Literature

The Origin of Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— Is it possible to empathize with lines in an abstract design, with the expansive reach of a tree, the sweep of a bird’s flight, or the imposing rise of a range of mountains? Can we “feel into” forms and shapes? If today we know empathy as a way

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Desirable Body

Hubert Haddad; Translated by Alyson Waters— One autumn morning, Cédric awoke with a start and sat up in bed as daylight filtered through the blinds. He must have been dreaming about the woman he loved, but her name escaped him. Had they broken up? Even though he had difficulty imagining

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Ep. 63 – The History of Vampires

We’re discussing where vampires came from, how they’ve evolved, and why they continue to fascinate us today.   Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Soundcloud

The Lives of Beowulf

Stephen Mitchell— It’s something of a miracle that any of our ancient literary masterpieces survived the downfall or shift of civilizations, since they all might easily have been lost. Of Heraclitus’s profound insights, we have only tantalizing fragments. Of Sappho’s nine books, there remain just four poems and scattered verses

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Ep. 61 – On Color

We’re talking about color this week—where it comes from, how we see it, and its role in our lives.   Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify

Political Cartoons in the Digital Age

David Francis Taylor— In 2004 Morten Morland published a cartoon in the Times that took aim at Anglo-American attempts to broker peace between Israel and Palestine. He did so by adapting a much older image: James Gillray’s “Sin, Death, and the Devil” of 1792. Gillray’s caricature responded to the sacking

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George Sand’s Search for Spirituality

Thomas Kselman— “Since no one was instructing me in religion, it occurred to me I needed one, and I made one for myself. ” – George Sand, History of My Life George Sand (1804-1876) is known to modern readers as a symbol of feminism, a woman who challenged patriarchal values through

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Ep. 47 – A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies

How have we used size to judge people over time? What is the history of size in popular culture? Lynne Vallone discusses how bodies both big and small influence our perception. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud

Stephen Mitchell on Translation and Beowulf

Stephen Mitchell— I backed into translation. As a young man at Yale Graduate School, dealing with a first heartbreak, I became fascinated with the Book of Job. What thrilled and perplexed me was a feeling that the poet who wrote it had seen something, had actually experienced the secret of

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The Skin of Chaos —The Letters of Adonis and Adel Abdessemed (part 3)

This is part three of a three-part series. Read part one and two. World-renowned poet Adonis and award-winning artist Adel Abdessemed present a record of their passionate conversations in Paris in this collection of letters written between June 2013 and February 2015.  Presented exclusively for the first time here in anticipation

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