When I read Old English, “The Battle of Maldon” or Beowulf or any of these texts, I read resilience and even in times of successive conflicts, which we have now, there’s an ability to be resolute and to seek to overcome that we would do well to emulate.
Our newest episode is a conversation with Professor Elaine Treharne, an expert of medieval literature and Director of Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis.
Transcript: Episode 5, Elaine Treharne
We got to talk with Elaine about her research and writing, her political and scholarly development, and above all about the beauty and fascination of early medieval literature. Our key text is the famously enigmatic poem generally known as “Wulf and Eadwacer,” translated here by Elaine:
“There are certain allegiances to the myth of a nation that should not be broken but would be necessarily broken if you were to follow a line of inquiry to its conclusion, which is basically what a poem would ask you to do.”
Our guest in Episode 4 is Solmaz Sharif, poet and Jones Lecturer in Stanford’s Creative Writing Program.
Transcript: Episode 4, Solmaz Sharif
In this episode, we got to talk with Solmaz about James Baldwin and Muriel Rukeyser, as well as Solmaz’s poetry collection Look, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award.
“If you really pause on that, ‘too sane to understand the modern world,’ it’s a very haunting phrase. Think about 1984 and Winston Smith’s struggle to remain sane. Think about Orwell’s proposition that if you remain sane that might prevent you from understanding.”
Our first show, an ad hoc recording in mid-November 2016, was a discussion of George Orwell in the context of the 2016 US election results.
Transcript: Reading After Trump, Episode 1