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The Casual Academic: A Literary Podcast
44 minutes | Sep 17, 2019
Episode 36 - Structural Tricks, Disintegration & Ghosts in Valeria Luiselli's "Faces in the Crowd"
Episode 36 features Valeria Luiselli's "Faces in the Crowd," a novella we loved and can't recommend enough. Our discussion includes a bit of her non-fiction, especially her essay "Relingos," as well as various interviews in which she shares her approach to writing and structure. Luiselli allows shifts in point of view and temporality to intermingle and eventually blend together in a story of a writer writing of her days obsessing over a poet in New York City. The novella is both dark and funny, and subtly deals with the way in which our pasts integrate and thus disintegrate our presents, and how identities shapeshift when lost in foreign lands and art. Episode 36 concludes our miniseries on Mexican authors, but rest assured it shall be continued! Let us know what you thought of the episode and the novella via social media, or email us at email@example.com. Stay casual, Alex & Jake
51 minutes | Sep 6, 2019
Episode 35 - Memory, Self & La Revolución in Carlos Fuentes' "The Death of Artemio Cruz"
Rising out of the depths of a busy summer and unreliable internet, we're back to finally put out a miniseries on Mexican literature that's been long in the making. We hope you all have had a wonderful past couple months, and that you've been able to read a few good books. Speaking of good books, Episode 35 on Carlos Fuentes' "The Death of Artemio Cruz" is a discussion on Mexican identity via the writings on Fuentes and Octavio Paz; the good, the bad and the ugly of modernist formal experimentation, and a rehashing of how History as told by the victors is challenged in Latin American fiction. Fuente's novel is a modernist retelling of Mexican history through the life of a revolutionary turned robber baron. As always, we hope you enjoy the episode and be sure to let us know what you think about our discussion via whatever internet superhighway medium you deem your favorite. Thanks for listening and stay casual, Alex & Jake Music credits: "Laid Back Guitars" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
47 minutes | Mar 26, 2019
Traveler, Writer, Soldier, Spy: Lit & Context in Patrick L. Fermor's "The Violins of Saint-Jacques"
After several editing and technical hiccups, we're happy to present episode 34 on beloved travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and his only novel. A soldier who led the resistance in Crete during WWII, a spy posing as a shepherd who captured a German general, an insatiable traveler (lest we forget heartthrob), Fermor was a jack-of-all-trades whose travel writing is known the world over. His novel "The Violins of Saint-Jacques," however, presents a West Indies that both gilds and destroys a European presence that reflects, perhaps, more the devastation caused by WWII than decolonization. Check out our discussion on art and context, WWII and British Literature, and the work travel writing does in the wake of quickly disappearing cultures. Happy Listening Alex & Jake Music credits for this episode: "Lost Frontier" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ "Magic Forest" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
53 minutes | Feb 19, 2019
Episode 33 - Disembodiment, Structure & Millennial Existentialism in Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar"
Good evening from Spain! Allow us to present the 2nd episode of our "Books Casually Left on the Shelf" series on Sylvia Plath's only and much-celebrated novel. Take a listen for some talk on the relevance of existential crises of the 1950's, Plath's style, the novel's structure, and of course two white dudes talking about the feminine experience in American society. Don't forget to join the discussion on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Stay casual, Alex & Jake
52 minutes | Feb 5, 2019
The Arabesque, Orientalism & Unholy Trinities in Jan Potocki's "The Manuscript Found in Saragossa"
Episode 32 inaugurates our new episode series "Books Casually Left on the Shelf" (working title). This book was a hidden gem for us, and we hope you enjoy as much as we did diving into the arabesque and unholy trinities with Jan Potocki's "The Manuscript Found in Saragossa." If you're a patron, make sure you've read up on the novel with the email we sent containing a multitude of sources that we used in preparation for the episode. If not, get a copy and get lost in the mind of a writer of the Renaissance who had a penchant for sexual daydreams involving two or more people, and who might have believed himself to be a werewolf. Come for the unpacking of a novel touching all areas of knowledge, stay for the 17th century sexual intrigue and lycanthropy. We've been receiving many emails from listeners, and it's been the strongest of winds in our sails to continue doing what we love. Thank you all who have written, thank you to our Patreon members and, as always, thanks for listening. Best, Alex & Jake
21 minutes | Nov 13, 2018
Aside #24 - Patreon Launch & Our Next Episode Series
We are VERY excited to announce that our Patreon page has launched about....24 minutes ago! On this quick Aside we talk about Patreon membership, why we're starting on the website and what you'll get when you become a Casual Academic! Also, listen for the announcement of our new episode series "Books Casually Left on the Shelf" starting in December. We talk about the books we'll be reading, and how Patreon members can vote for the 4th book of the series! We are very grateful to all of you out there who support us and listen to our show, and we hope that through Patreon we can connect more with our listeners and, as always, stay casual. Here's the link to our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/thecasualacademic?alert=2 And finally, don't forgot to find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and at our email email@example.com Best, Alex & Jake
57 minutes | Nov 6, 2018
Episode 31 - Gender Binaries, Identity & Interiority in Qiu Miaojin's "Notes of a Crocodile"
In the final episode of our Overlooked Authors Series, we discuss Qiu Miaojin's cult classic, "Notes of a Crocodile." We talk about Miaojin's rejection of gender binaries as well as just about any choice between two things. There is also some talk about the "literariness" of the novel, as well as identity and interiority in the novel. The Overlooked Authors Series was brought to you by The New York Review of Books Classics Series. A big thank you to NYRB for the collaboration!
59 minutes | Oct 23, 2018
Episode 30 - Imposters, Doppelgängers & Duplicates in Silvina Ocampo's "Thus Were Their Faces"
We're back! On this episode, we discuss the Argentine author Silvina Ocampo. Although she spent her life in the shadow of J.L. Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares (her husband)and her sister Victoria, Ms. Ocampo deserves her own spotlight. We talk about her famous story "The Imposter" and go over some of her other important works. Ocampo's stories are unnerving and often brutal. Her background as both a poet and a painter shows itself in the language, portraits and characters of her stories. We hope you enjoy the episode, and we want to give a special thanks to NYRB Classics for collaborating with us during our Overlooked Authors Series. As always, join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and if you need a copy of "Thus Were Their Faces" head over to the NYRB Classics webpage and pick one up! Happy Listening. - TCA
69 minutes | Apr 10, 2018
Episode 29 - Memory, Perception & Fairytales in Tatyana Tolstaya's "White Walls"
In this episode, we marvel at Tatyana Tolstaya's collection of stories, "White Walls," and focus our discussion on topics such as memory, time, perception, art and fairytales (just to name a few). We also, shamelessly, heap relentless praise on her prose and brilliant use of language that she employs to create her woeful and comic worlds. We hope you enjoy the episode, and we want to give a special thanks to NYRB Classics for collaborating with us during our Overlooked Authors Series. As always, join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and if you need a copy of "White Walls" head over to the NYRB Classics webpage and pick one up! Happy Listening. - TCA
53 minutes | Mar 20, 2018
Episode 28 - Untouchability, Inaction and "The Seventh Seal" in U.R. Ananthamurthy's "Samskara"
Overlooked Authors on The Casual Academic has begun! We discuss our first featured book, U.R. Ananthamurthy's classic "Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man," translated by A.K. Ramanujan. Our conversation centers on the binary Ananthamurthy sets between the arcane and the modern, religion vs. rationalism, and action vs. inaction in a very Indian context. We also dive into one of Ananthamurthy's major influences, Ingmar Bergman's classic film "The Seventh Seal," and how our featured author found the inspiration to write what is now considered a classic of Indian literature. We hope you enjoy the episode, and we want to give a special thanks to NYRB Classics for collaborating with us during our Overlooked Authors Series. As always, join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and if you need a copy of "Samskara," head over to the NYRB Classics webpage and pick one up! Happy Listening - TCA
18 minutes | Mar 6, 2018
Aside #23 - Overlooked Authors Series with NYRB Classics
On Aside #23, we discuss our upcoming series on overlooked authors! The next four episodes will feature: Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man - U.R. Ananthamurthy White Walls - Tatyana Tolstaya Thus Were Their Faces - Silvina Ocampo Notes of a Crocodile - Qui Miaojin We talk about why we chose each author and what about them piqued our interest. Overlooked Authors Month is brought to you in part by the NYRB Classics. Check out their awesome selection of books here: https://www.nyrb.com/collections/classics Don't forget to join the conversation on facebook, instagram and twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you a lover of NYRB Classics as well? Let us know, and in the meantime, happy listening! - TCA Episode Music: "Wolverine Blues" - Jelly Roll Morton
31 minutes | Feb 27, 2018
Episode 27 (Pt. 2) - Gender, Sexuality & Race in Carson McCullers' "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter"
On Part II of our 27th episode, Alex and guest Zak Breckenridge continue their discussion on Carson McCullers' 1940 novel "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," focusing on how gender, sexuality and race are presented in the book and through its characters. Enjoy! ***As always, you can find us on instagram, twitter and facebook, or email us at email@example.com. Also, check our website www.thecasualacademic.com for a bibliography of the episode, articles, and a catalogue of all our episodes and asides up 'till now! Thank you for your support! - TCA
44 minutes | Feb 14, 2018
Episode 27(Pt.1)- Southern Gothic Limits, Low Modernism & Politics in "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"
On our 27th episode, Alex talks with returning guest Zak Breckenridge about Carson McCullers' 1940 novel "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter". We had to divide the episode into two parts because, well, we got so into the conversation that it ran for an hour and 40 minutes. On this first part, we talk about the problematic nature of place the novel in the genre of Southern Gothic, the differences between High & Low Modernism, and the role socialism plays in the politics of the novel. Enjoy! ***Don't forget, you can find us on instagram, twitter and facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, check our website www.thecasualacademic.com for a bibliography of the episode. - TCA
20 minutes | Feb 1, 2018
Aside #22 - Environmental Humanities & an intro to Carson McCullers' "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"
On this Aside, returning guest Zak Breckenridge joins Alex in a conversation on the emerging academic field of Environmental Humanities, and their first reactions to our new featured book "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers. Many questions are raised for the full-length episode, including Race, Gender, and Politics. Join in on the discussion! Are you a fan of McCullers' work? Let us know at - email - email@example.com facebook & instagram - @thecasualacademic twitter - @casualacademic Happy Listening, The Casual Academic
49 minutes | Jan 23, 2018
Episode 26 (Pt. 2) - Postcolonial Problems, Decay & Flux in V.S. Naipaul's "The Enigma of Arrival"
On this episode, we focus on the last three sections of Naipaul's novel, "Ivy," "Rooks," and "A Ceremony of Farewell." Within these three sections, we explore the controversy surrounding Naipaul's status as a postcolonial writer, and how such elements are woven into the latter half of "The Enigma of Arrival." As the title says, we also dive into one of our favorite topics - decadence - but also how that can morph into an understanding of flux and transition, and how all of that is brilliantly played with by Naipaul. As always, we hope you enjoy the episode and let us know what you think. write to us at: email - firstname.lastname@example.org twitter - @casualacademic instagram - @thecasualacademic or follow us on facebook! Best, Alex & Jake
20 minutes | Dec 30, 2017
Aside #21 - Xmas Holidays and Our Favorite Reads of 2017
Merry Christmas from The Casual Academic! Well...more like Happy New Year! We're just in time with our top reads from 2017 - eight books (four from each of us) that come highly recommended, six of which come with full-length episodes and Asides from yours truly! Do you have a favorite TCA read from this year? Let us know on all those social media platforms, or email us at email@example.com. We hope you all have a great NYE, and best wishes for 2018. Cheers, Jake and Alex Twitter- @casualacademic Facebook - @thecasualacademic Instagram - @thecasualacademic P.S. We've received 2 new reviews on iTunes, and we want to thank those two wonderful human beings for taking the time and helping us get out to more book lovers around the world!
39 minutes | Dec 12, 2017
Episode 26 (Pt. 1) - 'Jack's Garden' & 'The Journey' in V.S. Naipaul's "The Enigma of Arrival"
In Part 1 of the two part extravaganza on V.S. Naipaul's "The Enigma of Arrival," Jacob and Alex compare Naipaul and W.G. Sebald in their style, substance and techniques. They then give their first impressions of parts one and two of the novel and discuss how 'The Journey' is especially poignant. Finally, Alex and Jacob talk about the complications of travel and what people are looking for when they are visiting a new place. We hope you enjoy the episode and let us know what you think. write to us at: email - firstname.lastname@example.org twitter - @casualacademic instagram - @thecasualacademic or follow us on facebook!
20 minutes | Nov 28, 2017
Aside #20 - Separating Art from Artist and looking ahead to V.S. Naipaul & "The Enigma of Arrival"
In light of current events, on this Aside we talk about if we are capable of separating art from the artist, and which mediums allow for an easier (or more difficult) disassociation of a work of art from its creator. We also look head to our new featured author, V.S. Naipaul, and his acclaimed work "The Enigma of Arrival." Join in on the discussion! Do you still stand by Wood Allan's films? Should we boycott Hemingway from our bookshelves? Let us know at - email - email@example.com facebook & instagram - @thecasualacademic twitter - @casualacademic Happy Listening, The Casual Academic
39 minutes | Nov 15, 2017
Episode 25 (Pt.2) - Critical Interpretations of Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw"
We are back for Part II of our episode on Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw," and as promised we discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of the literary criticism on James' novella. Listen for the many branches of the infamous Freudian reading, the use of fairy tale and folk motifs, the gothic romance, and how James wrote a book where we're not sure who is doing more interpreting - the readers or the characters. Also, stick around for our new segment on our internet deep dives while researching for this episode. Definitely stick around for what Jake found in the black hole of Goodreads. Finally, we'd love to hear your thoughts on our new format, what you like, what you like slightly less, and any ideas for improving your listening experience! Happy Listening, Jake & Alex
35 minutes | Nov 7, 2017
Episode 25 (Pt.1) - Some Changes, Narrative Games & Our First Impressions of "The Turn of the Screw"
On our 25th episode, we are inaugurating a structural change to The Casual Academic. Think of it as an experiment with the goal of making your listening experience the best it can be. We've decided to divide our episodes on our featured books into two parts: part 1 is a general discussion of the novel, the writer, and our initial impressions and questions. Part 2 is a more in-depth discussion in which we interact with secondary literature that critically analyzes the work. Pick your poison, as they say, or listen to both to get a well-rounded discussion of our featured books. We hope you like the changes! However, we did call this an experiment, so please share your thoughts about our new structure, our discussion and of course your opinion about the book! Happy Listening, Jake & Alex write to us at: email - firstname.lastname@example.org twitter - @casualacademic instagram - @thecasualacademic or follow us on facebook!
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