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).