Lit Century

Lit Century

Hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols choose one book for each year of the twentieth century (Nella Larsen's Passing, 1936, Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls, 1966; Mohandas Gandhi's Indian Home Rule, 1909) and talk about it in its historical and literary context. Join the hosts and their special guests to find out what the 20th century was all about.

Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols Arts 21 rész 100 Years, 100 Books
Nightwood #2
28 perc 1. évad 2. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
Hosts Catherine Nichols and Sandra Newman discuss the novel Nightwood, focusing in this episode on the extraordinary life and career of its author, Djuna Barnes, who lived among the most extreme personalities of 1920s Paris and was celebrated as one of Modernism's great writers, but then withdrew into total seclusion for the last 40 years of her life. For some background on this episode, here's Robert Giroux reminiscing about the experience of being Barnes's publisher: https://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/01/books/the-most-famous-unknown-in-the-world-remembering-djuna-barnes.html. And here's a very rare recording of Barnes herself, reading from her play "The Antiphon" (with really abysmal sound quality and a lot of setting up, but somehow that feels like part of the Barnes experience): https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/05/12/greenwich-village-1971/
Nightwood #1
20 perc 1. évad 1. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
Hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols discuss the Modernist classic Nightwood by Djuna Barnes, focusing on its treatment of eugenics and LGBT issues. For those who want to know more: here's some extra reading on lesbian legend Joe Carstairs; https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v20/n05/terry-castle/if-everybody-had-a-wadley And here's more on the pioneering work of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/lgbtq-institute-in-germany-was-burned-down-by-nazis
Chekhov's Short Stories
38 perc 21. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, hosts Catherine Nichols and Sandra Newman talk about the short stories of Anton Chekhov, particularly "Lady With a Little Dog" and "Ward No. 6." What do these stories tell us about the revolutionary sentiment that was about to change not just Russia but the world? The stories embody a radical hopelessness, but also a harsh judgment of that hopelessness. Do we need to continue to hope in order to be good people? And is Chekhov telling us that (partly for that reason) it's not possible for some people to be good? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Cherry Orchard #1
45 perc 20. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, hosts Catherine Nichols and Sandra Newman discuss "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov, and particularly what it has to say about slavery, upper-class revolutionary types, and the twentieth-century tendency to turn all relationships into transactions. With added material from guest Isaac Butler, who tells us how Chekhov originally wrote the play for Stanislavsky, and the hijinks that ensued. Isaac Butler is a writer and theater director, co-author (with Dan Kose) of The World Only Spins Forward, and author of the upcoming The Method.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ten Book Retrospective #2
24 perc 19. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
The second part of a discussion between co-hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols about the first ten books discussed on Lit Century. How did suffering come to be seen as cool in the twentieth century? Is this related to the fact that most of the writers discussed had domestic help, and that the perspective of the people doing the cleaning is notably absent from their work? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ten Book Retrospective
28 perc 18. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
Co-hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols look back on the first ten books on Lit Century and what they tell us about the mindset of the 20th century. Why was the 20th century so obsessed with what is normal, and what is transgressive? How did normality become uncool? 20th century literature also tended to fetishize pain, particularly the pain of marginalized people. Why was this, and what does it mean? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Designated Mourner
32 perc 17. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, writer, actor and director John Cotter joins hosts Catherine Nichols and Sandra Newman to discuss Wallace Shawn's 1996 play "The Designated Mourner," about the fate of intellectuals during an authoritarian coup in an unnamed country. John Cotter directed The Designated Mourner in Denver in 2013 & 2014. There's a chapter about one of the performances in his forthcoming memoir,Losing Music, which is due out from Milkweed Editions in 2021. Elisa Gabbert, who played the role of Judy in that production, wrote a book of poems inspired by the experience, L'Heure Bleue, or The Judy Poems, which was published by Black Ocean Books in 2016.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Flowers in the Attic #2
33 perc 16. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, Catherine Nichols and Sandra Newman continue their discussion of V. C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic (1979) and the story behind the story—particularly the ableism Andrews encountered in how she was marketed to her readership, plus her strong opinions on gender that didn't stop her publisher from hiring a male ghostwriter to write under her name after her death in 1986.
Flowers in the Attic #1
26 perc 15. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, Catherine Nichols and Sandra Newman talk about V. C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic (1979), focusing on how the book is an allegory for the treatment of people with disabilities; Andrews herself had a serious spinal injury and used a wheelchair for most of her life. The hosts also discuss the book's notoriously transgressive subject matter, and how it's been dismissed as trash, largely because its fans were mostly teenaged girls.
The Haunting of Hill House #2
35 perc 14. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, author and editor Benjamin Dreyer joins hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols to discuss the all-time great haunted house novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Benjamin Dreyer is the author of Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, a sharp, funny guide to style and grammar, which also happens to be a New York Times bestseller. He is also the copy chief at Random House, in which capacity he worked on Let Me Tell You, a collection of previously unpublished work by Shirley Jackson. And for those who want to do extra reading, the Shirley Jackson biography mentioned in the podcast is Ruth Franklin's A Rather Haunted Life.
The Haunting of Hill House #1
28 perc 13. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, author and editor Benjamin Dreyer joins hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols to discuss the all-time great haunted house novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Benjamin Dreyer is the author of Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, a sharp, funny guide to style and grammar, which also happens to be a.New York Times bestseller. He is also the copy chief at Random House, in which capacity he worked on Let Me Tell You, a collection of previously unpublished work by Shirley Jackson. And some extra links: The Shirley Jackson biography mentioned in the podcast is A Rather Haunted Life; and here is Shirley Jackson's essay about the writing of Hill House, "Garlic in Fiction."
Blues for Mister Charlie #2
25 perc 12. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
Isaac Butler joins hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols to discuss James Baldwin's play "Blues for Mister Charlie" (1964), written to address the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, In this episode we discuss the troubled performance history of the play. We also talk about how Baldwin approached the writing of a play (a genre he generally disliked), and his place in the history of African-American writers grappling with the problem of writing political literature that spoke to both white and Black audiences. Isaac Butler is the author (with Dan Kois) of The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels In America, and also of the forthcoming The Method . He is also a theater director, most recently of The Trump Card, a meditation on the peculiar rise of Donald Trump; he also wrote and directed Real Enemies, a collaboration with the composer Darcy James Argue and the video artist Peter Nigrini, which was named one of the top ten live events of 2015 by the New York Times. He is the co-host of Slate's Working podcast.
Blues for Mister Charlie #1
29 perc 11. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, Isaac Butler joins hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols to discuss James' Baldwin's play "Blues for Mister Charlie" (1964). It was written to address the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, but Baldwin alters characters and events in surprising and significant ways, notably—and, at first glance, perversely—focusing the narrative on the moral struggles of a white lawyer. This week we discuss Baldwin's aims in making these choices, and how they come across in 2020. Isaac Butler is the author (with Dan Kois) of The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels In America, and also of the forthcoming The Method . He is also a theater director, most recently of The Trump Card, a meditation on the peculiar rise of Donald Trump; he also wrote and directed Real Enemies, a collaboration with the composer Darcy James Argue and the video artist Peter Nigrini, which was named one of the top ten live events of 2015 by the New York Times. He is the co-host of Slate's Working podcast.
Ariel
38 perc 10. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode about Sylvia Plath's 1965 poetry collection Ariel, writer and critic Elisa Gabbert joins the hosts to talk about the evolution of Plath's poetry and how her work turned into a cultural signal for "angry women" (see: Kat Stratford, 10 Things I Hate About You). Content note: Suicide and self-harm are discussed in this episode. Elisa Gabbert is the author of the poetry collections, L'Heure Bleue, The Self Unstable, and The French Exit. Her debut collection of essays, The Word Pretty, was published in 2018. The Self Unstable was chosen by the New Yorker as one of the best books of 2013. Gabbert's work has appeared in the New Yorker, Boston Review, The Paris Review Daily, Pacific Standard, Guernica, The Awl, Electric Literature, The Harvard Review, and many other venues. She lives in Denver.
Kristin Lavransdatter #2
31 perc 9. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In the second episode about Kristin Lavransdatter, the trilogy of historical novels that won Sigrid Undset the Nobel Prize, the hosts discuss the provincial politics of the early Nobel Prize with Timothy Paulson (whose great-grandfather was another winner), and talk about the novel's idiosyncratic treatment of Catholicism and paganism. You can find some supplementary reading about the book here and here. Timothy Paulson is the writer of several works of nonfiction for younger readers, including New York: the New Amsterdam Colony and Days of Sorrow, Years of Glory, a history of the Nat Turner slave revolt. He was the founder of Agincourt Press and his most recent book is a biography of the Indian educationalist Sadhu Vaswani, A Light to the World.
The Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy
39 perc 8. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
Welcome to Lit Century: 100 Years, 100 Books. Combining literary analysis with an in-depth look at historical context, hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols choose one book for each year of the 20th century, and—along with special guests—will take a deep dive into a hundred years of literature. On this episode, Sandra and Catherine discuss the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy by Sigrid Undset.
Frog and Toad Are Friends
28 perc 7. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this episode, co-hosts Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols invite guest Ellen Tarlow to discuss Arnold Lobel's classic Frog and Toad series, beginning with Frog and Toad Are Friends from 1970. Among other subjects, the episode discusses Lobel's preoccupation with solitude, his subtle handling of the minutiae of relationships, and how his work intersects with his personal biography (you can read more background here). Ellen Tarlow has worked in children's publishing for decades, and is the author of several books for young children, most recently Looking for Smile, a picture book exploring the issue of depression for kids 5-10, which Kirkus Reviews called "invaluable for this moment and beyond." Among her other books are Pinwheel Days and Mole Catches the Sky.
Cheaper by the Dozen #2 with April Holm
28 perc 6. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this week's episode, historian April Holm talks with co-hosts Nichols and Newman about Cheaper by the Dozen, a 1948 bestseller whose air of wholesome family fun has gradually shifted it into the children's literature category. Written by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, it's a comedy memoir of being raised by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, pioneering time-motion study experts who also had twelve children, whom they subjected to a regime of time-motion optimization. Historian April Holm (author of A Kingdom Divided: Evangelicals, Loyalty, and Sectionalism in the Civil War Era) considers the experience of rereading the book as an adult and finding jaw-droppingly dark overtones (animal torture and child exploitation, just to name two). What does the book—and other examples of the fun-despotic-dad genre, like Life With Father (1936) and Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1946)—have to tell us about the (somewhat rickety) construction of American nostalgia?
Cheaper by the Dozen #1
23 perc 5. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In this week's episode, historian April Holm talks with co-hosts Nichols and Newman about Cheaper by the Dozen, a 1948 bestseller whose air of wholesome family fun has gradually shifted it into the children's literature category. Written by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, it's a comedy memoir of being raised by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, pioneering time-motion study experts who also had twelve children, whom they subjected to a regime of time-motion optimization. Historian April Holm (author of A Kingdom Divided: Evangelicals, Loyalty, and Sectionalism in the Civil War Era) considers the experience of rereading the book as an adult and finding jaw-droppingly dark overtones (animal torture and child exploitation, just to name two). What does the book—and other examples of the fun-despotic-dad genre, like Life With Father (1936) and Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1946)—have to tell us about the (somewhat rickety) construction of American nostalgia?
Passing #2
29 perc 4. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In today's episode, Nichols and Newman discuss Nella Larsen's 1929 Harlem Renaissance classic Passing (1929) with novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge, focusing on the history and cultural significance of Black people passing as white, and how this and other issues are treated in the novel. Kaitlyn Greenidge is the author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman, which was chosen as one of the New York Times Critics top ten books of 2016 and of the forthcoming Libertie. She won the Whiting Award for fiction, and is the features director for Harper's Bazaar.
Passing #1
29 perc 3. rész Sandra Newman and Catherine Nichols
In today's episode, Nichols and Newman discuss Nella Larsen's 1929 Harlem Renaissance classic Passing (1929) with guest Megan Abbott, focusing on its groundbreaking treatment of gender and sexuality. Megan Abbott is the bestselling author of many novels, including Give Me Your Hand, which won the Anthony Award, and the forthcoming The Turnout, (which you can pre-order here). She has also written for TV series The Deuce and was co-creator and co-showrunner of the TV adaptation of her novel Dare Me. And because at Lit Century we love extra historical content, here's an article on novelist and critic Carl van Vechten, now best remembered for popularizing the music and literature of Harlem in white America; he was Larsen's best friend when she wrote Passing, and appears in the novel as Hugh Wentworth. And here's some fascinating background about LGBT life in the period, and how the Harlem Renaissance "… was surely as gay as it was black."
Speed:
Access and control your IntoRadio Cast compatibility devices on your local network!
You need to install a browser extension!
Chrome web store