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Better Read than Dead: Literature from a Left Perspective

Better Read

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Better Read than Dead: Literature from a Left Perspective

Better Read than Dead: Literature from a Left Perspective

Better Read

2
Followers
6
Plays
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About Us

Three jerky socialists talk about books you've probably heard of. With Megan Tusler, Tristan Schweiger, and Katie K.

Latest Episodes

Episode 42: Journal of the Plague Year

ENot sure why we wanted to talk about Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year (1722) in the middle of a global pandemic -- let’s just say we needed some light reading. Sorry folks, we’re commies, and historicists, and literature helps us think about f*cked up structures of the past, and of the present, and that’s what we’re doing today. We get into the Puritan/Dissenting theology behind Defoe’s historical novel about the 1665 Great Plague of London. But we also discover that he got a lot of things right about epidemiology and quarantine protocols, even if he did think “smells” and “little dragons” might make you sick, and we discuss what pre-Victorian representations of poverty looked like (somewhat less sociopathic!). Also, learned 17th-century Drs Megan and Tristan prescribe remedies for your ills which may involve, er, interesting uses of tobacco smoke. We read the Penguin Classics edition edited by Cynthia Wall. Helen Thompson’s essay “‘It was impossible to know these People’: Secondary Qualities and the Form of Character in A Journal of the Plague Year” in Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation is a terrific exploration of 17th-century epistemology and Defoe’s novel-thing. For a modern history of the Great Plague, see A. Lloyd Moote and Dorothy C. Moote’s The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 42: Journal of the Plague Year

Episode 41: Of Mice and Men

EIt’s everyone’s favorite book from freshman English, John Steinbeck’s novella-play Of Mice and Men, which is about two migrant ranch workers in the 1930s and the incidents that befall them during one of their awful temp jobs. We do find the one moment of hilarity in this book, which concerns a very special asshole called Curley who keeps one of his hands in a big glove full of Vaseline to “keep it soft for his wife,” so there’s a little levity. We get into religion, class, loneliness, and the problems of fractured affects and bonds in the 1930s US. We discuss the many dead animals in this book, ranging in size from mice to dogs, and work through our collective annoyance with holding novelists to standards of political perfection (look, sometimes you stay friends with Elia Kazan). We recommend Barbara Foley’s Radical Representations: Politics and Form in U.S. Proletarian Fiction, 1929–1941. While they aren’t on Of Mice and Men, we also recommend Steinbeck’s journal Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath, in which he writes, “I'm not a writer; I've been fooling everybody, including myself,” which is… relatable. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

85 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Episode 41: Of Mice and Men

Episode 40: Parable of the Sower

EOn this episode, we talk environmental catastrophe, economic collapse, and racism in the 2020s. If any of that sounds awfully familiar, stay tuned, because we are diving into Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler’s 1993 novel about the long, slow end of the world. We get into class, the family, religion, the biblical parable (which we definitely all knew and did not have to google), race, and metaphor. We also chat about our cool, tall protagonist—a Black teenager who starts her own religion—and why blasting off into outer space with her sounds so much more appealing than the Elon Musk version. As you’re checking out more Octavia Butler, we recommend her 1980 essay “Lost Races of Science Fiction” on race, writing, and sci-fi. It was originally published in Transmission magazine, and you can find it reprinted in Vice’s Garage Magazine, Issue 15, as “In 1980: Octavia Butler Asked, Why Is Science Fiction So White?” Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

95 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Episode 40: Parable of the Sower

Episode 39: Things Fall Apart

EWe recorded this episode before the police murder of George Floyd and before the nationwide protests against structural racism and police terror. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and with all those fighting against white supremacism, capital, and the carceral state. This week, we take up a novel that deals with one specific scene in the long history of empire and anti-Black violence. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) concerns the early years of Britain’s formal colonization of what is now Nigeria. But it is also a story of precolonial Igbo society and culture, modernity, and one man’s damaging and obsessive masculinism. We talk anti-colonialism, race, paternity, gender, psychoanalysis, and ludicrous colonial uniforms. Penguin Classics has a very good deluxe edition that includes all of the African Trilogy -- Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, and Arrow of God. For more on Achebe, his contexts, and ongoing debates in his critical reception, check out Jago Morrison’s Chinua Achebe from Manchester University Press. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

88 MINJUN 7
Comments
Episode 39: Things Fall Apart

Episode 38: The Most Dangerous Game

EWe have made--and stand by--the claim that the whale is the most dangerous game of all. Well, apparently Richard Connell felt differently, because he wrote “The Most Dangerous Game” (1924), all about a Russian aristocrat and his human-hunting playground, Ship Trap Island, which is actually called that, and has a swamp called Death Swamp, which is actually called that. The story’s hero is also a giant dope, who falls off a yacht (?) smoking a pipe in the middle of the ocean because he’s super cool and hunts snow leopards for sport. And admits to it. We discuss Obvious Symbolism, why you’d have a Russian villain in 1924 (because he’s Russian, duh), and genres of human-hunting fiction, which sadly seems not to be a field of academic study as of yet. The academic conversations around this work are so few that a Project Muse search for “Zaroff” turns up nine results, so we suggest you listen to the Orson Welles Suspense episode from 1943: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecEVvjBRqn8. We then suggest you watch or listen to everything Welles ever did because he was a comrade. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

83 MINMAY 31
Comments
Episode 38: The Most Dangerous Game

Episode 37: On the Road

EOnce upon a time, Jack Kerouac got very drunk, taped a 120-foot roll of paper together, and started typing for three straight weeks. He ended up with On the Road (1957), in which Kerouac is “Sal Paradise,” his BFF Neal Cassady is “Dean Moriarty,” and which recounts their travels across the United States and Mexico -- full of cool musings on how wives are a drag, man, and how they call beer “cerveza” in Spanish. OK, we find plenty to dunk on in this famous Beat novel (e.g. misogyny, ambivalent-to-non-existent class politics or any politics for that matter, and racism/essentialism). But we also have a lot of great convo about the refusal of Cold War capitalist hegemony, homosociality and desire, the Beats, and how Kerouac is like a B minus minus minus Walt Whitman (sorry, we couldn’t resist). Also, Megan convinces Tristan and Katie that this is better if you read it as an eighteenth-century epistolary novel. We read the Penguin edition with an introduction by Kerouac biographer Ann Charters. For more on the Beats and gender, we highly recommend Michael Davidson’s Guys Like Us: Citing Masculinity in Cold War Poetics. And Megan’s article “Caption, Snapshot, Archive: On Allen Ginsberg's Photo-Poems” in the March 2019 issue of Criticism is a pretty kick-ass discussion of the Beats and image culture if we do say so ourselves. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MINMAY 24
Comments
Episode 37: On the Road

Episode 36: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill)

EIf you thought porn originated in 1972 or 2017 or with the invention of the pizza delivery man, goodness madam are you mistaken. We’re reading John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1748/49), which reminds us that porn has existed ever since the media to make it have been around (see also: the very hornt paintings from Pompeii ca. 79 CE). Our young heroine Fanny boinks her way through this touching novel, revealing a staggering knowledge of profuse pubes and metaphors for penetration. We discuss the bildungsroman, sex and commerce, eighteenth-century liberal philosophy, John Locke, and John Cleland being a shameless size queen. We also feel the need to mention that this is a listener request, and we take those extremely seriously except we still won’t read Infinite Jest so don’t ask. We read the Oxford edition edited by Peter Sabor. For a landmark account of the interlinkages between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pornography and philosophical discourses, see Frances Ferguson’s Pornography, the Theory: What Utilitarianism Did to Action. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MINMAY 17
Comments
Episode 36: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill)

Episode 35: Moby-Dick, Part 2

ERegrettably, we bring our discussion of this whale of a tale to a close today. That's right, we are wrapping up Moby-Dick (1851). We talk labor, the environment, liberalism, and that chapter where they all get together and...uh...you'll see. We also get into why Ahab and Elizabeth Holmes might be more alike than you think. Unless you already think they are very much the same. In which case, they are exactly as alike as you'd expect. We read the Norton Critical Edition edited by Hershell Parker and Harrison Hayford. If you want to set sail on a vast, beautiful sea of knowledge and harpoon some ideas about Melville, check out Myra Jehlen's chapter in Readings at the Edge of Literature (2002), “The Novel and the Middle Class in America.” There is also a good Emerson joke in there! Find us on Twitter and Instagram @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

88 MINMAY 10
Comments
Episode 35: Moby-Dick, Part 2

Episode 34: Moby-Dick, Part 1

EContinuing our Melville spectacular, we bring you the first of two episodes on Moby-Dick (1851). Yes, this is Melville’s famous, uh, novel? romance? manifesto? -- let’s say “book” and leave it at that -- about a megalomaniacal sea captain’s obsession with a really big whale. But did you know that whales are in fact fish? Honest, it’s in the book, people. Moby-Dick is about everything -- ontology, nature, society, the nation, race, ethnicity, queerness, and so much more. And we’re going to do our damnedest to get to all of it in these two shows. We love this bonkers text. We read the Norton Critical Edition edited by Hershell Parker and Harrison Hayford. If you want to read some very smart things about this whale of a tale, check out Herman Melville: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Myra Jehlen. To get your Moby-Dick fix, start with "Incomparable America" by Leo Bersani and "When Is a Painting Most Like a Whale?: Ishmael, Moby Dick, and the Sublime" by Bryan Wolf. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MINMAY 3
Comments
Episode 34: Moby-Dick, Part 1

Episode 33: Benito Cereno

EThis week, we begin our three-part Melville spectacular with our friend, comrade, and very first guest host, Peter Coviello, Professor of American literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Pete is a scholar of Melville, empire, intimacy, and queer theory, and he’s a fellow traveler on the good ship San Dominick where everything is regular and normal! On this episode we shoot the salty sea breeze about Melville’s 1855 novella Benito Cereno, where Melville takes on racism, slavery, imperialism, ding-dong sea captains, and why Very Nice Liberals and tyrannical exploitation are so often bunkmates on the R.M.S. Society. We also get into slave revolts, sentimentality, suspense, boats, religion, spooky skeletons, and a docuseries we made up called “The Dad Definitely Did It,” where who did it is… anybody’s guess! Plus, we chat about a very special barbershop at sea where Cap’n Crunch can get a nice, close shave. We read Benito Cereno in the Pete’s marvelous Penguin Classics edition Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories. His introduction includes the line “Reader: keep an eye on that dog,” and dives deep into Melville’s brilliance and rage. And it sure did learn us a thing or two about hangings! Also be sure to check out Pete’s terrific essay “The American in Charity: ‘Benito Cereno’ and Gothic Anti-Sentimentality” in Studies in American Fiction. Find us on Twitter and Instagram @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Pete on Twitter @pcoviell, Tristan @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

93 MINAPR 26
Comments
Episode 33: Benito Cereno

Latest Episodes

Episode 42: Journal of the Plague Year

ENot sure why we wanted to talk about Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year (1722) in the middle of a global pandemic -- let’s just say we needed some light reading. Sorry folks, we’re commies, and historicists, and literature helps us think about f*cked up structures of the past, and of the present, and that’s what we’re doing today. We get into the Puritan/Dissenting theology behind Defoe’s historical novel about the 1665 Great Plague of London. But we also discover that he got a lot of things right about epidemiology and quarantine protocols, even if he did think “smells” and “little dragons” might make you sick, and we discuss what pre-Victorian representations of poverty looked like (somewhat less sociopathic!). Also, learned 17th-century Drs Megan and Tristan prescribe remedies for your ills which may involve, er, interesting uses of tobacco smoke. We read the Penguin Classics edition edited by Cynthia Wall. Helen Thompson’s essay “‘It was impossible to know these People’: Secondary Qualities and the Form of Character in A Journal of the Plague Year” in Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation is a terrific exploration of 17th-century epistemology and Defoe’s novel-thing. For a modern history of the Great Plague, see A. Lloyd Moote and Dorothy C. Moote’s The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 42: Journal of the Plague Year

Episode 41: Of Mice and Men

EIt’s everyone’s favorite book from freshman English, John Steinbeck’s novella-play Of Mice and Men, which is about two migrant ranch workers in the 1930s and the incidents that befall them during one of their awful temp jobs. We do find the one moment of hilarity in this book, which concerns a very special asshole called Curley who keeps one of his hands in a big glove full of Vaseline to “keep it soft for his wife,” so there’s a little levity. We get into religion, class, loneliness, and the problems of fractured affects and bonds in the 1930s US. We discuss the many dead animals in this book, ranging in size from mice to dogs, and work through our collective annoyance with holding novelists to standards of political perfection (look, sometimes you stay friends with Elia Kazan). We recommend Barbara Foley’s Radical Representations: Politics and Form in U.S. Proletarian Fiction, 1929–1941. While they aren’t on Of Mice and Men, we also recommend Steinbeck’s journal Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath, in which he writes, “I'm not a writer; I've been fooling everybody, including myself,” which is… relatable. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

85 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Episode 41: Of Mice and Men

Episode 40: Parable of the Sower

EOn this episode, we talk environmental catastrophe, economic collapse, and racism in the 2020s. If any of that sounds awfully familiar, stay tuned, because we are diving into Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler’s 1993 novel about the long, slow end of the world. We get into class, the family, religion, the biblical parable (which we definitely all knew and did not have to google), race, and metaphor. We also chat about our cool, tall protagonist—a Black teenager who starts her own religion—and why blasting off into outer space with her sounds so much more appealing than the Elon Musk version. As you’re checking out more Octavia Butler, we recommend her 1980 essay “Lost Races of Science Fiction” on race, writing, and sci-fi. It was originally published in Transmission magazine, and you can find it reprinted in Vice’s Garage Magazine, Issue 15, as “In 1980: Octavia Butler Asked, Why Is Science Fiction So White?” Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

95 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Episode 40: Parable of the Sower

Episode 39: Things Fall Apart

EWe recorded this episode before the police murder of George Floyd and before the nationwide protests against structural racism and police terror. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and with all those fighting against white supremacism, capital, and the carceral state. This week, we take up a novel that deals with one specific scene in the long history of empire and anti-Black violence. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) concerns the early years of Britain’s formal colonization of what is now Nigeria. But it is also a story of precolonial Igbo society and culture, modernity, and one man’s damaging and obsessive masculinism. We talk anti-colonialism, race, paternity, gender, psychoanalysis, and ludicrous colonial uniforms. Penguin Classics has a very good deluxe edition that includes all of the African Trilogy -- Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, and Arrow of God. For more on Achebe, his contexts, and ongoing debates in his critical reception, check out Jago Morrison’s Chinua Achebe from Manchester University Press. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

88 MINJUN 7
Comments
Episode 39: Things Fall Apart

Episode 38: The Most Dangerous Game

EWe have made--and stand by--the claim that the whale is the most dangerous game of all. Well, apparently Richard Connell felt differently, because he wrote “The Most Dangerous Game” (1924), all about a Russian aristocrat and his human-hunting playground, Ship Trap Island, which is actually called that, and has a swamp called Death Swamp, which is actually called that. The story’s hero is also a giant dope, who falls off a yacht (?) smoking a pipe in the middle of the ocean because he’s super cool and hunts snow leopards for sport. And admits to it. We discuss Obvious Symbolism, why you’d have a Russian villain in 1924 (because he’s Russian, duh), and genres of human-hunting fiction, which sadly seems not to be a field of academic study as of yet. The academic conversations around this work are so few that a Project Muse search for “Zaroff” turns up nine results, so we suggest you listen to the Orson Welles Suspense episode from 1943: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecEVvjBRqn8. We then suggest you watch or listen to everything Welles ever did because he was a comrade. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

83 MINMAY 31
Comments
Episode 38: The Most Dangerous Game

Episode 37: On the Road

EOnce upon a time, Jack Kerouac got very drunk, taped a 120-foot roll of paper together, and started typing for three straight weeks. He ended up with On the Road (1957), in which Kerouac is “Sal Paradise,” his BFF Neal Cassady is “Dean Moriarty,” and which recounts their travels across the United States and Mexico -- full of cool musings on how wives are a drag, man, and how they call beer “cerveza” in Spanish. OK, we find plenty to dunk on in this famous Beat novel (e.g. misogyny, ambivalent-to-non-existent class politics or any politics for that matter, and racism/essentialism). But we also have a lot of great convo about the refusal of Cold War capitalist hegemony, homosociality and desire, the Beats, and how Kerouac is like a B minus minus minus Walt Whitman (sorry, we couldn’t resist). Also, Megan convinces Tristan and Katie that this is better if you read it as an eighteenth-century epistolary novel. We read the Penguin edition with an introduction by Kerouac biographer Ann Charters. For more on the Beats and gender, we highly recommend Michael Davidson’s Guys Like Us: Citing Masculinity in Cold War Poetics. And Megan’s article “Caption, Snapshot, Archive: On Allen Ginsberg's Photo-Poems” in the March 2019 issue of Criticism is a pretty kick-ass discussion of the Beats and image culture if we do say so ourselves. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MINMAY 24
Comments
Episode 37: On the Road

Episode 36: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill)

EIf you thought porn originated in 1972 or 2017 or with the invention of the pizza delivery man, goodness madam are you mistaken. We’re reading John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1748/49), which reminds us that porn has existed ever since the media to make it have been around (see also: the very hornt paintings from Pompeii ca. 79 CE). Our young heroine Fanny boinks her way through this touching novel, revealing a staggering knowledge of profuse pubes and metaphors for penetration. We discuss the bildungsroman, sex and commerce, eighteenth-century liberal philosophy, John Locke, and John Cleland being a shameless size queen. We also feel the need to mention that this is a listener request, and we take those extremely seriously except we still won’t read Infinite Jest so don’t ask. We read the Oxford edition edited by Peter Sabor. For a landmark account of the interlinkages between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pornography and philosophical discourses, see Frances Ferguson’s Pornography, the Theory: What Utilitarianism Did to Action. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MINMAY 17
Comments
Episode 36: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill)

Episode 35: Moby-Dick, Part 2

ERegrettably, we bring our discussion of this whale of a tale to a close today. That's right, we are wrapping up Moby-Dick (1851). We talk labor, the environment, liberalism, and that chapter where they all get together and...uh...you'll see. We also get into why Ahab and Elizabeth Holmes might be more alike than you think. Unless you already think they are very much the same. In which case, they are exactly as alike as you'd expect. We read the Norton Critical Edition edited by Hershell Parker and Harrison Hayford. If you want to set sail on a vast, beautiful sea of knowledge and harpoon some ideas about Melville, check out Myra Jehlen's chapter in Readings at the Edge of Literature (2002), “The Novel and the Middle Class in America.” There is also a good Emerson joke in there! Find us on Twitter and Instagram @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan on Twitter @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

88 MINMAY 10
Comments
Episode 35: Moby-Dick, Part 2

Episode 34: Moby-Dick, Part 1

EContinuing our Melville spectacular, we bring you the first of two episodes on Moby-Dick (1851). Yes, this is Melville’s famous, uh, novel? romance? manifesto? -- let’s say “book” and leave it at that -- about a megalomaniacal sea captain’s obsession with a really big whale. But did you know that whales are in fact fish? Honest, it’s in the book, people. Moby-Dick is about everything -- ontology, nature, society, the nation, race, ethnicity, queerness, and so much more. And we’re going to do our damnedest to get to all of it in these two shows. We love this bonkers text. We read the Norton Critical Edition edited by Hershell Parker and Harrison Hayford. If you want to read some very smart things about this whale of a tale, check out Herman Melville: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Myra Jehlen. To get your Moby-Dick fix, start with "Incomparable America" by Leo Bersani and "When Is a Painting Most Like a Whale?: Ishmael, Moby Dick, and the Sublime" by Bryan Wolf. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Tristan @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

87 MINMAY 3
Comments
Episode 34: Moby-Dick, Part 1

Episode 33: Benito Cereno

EThis week, we begin our three-part Melville spectacular with our friend, comrade, and very first guest host, Peter Coviello, Professor of American literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Pete is a scholar of Melville, empire, intimacy, and queer theory, and he’s a fellow traveler on the good ship San Dominick where everything is regular and normal! On this episode we shoot the salty sea breeze about Melville’s 1855 novella Benito Cereno, where Melville takes on racism, slavery, imperialism, ding-dong sea captains, and why Very Nice Liberals and tyrannical exploitation are so often bunkmates on the R.M.S. Society. We also get into slave revolts, sentimentality, suspense, boats, religion, spooky skeletons, and a docuseries we made up called “The Dad Definitely Did It,” where who did it is… anybody’s guess! Plus, we chat about a very special barbershop at sea where Cap’n Crunch can get a nice, close shave. We read Benito Cereno in the Pete’s marvelous Penguin Classics edition Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories. His introduction includes the line “Reader: keep an eye on that dog,” and dives deep into Melville’s brilliance and rage. And it sure did learn us a thing or two about hangings! Also be sure to check out Pete’s terrific essay “The American in Charity: ‘Benito Cereno’ and Gothic Anti-Sentimentality” in Studies in American Fiction. Find us on Twitter and Instagram @betterreadpod, and email us nice things at betterreadpodcast@gmail.com. Find Pete on Twitter @pcoviell, Tristan @tjschweiger, Katie @katiekrywo, and Megan @tuslersaurus.

93 MINAPR 26
Comments
Episode 33: Benito Cereno
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