Scott Yarbrough and Kirk Curnutt public
[search 0]
Download the App!
show episodes
 
Artwork

1
Great American Novel

Scott Yarbrough and Kirk Curnutt

Unsubscribe
Unsubscribe
Monthly
 
Few literary terms are more hotly debated, discounted, or derided than the "Great American Novel." But while critics routinely dismiss the phrase as at best hype and as at worst exclusionary, the belief that a national literature commensurate with both the scope and the contradictions of being American persists. In this podcast Scott Yarbrough and Kirk Curnutt examine totemic works such as Herman Melville's Moby-Dick and Toni Morrison's Beloved that have been labeled GANs, exploring their th ...
  continue reading
 
Loading …
show series
 
The Great American Novel Podcast episode 28 considers JD Salinger’s landmark 1951 classic, The Catcher in the Rye. Your hosts discuss Salinger’s famous reclusiveness, the book’s continuing appeal, and its influence on both the genre of so-called “young adult literature” and post-breakdown lit. We examine the novel in its role of the creation of the…
  continue reading
 
Often hailed as the quintessential exemplum of Reagan-era postmodernism, Don DeLillo's eighth novel, White Noise (1985), is part academic satire, part media excoriation, and part exploration of the "simulacrum" or simulated feel of everyday life. With its absurdist asides on the iconicity of both Elvis and Hitler, the unrelenting stress of consumer…
  continue reading
 
The 26th episode of the Great American Novel Podcast delves into Carson McCullers’ 1940 debut novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Published when the author was only 23, the novel tells the tale of a variety of misfits who don’t seem to belong in their small milltown in depression-era, 1930s Georgia. Tackling race, disability, sexuality, classism, s…
  continue reading
 
Published in 1881, The Portrait of a Lady was Henry James's seventh novel and marked his transition away from the novel of manners that only three years earlier had made his novella Daisy Miller a succès de scandale toward the more meticulous, inward study of individual perception, or what would come to be known as psychological realism. The story …
  continue reading
 
Great American Novel Podcast 24 considers Joan Didion’s 1970 novel Play It as It Lays, which shut the door on the 60s and sped down the freeway into the 70s, eyes on the rearview mirror all the while. In a wide-ranging discussion which touches not only upon Didion and her screenwriter husband but also John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway, the Manson cult, …
  continue reading
 
William Faulkner's fifth published novel, As I Lay Dying (1930), is a self-described tour de force that the author cranked out in roughly two months while working as the night manager at the University of Mississippi power plant in his hometown of Oxford. This dark tragicomedy about a family on a quest to bury its matriarch helped win the author hi…
  continue reading
 
In Great American Novel Podcast Episode 22, we wrestle with the old Thoreau quote "The majority of men lead lives of quiet desperation" as we delve into the soul-sapping mid-century suburbs in Richard Yates' 1961 novel Revolutionary Road. Join the hosts for a conversation that considers other suburban chroniclers such as Updike and Cheever and othe…
  continue reading
 
Only thirty years old this year, Ernest J. Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying (1993) is a powerful testament to social justice and to the search for individual dignity in an oppressive legal system. Set in the late 1940s in a small Louisiana community, the book tells the story of two men, one a convicted murderer on death's row (Jefferson) and the other…
  continue reading
 
In Great American Novel Podcast Episode 20, your fearless (or is it feckless) hosts find themselves in the damp swamps and thick scrublands of north central Florida in the post-Reconstruction era as we struggle to survive with the settlers of the brush country in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' Pulitzer Prize winning 1938 novel, The Yearling. We discuss …
  continue reading
 
Season three kicks off with a fiftieth anniversary celebration of Thomas Pynchon's postmodernist whirl-a-gig Gravity's Rainbow. Originally published on February 28, 1973, this encyclopedic inquiry into the systematicity of existence, power, and technology was just this week described by Esquire as "one of the weirdest, richest, most frustrating, in…
  continue reading
 
In Great American Novel Podcast Episode 18, our final Season 2 episode, we plunge ourselves into New Orleans of the fin de siècle in Kate Chopin's 1899 novel The Awakening. Edna Pontellier wrestles with a life she never chose, beset by a bore of a husband, a flimsy excuse for a lover, and a patriarchal society which has tried to restrain her choice…
  continue reading
 
Saul Bellow's 1953 breakthrough novel The Adventures of Augie March is perhaps, of all the great American novels we've discussed, the one whose cultural imprint has faded the most. Even among Bellow fans this freewheeling exploration of American identity tends to take a backseat to subsequent classics such as Herzog (1964) and Humboldt’s Gift (1975…
  continue reading
 
The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts ar…
  continue reading
 
John's Steinbeck's 1939 tale of an "Oakie" family who crosses Route 66 seeking to escape the Dust Bowl only to discover California isn't the paradise it's been advertised as is one of the most iconic Great American Novels in our literary history. Its impact was profound and immediate: rarely has a novel been so viciously denounced simply for promot…
  continue reading
 
The 14th episode is a ride into the evening redness in the west as your hosts consider one of the more notorious books on our short list: Cormac McCarthy’s epic subversive western, BLOOD MERIDIAN, or, The Evening Redness in the West. This 1985 tome of McCarthy’s has engaged constant discussion and speculation due to the high poetry of its language …
  continue reading
 
Willa Cather's most famous novel was published only two months before the Armistice ended the bloodshed of the Great War, and in its powerfully imagistic portrait of Midwestern homesteading, it offered readers an emotional connection to the nation's founding myth of pioneer fortitude. Yet My Ántonia wasn't just a story about pilgrims' progress acro…
  continue reading
 
The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts ar…
  continue reading
 
Our eleventh episode explores the most recent novel on our list of celebrated Great American Novels, Marilynne Robinson's 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning exploration of Christian humanism, GILEAD. Set in a fictional small Iowa town in 1956, this deceptively lowkey narrative about a dying minister, John Ames, and the sudden reappearance of the town's pr…
  continue reading
 
The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts ar…
  continue reading
 
In this installment we look at another of the most iconic of GANs, Mark Twain's 1885 "bad boy" novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Written over an eight-year period, what began as a sequel to the mischievous "bad boy" book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) steepened into a caustic interrogation of racism in the United States. Twain's depiction…
  continue reading
 
The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts ar…
  continue reading
 
In our seventh episode we explore a Great American Novel that's so ubiquitous it's almost hard to believe there was a time when the media wasn't full of contrast, random references to The Great Gatsby. The story of a mysterious millionaire who turns up on Long Island, throwing lavish parties and spinning fables as transparently invented as they are…
  continue reading
 
The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts ar…
  continue reading
 
William Faulkner's dizzyingly complex, Lost Cause-dismantling 1936 novel about the rise and fall of a Southern plantation owner who "outraged the land" amid the Civil War is perhaps the most formidable Great American Novel one can tackle: it has the distinction of making Moby-Dick look accessible! But Absalom, Absalom! is not only a tour-de-force o…
  continue reading
 
The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts ar…
  continue reading
 
On the eve of its seventieth birthday, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952) occupies a unique place in the American canon. On the one hand, it was instantly heralded as a Great American Novel---indeed, as Lawrence Buell notes in his study of GANs, it was the first novel by an African American to be universally admitted to the pantheon of important …
  continue reading
 
The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts ar…
  continue reading
 
Ever since J. W. DeForest popularized the phrase "Great American Novel" in 1868 commentators have debated the limits of all three of its components. Does "great" necessarily mean a big "doorstop" book or is concision a worthy goal? Whose version America are we talking? And why the novel not a poem, play, or short story? In our inaugural episode we …
  continue reading
 
Loading …

Quick Reference Guide