Literature

Ulixes mosaic at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia. 2nd century AD.

Daniel Mendelsohn was surprised—and unnerved—when his 81-year father enrolled in his seminar on "The Odyssey." And then delighted to see how his dad’s cranky comments excited his students. The experience also brought Daniel closer to his dad.

Making notes
Air Dates:
  • September 16, 2017

If everyone’s a critic online, does it mean that cultural criticism doesn’t matter anymore?

Robot boy

Alexander Weinstein’s “Children of the New World” is a collection of cautionary tales about extreme emotional attachment to software and silicon.  

bamboo graffitt

If climate change is the most urgent problem facing humanity, why are there so few novels about it? Acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh believes that’s a big problem. He says climate change is less a science problem than a crisis of imagination.

earth from space

We’re starting to see a new kind of fiction: climate fiction. Lidia Yuknavitch’s “The Book of Joan” is one of the most stunning examples. It’s the story of a near-future where Earth is decimated and the last few survivors are stranded in space.

Monster Dogs

Kirsten Bakis first wrote her story of biomechanically-enhanced, hyper-intelligent dogs 20 years ago, and it’s been a cult favorite ever since. So why create a post-modern Frankenstein story with dogs at the heart of the tale?

revolutionary soldier

In the final volume of Laurie Halse Anderson's “Seeds of America” trilogy, white colonists everywhere can be heard talking about liberty and freedom – just not for African Americans. 

"My Friend Dahmer" by Derf Backderf

What do you do when your buddy in high school turns out to be the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer?

Books and a figure

There’s a theory that reading fiction helps us learn to understand other people — and in the process, become kinder, better, more empathetic ourselves.

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