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Literature podcast for the casual academic. Based in Madrid, Spain. We dive deeper into the books we read, and provide literary discussion that won't cost you $60,000 and soul-crushing debt. However, we take no responsibility for your education.

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Podcast Episode's:
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 - thecasualacademic@gmail.com twitter - @casualacademic instagram - @thecasualacademic or follow us on facebook!
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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 - thecasualacademic@gmail.com facebook & instagram - @thecasualacademic twitter - @casualacademic Happy Listening, The Casual Academic
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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
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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 - thecasualacademic@gmail.com twitter - @casualacademic instagram - @thecasualacademic or follow us on facebook!
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Aside #19 - An Intro to Henry James & Our Top Creepy Tales
On our newest Aside, we introduce our new featured author Henry James, whose infamous novella "The Turn of the Screw" we'll be reading for our next episode. After that, we have a bit of a guessing game as to what are our respective top three creepy stories. Spoiler alert: Jake wins. We also posted a new article on our website talking about the stories we've picked, with links so you can read 'em (if you haven't already) and let us know what you think! Happy Listening, Jake & Alex
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Episode 24 - R.L. Stevenson, Plotting & Immortality in Adolfo Bioy Casares' "The Invention of Morel"
Hello! We are very excited to present our full-length episode on Adolfo Bioy Casares' beloved novella "The Invention of Morel." Apart from our blatant enthusiasm over his writing, we talk about the influence of Robert Louis Stevenson on Casares & his buddy Borges, as well as discuss into the roles fantastic and detective plotting play in the imaginative worlds of both writers. The plot is so mind-boggling in this book that we don't want to give any spoilers here, although in the episode it couldn't be avoided. Finally, we talk immortality, reality and its representation, and Jake gets very angry at his neighbor's dog. Don't forget to join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! We also have a book group on Goodreads, which we hope will be a great platform for continued discussion of the books we read. Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/198955-the-casual-academic-podcast Hope you guys enjoy! Jake & Alex
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Aside #18 - Argentine Literature, Borges & an Intro to Adolfo Bioy Casares' "The Invention of Morel"
TCA is back in full gear! On this Aside, we introduce one of our favorite recent reads, Adolfo Bioy Casares' "The Invention of Morel." Listen for a discussion on Argentine literary history and its relationship to politics & identity; Casares' relationship with Jorge Luis Borges, and the role of the fantastic in his work. Finally, we preview the topics that will be covered in our full-length episode. Don't forget to check out: - our instagram @thecasualacademic for upcoming episodes, our favorite books, and glimpses into our libraries. - our website www.thecasualacademic.com for a reminder of what we're reading next, and bibliographies for all of our episodes. Don't be shy! Write us @casualacademic on twitter or thecasualacademic@gmail.com for recommendations, opinions, and discussions on all things literature. And finally, we've created a group on Goodreads titled "The Casual Academic Podcast," where we are jonesing to talk with you about "The Invention of Morel," or any book we've read or you think we should read. Enjoy and thank you! Jake & Alex
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Aside #17 - Summer Reads, The Return of the Serial & Electric Lit's "Star Witness"
And we're back! The light in august has faded, and that means a return to work and, better news, the return of The Causal Academic. We catch up on our summers, what we read, and warn fellow travelers of the pitfalls of flying with Air Canada. More importantly, however, we discuss at length the return of the serial, and why serializing fiction on paper and digital mediums is a great idea. To wrap up, we talk about Electric Literature's serial "Star Witness," a story of seven installments by Joe Meno. We're excited to be back, and we hope you are too! We'll be jumping into Adolfo Bioy Casares' "The Invention of Morel" next, and then getting lost in V.S. Naipaul's "The Enigma of Arrival," so if you haven't read 'em yet, get on the train! Saludos! Alex & Jake
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Episode 23 - Belief, Con Artists & The American Soul in Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"
We're back with a brand new episode, after some delay caused by the ever-dreaded summer camp schedule - just kidding, we love escaping the big city, but it's good to be back and talking about Neil Gaiman's "American Gods," a novel loved by many and recently adapted to TV. It was a lighter turn for us, but we still enjoyed Gaiman's perspective on U.S. culture and its relationship to myths touching religion, identity and the long-established character of the grifter, or con artist. There is a definite postmodern touch to the novel, and we discuss some of our favorite references, as well as Gaiman's use of Joseph Campbell's ideas found in "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." Finally, stick around for the end when we compare the TV series to the book and highlight what we like about the new adaptation. ***Some news - for you Goodreads users out there, we've started a reading group called "The Casual Academic Podcast," where you can find discussion questions on the books we've read, peruse our bookshelves, and get involved in the preparation for our episodes! We're excited about it, and we hope you will be too. **Don't forget, you can find us on instagram, twitter, facebook and soundcloud, or email us at thecasualacademic@gmail.com. Finally, check our website www.thecasualacademic.com for a bibliography of the episode, including articles, interviews and videos on "American Gods." Happy listening!
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Aside #16 - Weddings, Summer Reads & an intro to Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"
We're getting the band back together! After a few guest-filled episodes we're back to talk summer reads, weddings and of course Neil Gaiman and his mammoth tome "American Gods." In our introduction to our new featured writer, we outline his decorated and eclectic career, the praise and criticism of "American Gods," and the hullabaloo surrounding the new TV adaptation.
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Episode 22 - Science in Sci-Fi, Aliens, and a Critique of Democracy in "The Black Cloud"
Special guest Shawn Moksvold joins me to discuss Sir Fred Hoyle's "The Black Cloud." We talk about real science in Science Fiction and our conceptualization of aliens. We also think about Fred Hoyle's unique criticism of democracy. If you thought "The Handmaid's Tale" was scary in how it pertains to today, you won't want to miss this episode! *Note: What happens when you try to record in 105 F heat and the A.C. is broken? This episode! We apologize for the occasional background noises. Luckily, we survived.
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Aside #15 - A Special Guest, "Good" Science Fiction & Our Imminent Death
In this Aside, special guest Shawn Moksvold joins me to talk about our upcoming episode on Fred Hoyle's "The Black Cloud." We introduce Shawn, talk about Science Fiction in general and why it is maligned, and then preview Hoyle's novel. BE SURE NOT TO MISS: Shawn and I finally settle the great debate on which is a better Sci-Fi movie: Mars Attacks or Independence Day.
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Episode 21 - Speculative Fiction, Language and Survival in Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale"
In this episode, special guest Zak Breckenridge joins us to talk about Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." We discuss the power dynamics of language in a dystopia, survival, and maintaining a sense of self. Plus, we consider how exactly to categorize the novel (if that is even important) as well as try to navigate through all the internet noise surrounding this book/television show. If you liked the novel or the show and are fed up with disingenuous internet opinions, don't miss this one!
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Aside #14 - Lit Hub, Environmental Humanities & an Intro Discussion on "The Handmaid's Tale"
On our new Aside, Zak Breckenridge is back on the show with us to talk about getting featured on LitHub, the emerging academic field of Environmental Humanities, and of course help us introduce our new featured book "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. We mention some of the questions we'll be exploring on our full-length episode, and shamelessly gush about how much we love Atwood's 1985 novel. WARNING: we have purposely avoided all talk about the new Hulu series adaptation, and the show itself so please, no spoilers!
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Vanity, Philosophy & Literary Lineages in Machado de Assis' "The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas"
On our 20th episode, Alex is joined by frequent casual academic Clay Oppenhuizen to discuss one of their favorite novels, "The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas," otherwise known as "Epitaph of a Small Winner." While Jake is off galavanting through the icy beauty of Finnish Lapland, Clay and Alex talk about their love for Machado de Assis, its unique place in literary history and interpretation, as well as the various philosophical and literary games Machado, or in this case Brás, plays with the reader. Do you also love Machado de Assis? Have you never heard that name before? It doesn't matter! Email us at thecasualacademic@gmail.com or contact us via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to join the conversation and to share your thoughts about Machado, his novel and our discussion of it.
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Aside #13 - 19th Century Brazil & Machado de Assis
On our 13th Aside, we are joined by fellow casual academic Clay Oppenhuizen to talk 19th century Brazilian literature and history, as well as introduce our second featured author of Brazilian Literature Month, Machado de Assis. We are reading his 1881 novel "The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas," otherwise known as 'Epitaph of a Small Winner." Apart from presenting an angle of Brazilian culture and society at the end of the 19th century, we also talk (bordering on rant) about how Western media and literary circles, perhaps inadvertently, downplay the importance and uniqueness of Brazilian writers. We hope you enjoy the episode, and don't forget to check out our website www.thecasualacademic.com for articles, bibliographies and further reading for every episode, and a catalogue of all our episodes and asides. To keep this project going, we would like to ask for listener reviews on directories such as iTunes, Stitcher, Tune-in Radio, Podcast Addict, etc. If you are kind enough to have written one, send us the review at thecasualacademic@gmail.com with a request for a book you would like to be featured on our podcast!
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Episode 19 - Narrative Techniques & The Thing Itself in Clarice Lispector's "Near to the Wild Heart"
Brazilian Literature Month at The Casual Academic is in full swing! On this episode, we discuss the debut novel of Clarice Lispector, "Near to the Wild Heart." We talk about her unique narrative style, it's break with institutionalized novelistic forms in Brazil, and of course "the thing itself." If you are interested in approaching Brazilian literature, this is the place to start. you can send us your thoughts, questions and ideas about Clarice's novel and our discussion at thecasualacademic@gmail.com, as well as read the articles and books we consulted on our website www.thecasualacademic.com. Don't forget, you can also reach us on twitter, facebook and instagram!
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Aside #12 - Brazilian Lit Month, an introduction to Clarice Lispector & "The Hour of the Star"
The Casual Academic's Brazilian Literature Month has officially started! You might say, isn't it March 20th? Well, you would be right, but we operate on a calendar the likes of Borges would appreciate. On this Aside, we speculate on the reasons why Brazilian Literature isn't the powerhouse it should be, and we present our two featured authors - Clarice Lispector and Machado de Assis. We briefly discuss the life and work of Lispector, and Alex shares his experience reading "The Hour of the Star." Last but not least, we also preview the next episode on Clarice's first novel "Near to the Wild Heart."
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Special - Live Recording of the Launch of Literary Zine "La Errante," from Desperate Literature
The recording of the launch event of La Errante, A Journal of Art & Literature based out of Madrid, Spain. The event was recorded live last Friday (10/4/2017) at the bookstore Desperate Literature in Madrid. The event was a total success and a lot of fun. It was a true pleasure to be able to be in a place with so many amazing people. We are very proud to be able to present this recording to all of our listeners. You'll hear Layla Benitez-James, Martha Sprackland, Robert Greer, Emma Roulette, James Womack and Terry Craven reading poems and flash fiction from the first issue (Layla's poems are her own). A big thanks to Terry, Robert and Charlotte Delattre at Desperate Lit for hosting the event and for letting us record as well as to everyone else involved in such an exciting and worthwhile project. Editors of La Errante -Terry Craven -Robert Greer -Emma Roulette -Martha Sprackland -James Womack Go to our instagram account to check out their profiles.
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Episode 18 - Love, Violent Sexuality, and Western Influence in Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask
On our 18th episode Clay Oppenhuizen joins us for a heady discussion of Yukio Mishima's 1949 novel Confessions of a Mask. We continue our brief overview of some historical and cultural background of Japan's Meiji Restoration to lay the groundwork for Mishima's love/hate relationship with the Western world, his narrator's struggles to accept himself and his society in post-war Japan, and the influence of German literature and philosophy on Mishima's thought-provoking, brilliant novel. You can send us your thoughts, questions and ideas about Mishima's novel and our discussion at thecasualacademic@gmail.com, as well as read the articles and books we consulted on our website www.thecasualacademic.com. Don't forget, you can also reach us on twitter, facebook and instagram!
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Aside #11 - Clay Oppenhuizen's Return, PhDs & Yukio Mishima
On our 11th Aside we welcome back our old friend and frequent guest Clay Oppenhuizen, who catches us up on his life, studies and upcoming article on our website about Ursula LeGuin's "The Left Hand of Darkness." We then introduce our new featured author Yukio Mishima and discuss his diverse artistic output, various personae, beliefs and his novel "Confessions of Mask" for our upcoming 18th episode. Don't forget to look for us on social media, send us comments, questions or recommendations at thecasualacademic@gmail.com, and to check out our website thecasualacademic.com.
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Episode 17 - Female Gothic, Neurosis & Humor in Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle
On this episode we discuss Shirley Jackson's unsettlingly masterpiece in light of a general renewed interest in her work and life. We discuss her refreshing take on the gothic story and setting, the various interpretations of the castle and its relationship to the minds of Merricat and Constance, and celebrate the dark humor that abounds in "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" as well as the recently published "Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings." We hope you enjoy the episode, and don't forget to check out our website www.thecasualacademic.com for new articles, bibliographies and further reading for every episode, and a catalogue of all our episodes and asides. To keep this project going, we would like to ask for listener reviews on directories such as iTunes, Stitcher, Tune-in Radio, Podcast Addict, etc. If you are kind enough to have written one, send us the review at thecasualacademic@gmail.com with a request for a book you would like to be featured on our podcast!
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Aside #10 - Website Articles, Winter Reads and Shirley Jackson
It would seem that we are starting a schedule of sorts. Will it last? We hope so. Anyway, on this Aside we talk about our current featured article on Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice," the books we read over the winter holidays, and mostly importantly, introduce Shirley Jackson as our new featured author here at The Casual Academic. We are reading "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" for our 17th full-length episode, so if you haven't, go out and read it! Don't forget, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, where we post articles and interviews pertinent to our discussions, as well as on Instagram where our favorite books, books to be read, and anything literary can be seen. Lastly, our website is always getting better, and now you can find all of our articles catalogued for your reading pleasure, and also all of our episodes and upcoming reads. You guys rock, and thank you for listening!
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Episode 16 - The Poetics of Suspension in "The Rings of Saturn" and the greatness of W.G. Sebald
On our 16th episode, we fall at the feet of W.G. Sebald, a German writer and academic whose work "The Rings of Saturn" blew us away with its haunting voice, genre-exploding form, and dizzying presentation of history, memory and memoir. We discuss the careful layering of connections and inter-textual references Sebald wove into "The Rings of Saturn," as well as his take on historical discourse and the role memory plays on individuals as well as collective consciousness. From the book's title to beetles, connections are discovered and marveled at, and we believe you will be as excited as we are about this writer and his unique vision. Don't forget to check out our website, www.thecasualacademic.com, where you'll find all of our episodes for your listening pleasure, as well as our new featured article on Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice." If you'd like to join the discussion on W.G. Sebald, Thomas Mann, or any writer or book for that matter, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, as well as send us an email at thecasualacademic@gmail.com!
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Aside #9 - Our New Website and an Introduction to W.G. Sebald's "The Rings of Saturn"
On our 9th Aside, we talk about the ins and outs of our recently launched website, and introduce our author and work for our 16th and final episode of 2016, W.G. Sebald and his phenomenal book "The Rings of Saturn." We also ask our listeners for bourbon recommendations in order to properly thank our webmaster for all his help on our website. If you have any thoughts on bourbon, Sebald, or the decadence of civilization as we conceive of it, let us know on twitter, instagram, facebook, or email us at thecasualacademic@gmail.com! We are very proud of our website, take a look here! www.thecasualacademic.com
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Episode 15 - Ambiguity, Violence and the Postcolonial Condition in Season of Migration to the North
On our 15th episode, we tackle Tayeb Salih's widely acclaimed novel Season of Migration to the North. Voted as the most important book written in Arabic of the 20th century, Salih's novel writes back to the empire, but leaves problematic spaces that make the postcolonial condition anything but black and white. Also featured on this episode are writers Edward Said, Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe and even a little Shakespeare. Our new episode coincides with the launch of our new website! Check it out here at http://thecasualacademic.com/ You will find all of our episodes catalogued, as well as our bibliographies and recommended reading for each episode! Be sure to check out our featured article on Jorge Luis Borges, written by Jacob Welcker.
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Aside #8 - Tayeb Salih, Edward Said & a preview of "Season of Migration to the North"
In our 8th Aside, we preview our upcoming episode on Tayeb Salih's "Season of Migration to the North," and its place among Arabic as well as postcolonial literature. We also introduce Edward Said and his landmark text "Orientalism," which we will be using in our full-length episode on Salih's novel.
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Episode 14 - Our Favorite Short Horror & Listener Recommendations
It is the beginning of the end of Horror Month here at The Casual Academic. Our 14th episode is a collection of some of our favorite short creepy tales, as well as a few that were recommended by some of our listeners. We discuss ambiguity, some more about atmosphere, and talk about the following authors - Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Algernon Blackwood, Ryunosuke Akutagawa and Kazuo Ishiguro.
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Episode 13 - Mirages, Dread and the Unreliable Narrator in Lovecraft's "At The Mountains of Madness"
We continue our streak of Horror Month 2016 with an episode dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft's famous 1936 novella. Our 13th episode no less. Listen for a continued discussion on the perennially fascinating use of the "Terra Incognita," a comparison to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," as well as the Shoggoth as allegory and our new favorite academic field, Mirage Studies. If we missed anything, make sure to let us know on our Facebook page, tweet us at @casualacademic, or write us an email at thecasualacademic@gmail.com. Happy listening!
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Episode 12 - The World, The Fiction & The Philosophy of Thomas Ligotti
We are back with our first full episode of Horror Month, and equally proud to present the FIRST podcast episode dedicated to the writer Thomas Ligotti (on iTunes and Stitcher at least). Jake reads a passage from one of our favorite stories, which launches us into a discussion on Ligotti's technique and vision; two things that are intricately linked to his philosophy of Pessimism. Our discussion includes stories from "Grimscribe: His Lives and Works," "Songs of a Dead Dreamer," "Teatro Grottesco," and his non-fictional work "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race."
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Aside #7 - Ligotti, Lovecraft and the Spectral History of the American Novel
In this special Aside for Horror month, Alex and Jake discuss Thomas LIgotti, H.P. Lovecraft and the weird history of the American Novel. They also preview the upcoming episodes on Thomas Ligotti (Songs of a Dead Dreamer/Grimscribe) and H.P. Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness). Finally, they ask for listener input on what short stories to read for the Halloween episode.
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Episode 11 - Semiotics, Sublimation and Inter-Textuality in Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose"
We are joined by our returning guest Zak Breckenridge in a conversation about the theories, ideas, and books behind Umberto Eco's debut novel. With his help, we establish a baseline understanding of Semiotics in order to make sense of the ways in which our author incorporated his own academic pursuits in "The Name of the Rose," as well as discuss the myriad of ideas, philosophies, authors and other books that appear in this labyrinthine "detective novel." We have to ask though, can we consider Eco's novel a whodunnit? We have our own opinions, but we would like to hear yours as well! Let us know what you think on Twitter, Facebook or email us at thecasualacademic@gmail.com. Enjoy!
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Aside #6 - University of Chicago, Academia and Previewing Eco's "The Name of the Rose"
In this Aside, Alex is joined by Clay and Zak to talk about their days at University of Chicago, broader themes about academia and preview the next episode on Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose."
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Episode 10 - Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin & Richard Wright in "Between The World & Me"
We are happy to bring you our 10th episode on Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between The World And Me." Alex is joined by returning guest and fellow casual academic Clay Oppenhuizen and a new voice on our show, Leselle Hatcher. These three ex-pats dissect race in the U.S., and the history of black thought that can be seen in Coates' phenomenal book. Two authors are focused on in particular: Richard Wright and James Baldwin - how their work and thought permeate "Between The World And Me" and help shape it into the demasking, truth-seeking book that it is. The American Dream is interrogated, hard looks are taken at the soul of the United States of America, and history invades the present on this episode. NOTE: This episode is not for the closed-minded. If you find that you have one, you're invited to listen at your own risk of offense...which is your own problem.
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Aside #5 pt. ll - The Book Review Draft
In Part ll, the 2016-2017 season of The Casual Academic is decided in an intense and electrifying five-round book review draft. Psyche-outs, sleight of hand, and a book nobody wants on their kickball team. Alex might have made a comparison between Venedikt Erofeev and Allen Iverson. Maybe. You'll have to listen to find out.
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Episode 9 - The Devil, The Gothic & Ignoring the Divine in O'Connor's "The Violent Bear It Away"
After a long delay, we are back with an episode devoted to the wondrous Flannery O'Connor. We take our time in discussing her philosophy of writing; what the gothic does in "The Violent Bear It Away"; why her works appeal to religious and nonreligious readers alike; John Hawkes and his opinion of O'Connor's "devilish imagination" and of course the devil himself.
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Aside #5 - Fall Reads, Speculative Fiction & Thomas Ligotti
After a slight July delay, we are back with some pretty cool news about The Casual Academic project, as well as discussing our choices for our late summer and fall reads. Later on, Alex & Jake chat about American horror fiction, and the cosmically horrifying recurrence of The Yellow King and Carcosa. Bierce, Chambers, Lovecraft, True Detective....
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Aside #4 News and Summer Reading Preview
Alex and Jacob had to postpone the episode on "The Violent Bear It Away" due to work conflicts until August. In the meantime, listen to them talk about creating their magnum opus known as Peter Pan in the Pyrenees mountains and how living in a 14th century monastery can be complicated. Plus, summer reading goals. Let us know yours! thecasualacademic@gmail.com
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Aside #3 - Southern Gothic & Listener Questions
In Aside #3, Alex and Jacob answer listener questions, talk Southern Gothic literature and preview the next podcast on Flannery O'Connor's "The Violent Bear It Away." For all questions: thecasualacademic@gmail.com
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Episode 8 - Terra Incognita, Utopia and I & Thou in Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Left Hand of Darkness"
On this episode, Alex & Jake with their guest Clay Oppenhuizen contemplate LeGuin's inclusion of different perspectives such as journal entries, oral tales and investigative reports to tell the story of Genly Ai, and that of Gethen. Stick around at the end for Jake's deep-seated dystopian fears.
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Aside #2 - Sci-Fi, Ursula Le Guin, an introduction to our guest Clay Oppenhuizen
On this Aside, we talk about what sci-fi can do, Ursula Le Guin's relationship with the academy, and our guest Clay Oppenhuizen proves himself more articulate than the both of us.
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Episode 7 - The 20th Century Catholic Writer & Paradox in Graham Greene's "The Power and The Glory"
On this episode, Jake and Alex talk about why Graham Greene's tag as a Catholic writer is restricting, and how in his acclaimed masterpiece he uses paradox both to create his fallen world and its characters (otherwise known as "Greeneland")and at the same time reaffirm his faith in a way that befits the century in which he was writing. A return to Modernism on our ever-evolving podcast? perhaps.
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Aside #1 - A Bit About Ourselves & an intro to Graham Greene
In Aside # 1, Alex and Jacob talk about their backgrounds and the odd books that got them interested in reading during their formative years. Also, they preview their next podcast episode on Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory." *If you have any questions that you would like answered for the next Aside episode, please email us at thecasualacademic@gmail.com or tweet at us @casualacademic
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Episode 6 - Borderlands, Self-Other and the Failure of Language in J.M. Coetzee's "Disgrace"
In this episode, Jake and Alex discuss J.M. Coetzee's controversial book "Disgrace," which won him the Man Booker Prize for a second time in 1999. Race, animals, poetics and Post-Apartheid reality are addressed.
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Episode 5 - The Russian Post-Modern Condition in Venedikt Erofeev's Moscow to the End of the Line
In this episode, Jake and Alex give a general introduction to Postmodernism in Russian 20th century literature, and where it can be located in Venedikt Erofeev's beloved "Moscow to the End of the Line." Strange alcoholic recipes abound, hand in hand with the subversive nature of this "poema" in all its postmodern, enigmatic glory. Bibliography: 1. "In Praise of Booze: 'Moskva-Petushki' and Erasmian Irony," Oliver Ready. The Slavonic & East European Review, 2010. 2. "The Origins and Meaning of Russian Postmodernism," Michael Epstein. Published by Emory University for The National Council Soviet and Eastern European Research, 1993. 3. "Venedikt Erofeev's 'Moskva-Petushki': Performance and Performativity in the Late Soviet Text," Ann Komaromi. The Slavic and East European Journal, 2011. 4. "The Problem of Postmodernism in Russian Literary History: A Comparative Reading of 'Summer in Baden-Baden' and 'Moscow to the End of the Line,'" Vadim Shneyder. Yale University. 5. "Russian Postmodernist Fiction: Dialogue with Chaos," Mark Lipovetsky. M.E. Sharpe, 1999. 6. "Reference Guide to Russian Literature," Neil Cornwell. Routledge, 2013.
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Episode 4 - Narrative Pathways & Alternate Histories in Jorge Luis Borges' "Fictions"
On this episode, we discuss various stories found in Jorge Luis Borges' "Fictions," and in the process might have created a labyrinth of our own. In thinking about what many “boom” writers of Latin America were playing with in their fictional work, we draw upon Kafka, parallel universes, and some other-worldly music (made on Garage Band) to help us out. Some of the highlighted stories are "The Garden of Forking Paths," "Death and the Compass," "The Library of Babel," and "The Aleph," (taken from a different collection of short stories).
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Episode 3 - Saudade & Memory in Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast"
In our third episode, we take on Ernest Hemingway's memoir in a conversation about the genre of memoir, saudade and the fiction of memory.
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Episode 2 - An Assortment of Franz Kafka
The second installment of our podcast, The Casual Academic (As I Lay Reading). Alex and Jake make their way through the dank murky waters of meaning in A Country Doctor, In the Penal Colony, A Report to an Academy, and touch on some other stories. It's all very Kafkaesque. NOTE: There is a noticeable improvement in sound quality and from here on out should involve no echo or static. However, there were one or two rough edits. We're still learning. Thanks for any constructive feedback and we are looking forward to your comments.
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Episode 1 - The Apollonian & Dionysian in Thomas Mann's "Death In Venice"
Our flagship entry into the world of podcasting. Our first episodes covers dangerous obsession and cholera outbreaks in Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. NOTE: First podcast. The sound quality isn't optimal but the following episodes are of much better quality for your ears. Appreciate all comments and constructive criticism. WARNING: All the recording, music, editing and rampant speculation is of our own doing, for better or for worse.
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