35 RTB Books In Dark Times 10: Martin Puchner

RTB listeners already know the inimitable Martin Puchner from that fabulous RTB episode about his “deep history” of literature and literacy, The Written World. You may even know he has a family memoir coming out soon, The Language of Thieves.

But it took Books in Dark Times to uncover his secret hankering for tales of the British aristocracy, and for off-kilter modernist texts.

Boccaccio, The Decameron (c. 1370)

The Thousand and One Nights (1704)

Daniel Defoe, Journal of the Plague Year (1722)

P. G. Wodehouse, The Jeeves books and beyond

Thomas Mann, “Death in Venice” (1912)

Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game (1943)

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1964)

Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and other diaries (1933)

Ancient Egyptian Literature

Epic of Gilgamesh (the brilliant David Ferry translation…)

Peter Brown, Through the Eye of a Needle (2012)

Listen to the episode here:

Read transcript here:

Upcoming Episodes: Books in Dark Times will soon continue with Elizabeth Bradfield, poet, naturalist, Arctic voyager. In upcoming weeks, we also pivot towards another present darkness. David Cunningham and Daniel Kryder (both experts on American white supremacism and police) join Elizabeth and John to inaugurate a short series on race and inequity in policing. That conversation starts by comparing the George Floyd protests to past moments of organized upheaval and transformation.

Author: plotznik

I teach English (mainly the novel and Victorian literature) at Brandeis University, and live in Brookline.

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