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Literature and History

A podcast covering Anglophone literature from ancient times to the present.
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Literature and History
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Sep 15, 2016

The work of Sappho, Pindar, and other remarkable Greek lyric poets makes us question everything we think we know about poetry, what it is, and what it does.

Sep 1, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 10 of 10. The seventeen Prophetic Books, produced during war and diaspora, are both despairingly bleak and searingly hopeful.

Aug 25, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 9 of 10. What’s the Song of Songs doing in the Bible? Is it a pious hymn to God, or just a couple of horny lovers talking to each other?

Aug 16, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 8 of 10. If there is one Biblical book that explains all of life, thick and thin, love and anguish, that book is probably Ecclesiastes.

Jul 27, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 7 of 10. In the Book of Psalms,  a single, fascinating, familiar linguistic device propels the world’s most famous poems.

Jul 15, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 6 of 10. If God is so good, then why do the good and innocent suffer? The Book of Job’s aim is to answer this question.

Jun 29, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 5 of 10. The Historical Books tell of Israel’s conflicts with Syria, Assyria, Egypt, and finally, exile to the corridors of Babylon.

Jun 15, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 4 of 10. Eden, the Flood, the Commandments– all fine. But what’s with all the stuff about tents, sacrifices, and – uh – testicles?

Jun 1, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 3 of 10. Hear the Biblical story of creation and the first founders of Israel, and the texts that may have influenced this story.

May 25, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 2 of 10. There are tons of books,  thousands of proper nouns, and many versions of the Old Testament. But all of it fits into four main parts.

May 13, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 1 of 10. 1207 BCE. Two world empires. And between them, an unassuming strip of seacoast land that has been at the center of history, ever since.

Apr 27, 2016

The Odyssey, Part 3 of 3.  As we reach the violent climax of Odysseus’ great adventures, it’s time to spend some time considering Homer’s worldview.

Apr 19, 2016

The Odyssey, Part 2 of 3.  We know Odysseus and Achilles well. But what motivates, and distinguishes these two great Ancient Greek heroes?

Apr 13, 2016

The Odyssey, Part 1 of 3.  Adventure, monsters, temptresses, and a whole lot of wine-dark Aegean. Learn all about the world of Homer’s Odyssey.

Mar 27, 2016

The Iliad, part 3 of 3.  As the Iliad reaches its  spectacular climax, it’s time to ask a big question. Who wrote it?

Mar 27, 2016

The Iliad, part 2 of 3. They’re violent, unreliable, horny, and sometimes just plain weird. They’re the Homeric pantheon.

Mar 27, 2016

The Iliad, part 1 of 3. Homer’s Iliad is the Tyrannosaurus Rex of ancient epics. And at the core of its 24 books is one shiny metal.

Feb 12, 2016

Elementals, giants, titans and gods! Hesiod's Theogony chronicles a great war - one which would leave one entity sovereign over the cosmos.

Feb 12, 2016

Before Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, there was a grouchy farmer poet whose Works and Days continues to fascinate us.

Feb 12, 2016

Ancient Egypt produced a great deal of proverbs and wisdom literature. Some of it even slipped into the Bible. But how wise is wisdom literature?

Feb 12, 2016

We know about Ancient Egypt's pyramids, temples, and sarcophagi. What about its folktales and stories?

Feb 12, 2016

In the 3,500 year old Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, we can find the roots of the world's religions.

Feb 12, 2016

The Epic of Gilgamesh, composed 3,000-5,000 years ago, and translated in the 1860s and 70s, was one of the greatest literary discoveries of all time.

Feb 12, 2016

The Enuma Elish and the Atrahasis, in circulation 3,800 years ago, were Mesopotamia's creation and flood epics, making them 1,000 years older than Genesis.

Feb 12, 2016

For thousands of years, cuneiform was the means of transmitting information through space and time in the Ancient Near East. Then, something happened.

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