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The Troubadour Podcast
111 minutes | 6 days ago
"Boule de Suif" by Guy de Maupassant W/Guest Chris DePretis
Film director & producer Chris DePretis joins Kirk to talk about the short story “Boule de Suif” by Guy de Maupassant. It is said that Maupassant is the most adapted literary writer after Shakespeare. Though this is hard to prove, because often his short stories offer a broad brush by which film directors like John Ford will use to paint. Nevertheless, his impact on world cinema is impressive. Besides Ford, many directors have adapted stories from the French short story writer, such as D.W. Griffith, Orson Welles, Jean Renoir, Kenji Mizoguchi, Jean-Luc Goddard and many more. These directors, of course, are the most influential directors in cinema. By proxy, very few people can claim as much influence on world cinema as Guy de Maupassant.In this episode, we summarize and discuss one short story in particular “Boule de Suif.” Then we discuss and compare the classic western movie Stagecoach (1939) starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford.We will be talking about the themes of both of these works as well as the way in which Ford was inspired by Maupassant.If you are a literary lover or a film buff, this episode is for you! Great art builds on great art.
77 minutes | 13 days ago
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury W/Luc Travers
Kirk and guest Luc Travers from http://www.literatureatourhouse.com/ discuss the dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451.” Together they give a synopsis (from memory) of the story. Then they leap into the flames of Bradbury’s tale. In this episode, you’ll enjoy discussions on:The main characters: Guy Montag, Chief Beatty, Clarise and FaberMeaning of the storyDover Beach by Matthew ArnoldDover Beach and its meaning relative to the storyThe prescience of the storyWhat is happiness, and how do we know if we are happy?The importance of UNhappinessAnd much more!
89 minutes | a month ago
'Cyrano de Bergerac' by Edmond Rostand W/Guest Eric Robert Morse
Eric and I go over a synopsis of this play, first staged in 1897 to immense adulation. Then we discuss the meaning of the love triangle, the larger-than-life character of Cyrano and the meaning of the play. Since 1897 there has been a variety of different projections of Cyrano’s looks. This is an important feature of the play. How ugly should Cyrano be? What is it that Roxanne falls in love with?Can a beautiful man also be bright and clever and witty?What role does Cyrano’s nose play?We analyze some specific passages in the play.We take a look at the spiritual/body dichotomy in the play.The role of “success” in Cyrano.In the second half of the conversation, Eric, who is a Catholic, and I have a debate about Pride and the meaning of Cyrano’s Pride.Eric Robert Morse (ericrobertmorse.com) is a writer, publisher, painter, illustrator, web programmer, philosopher, theologian, economist, and historian. His published works include a critique of Behavioral Economics (Psychonomics), a theory of political economy (Juggernaut), two novels (Monaco and Ricky Wills It), a psychology of storytelling (The 90-Minute Effect), a history of Feminism (The Economic Theory of Sex), and a sociology of postmodern America (Tearing at the Seams).
61 minutes | a month ago
'The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass' W/Guest Jesse McCarthy
My guest today is Jesse McCarthy Founder of MontessoriEducation.comJesse McCarthy began his career as a young assistant at a small private school in California, and now 15+ years later he leads an organization that helps parents and teachers around the world to achieve inevitable success with children — happily and without stress.We discussed The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. This book is described as a “dramatic autobiography,” and as Jesse and Kirk discuss, it is exactly that. It is not a long text. It can be read in a few hours. But it is an emotionally challenging text.Jesse and Kirk discuss Douglass’ story, his courage and character as told within the narrative. There are some ideas in this book that may be very challenging for people today to confront. Not in terms of slavery, everyone correctly abhors slavery, but rather some of the values and virtues that Douglass held as essential to the building of a good character. Jesse and Kirk discussed:the concept of “self-creation” as Douglass meant it. Slave MentalitySlave-holders mentalityFighting a system of ideasThe education of DouglassHow to educate childrenImportance of readingDifferent levels of readingAnd much much more.
52 minutes | 2 months ago
'The Catcher in the Rye' by J.D. Salinger - and the psychology of conspiracy theorists
What do Holden Caufield, Jerry Fletcher (Conspiracy Theory, 1997, played by Mel Gibson) and a modern conspiracy theorist have in common? On this episode of Troubadour Podcast, I discuss the style of J.D. Salinger's story about Holden Caufield's weekend adventure.This is a book that has been linked to multiple assassins, including the man who shot John Lennon. It is also a favorite among teenage boys. What can we learn from the method of Caufield's 'stream of consciousness' that can reveal an important truth about the followers of Qanon, and other modern conspiracy theorists?In this video I will outline the general plot of "The Catcher in the Rye,' what I call "the Caufield Effect,' and explain my view on why it is critical to read this book today.
74 minutes | 2 months ago
'Oedipus The King' by Sophocles W/Guest Timothy Sandefur
On this episode of Troubadour Talks I had as a guest Timothy Sandefur, VP of Litigation at Goldwater Institute. We discussed the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles. The Oedipus is likely one of the most referenced and analyzed work of imaginative literature in the history of the world. Now, Tim and Kirk have added their voices to this endeavor!Both Kirk and Tim recommend the Robert Fagles translation of Oedipus The King. On the show, Tim refers to a performance of Greek Plays done in Greek. The director is Leonidas Loizides. You can learn more about this director in this article. Read Tim Sandefur on his personal blog at sandefur.typepad.com Also, Tim has a review of a new translation of Oedipus, coming out at The Objective Standard, Topics discussed:Why lawyers today should read literature generally and ancient Greek literature in particular.How the Ancient Greeks viewed literature's role as crucial in life.An overview of The Oedipus story.How Oedipus The King is like Batman.The universality of this story.A Character analysis of Oedipus & JocastaThe problem with "Tragic Flaws."Meaning from literature and mortalitythe psychological insight we can learn from the ancients.Do we have free-will or are we determined beings?Analysis of the style of Oedipus' crossroads speechOn reading translationsThe #DisruptTexts movementand much more!
70 minutes | 2 months ago
'We the Living' by Ayn Rand - With Guest Jon Hersey
Welcome to Troubadour Talks, a new show where a guest and I discuss a great work of classic literature.On today's episode I spoke with Jon Hersey of the Objective Standard Institute about Ayn Rand's fist novel, We The Living.Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist. Her dates are 1905-1982. She is most known for her later novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.In this episode Jon and I:*give a plot summary of the entire work*discuss the meaning of the novel's themes and plot events*discuss the main characters (Leo, Andrei and Kira) *compare and contrast the three characters*explain why 'We the Living,' written in 1934, is as relevant today as it was then*talk about why this novel is important to each of us*give reasons why everyone should read this book todayJon is editor for The Objective Standard magazine, and he is a teacher and podcaster for Objective Standard Institute. You can find out more here: https://objectivestandard.org/Kirk is host of Troubadour Talks and founder of The Literary Canon ClubIf you have ever wanted to read through the great western literary canon, now is the time. You can reserve your spot by signing up here: https://www.troubadourmag.com/literary-canon-club
48 minutes | 2 months ago
Five Reasons to Read Daniel Defoe's "Moll Flanders."
in this episode I give five reasons you should consider reading Moll Flanders, an early 18th century novel written by Daniel Defoe, who is the author of Robinson Crusoe.The five reasons are:1) You get to visit 17th century London-I mention a painting, which is featured as the artwork for this episode. It is "The Egg Dance by Jan Steen."2) Meet an "immoral" woman who, nevertheless, leads an interesting life.-Here I discuss why so many people have hated Moll Flanders.3) Understand what philosophers hate about commercialism and capitalism.4) Learn about the novel as an artistic achievement5) Understand the novel as a moral institution.
44 minutes | 4 months ago
The Prelude by William Wordsworth (Boat Stealing Scene)
Visit my magazine's website for a full analysis and commentary: https://www.troubadourmag.com/post/william-wordsworth-steals-a-boat-an-excerpt-from-the-preludeThe Boat Stealing Scene from the 1850 Prelude by William Wordsworth:One summer evening (led by her) I foundA little boat tied to a willow treeWithin a rocky cove, its usual home.Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping inPushed from the shore. It was an act of stealthAnd troubled pleasure, nor without the voiceOf mountain-echoes did my boat move on;Leaving behind her still, on either side,Small circles glittering idly in the moon,Until they melted all into one trackOf sparkling light. But now, like one who rows,Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen pointWith an unswerving line, I fixed my viewUpon the summit of a craggy ridge,The horizon’s utmost boundary; far aboveWas nothing but the stars and the grey sky.She was an elfin pinnace; lustilyI dipped my oars into the silent lake,And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boatWent heaving through the water like a swan;When, from behind that craggy steep till thenThe horizon’s bound, a huge peak, black and huge,As if with voluntary power instinct,Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,And growing still in stature the grim shapeTowered up between me and the stars, and still,For so it seemed, with purpose of its ownAnd measured motion like a living thing,Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,And through the silent water stole my wayBack to the covert of the willow tree;There in her mooring-place I left my bark, –And through the meadows homeward went, in graveAnd serious mood; but after I had seenThat spectacle, for many days, my brainWorked with a dim and undetermined senseOf unknown modes of being; o’er my thoughtsThere hung a darkness, call it solitudeOr blank desertion. No familiar shapesRemained, no pleasant images of trees,Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;But huge and mighty forms, that do not liveLike living men, moved slowly through the mindBy day, and were a trouble to my dreams.
40 minutes | 4 months ago
The Little Girl Lost by William Blake
This is a poem in Blake's "Songs of Innocence & Experience: Showing The Two Contrary States of the Human Soul."This poem is ripe with Biblical images. In fact, I'd argue that the entire poem is an extended metaphor, not to be taken literally at all. Though, there is a narrative story in the poem, the action of this story must be taken metaphorically.This poem is about a 7 year old girl who becomes separated from her parents and lost in a desert. She falls asleep under a tree. Then some wild beasts (leopards and lions and tigers--OH MY!) come out of a cave and see her. They play at her feet, and then the kingly lion licks her. They then strip her naked and bring her to their cave.This is how the poem ends. Unlocking this poem is rather fun. Though, it does take a little bit of digging and a lot of knowledge of the Bible, I believe it is very worthwhile even if you are not religious or Christian. We will see how Blake both uses the imagery of Christianity while offering a criticism to his 19th century Christian readers.
22 minutes | 6 months ago
The Princess and the Puma by O. Henry
O. Henry is a romantic writer, not because he writes epic tales of our medieval past, or that his stories always are love stories (though this one is!) but rather, because of his unique usage of language.He never wanted to accept that the ordinary had to be ordinary. He wanted it to be extraordinary, exotic, exciting, filled with wonder and imagination. Even a tale about a man meeting a woman on a cattle ranch can be placed in the same realm as Aeneas meeting Dido.Listen to this very simple tale, one with lessons for those of us dating today in the 21st century, and rekindle your wonder for the everyday.
47 minutes | 6 months ago
8. Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (Chapter 4: The Inquiry)
This is the final reading of Benito Cereno by Herman Melville.
44 minutes | 6 months ago
7. Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (Ch 3 Summary and A Closer Look)
The primary narrative of this novella ends with this chapter. Next is a series of deposition documents describing the inquiry into the slave revolt.In the summary I condense the key events of this chapter. In the closer look, I discuss three key points that are helpful in understanding this piece by Melville.1) The core epistemological quandary I posed at the beginning, "A man who is incapable of comprehending a certain series of events is put in a situation where he must do exactly that." Throughout all three chapters we learn there are numerous reasons, Captain Delano is incapable of understanding the predicament he is in. But one that becomes explicit in this chapter is his racism.2) The mystery is revealed in a general way, and this alters the image of all the bizarre events we have seen in the story.3) the third point I make in the closer look section is a severe scrutiny of a particular image of Captain Deleno in the moments before he has his revelation regarding what has occurred on board The San Dominick.
53 minutes | 6 months ago
6. Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (Ch 3 "Follow Your Leader")
This chapter concludes the major part of Melville's narrative. We left off at the end of chapter 2 with the shaving scene. Delano has left Cereno to confer with his slave Babo. Delano is surprised t see Babo running after him with a cut on his face. He has been cut by his master Benito Cereno, in retaliation for Babo having accidentally cut him during shaving.Next up will be a quick summary and a closer look at this chapter. That will be followed by the finale of Benito Cereno.
55 minutes | 6 months ago
5. Benito Cereno By Melville ("Ch 2 Summary" and "A Closer Look")
Here I give a quick summary of chapter 2: The Gordian Knot. Then we dive into the mind of Captain Amasa Delano.One of the key values of reading great literature is the ability to enter the consciousness of another person. This is something we are unable to do in our daily lives. In Captain Delano you may find an unnerving similarity to the way that your mind (and mine!) works.
90 minutes | 6 months ago
4. Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (Chapter 2: The Gordian Knot)
This is my reading of chapter 2 of "Benito Cereno" by Herman Melville.Please note that this is part 4 of the series on this novella. In part One I have created an introduction for the text. In Part Two I have read Chapter 1: A Ship in Distress. In Part Three I have created a summary of Chapter 1 and a Closer Look into that chapter. This is part Four.Please note that the Chapters breakdown and titles are my own creation they are not Melville's. I have broken it down this way to make it easier to digest. Up next will be a summary of Chapter 2 as well as a closer look into the chapter.
66 minutes | 6 months ago
3. Benito Cereno by Herman Melville ("Ch 1 Summary" and "A Closer Look")
In this episode we go over the first "Chapter" which I have titled "A Ship in Distress." Make sure you have listened to parts 1 & 2. Part 1 is my introduction to Melville's Novella. Part 2 is my reading of Chapter 1. And this part, 3, is my quick summary followed by a closer look into the chapter. I broke the Closer Look into 4 categories:1) The Odd Ship2) Aboard the Ship3) Benito Cereno - First Surmises4) Captain Amasa Delano, Whaling Ship Captain ExtraordinaireNext up will be a reading of "chapter 2."Please note these chapters are my own inventions and not Melville's. He has written this story in one non-stop narrative. I am breaking it up to help make it a little more easy too digest.
52 minutes | 6 months ago
2. Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (Chapter 1: Ship in Distress)
This is the first reading of the novella by Herman Melville. In part 1 I argued why this remains a classic story we should all read. It may help to listen to my introduction.Visit troubadourmag.com for a list of important terms, including nautical terms, that may help you to better understand the text.In the next episode I will give you a summary of this section of the story, and then an exploration of some key themes in the text so far.
31 minutes | 6 months ago
1. Benito Cereno By Herman Melville (Introduction)
In part one of this series I argue why it is of critical importance for all Americans to read this novella by Herman Melville before it is too late. In it are critical observations about the American spirit, and an underlying philosophy that is currently tearing us apart.Melville's story, published in 1855, is a thriller/mystery based on a true story. In 1799 an American Whaling Captain, Amasa Deleno, espies a ship in distress off the coast of Chile. As a good American, he goes to the rescue, bringing food and water. Upon boarding the ship, however, he begins to perceive odd behavior that he cannot explain.In this introduction, I describe the core epistemological quandary of this character, and of our own lives in America today.Stories should be experienced and enjoyed as stories, but nonetheless, with some guidance, I will help to show you how this classic tale can breath insight into your own daily life.
71 minutes | 8 months ago
Hawthorne, Vonnegut and Griggs - Science Fiction Comparison
On this episode I talk with Troubadour Magazine's new Assistant Editor, Joe Dimon, about the three short stories we selected for his upcoming course on Science Fiction Literature. The three stories areNathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter"Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron,"David Griggs's "A Song Before Sunset."In this episode we discuss each short story and compare them. Whether or not you have read them,we give you an overview and explain there signifance.
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