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The Literary Life Podcast

Brought to you by, Angelina Stanford Thomas Banks

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The Literary Life Podcast

Not just book chat! The Literary Life Podcast is an ongoing conversation about the skill and art of reading well and the lost intellectual tradition needed to fully enter into the great works of literature. Experienced teachers Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks (of www.HouseOfHumaneLetters.com) join lifelong reader Cindy Rollins (of www.MorningtimeForMoms.com) for slow reads of classic literature, conversations with book lovers, and an ever-unfolding discussion of how Stories Will Save the World. And check out our sister podcast The Well Read Poem with poet Thomas Banks.

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Recent Episodes of The Literary Life Podcast


“Best of” Series, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, Ep. 15

“Best of” Series, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, Ep. 15

This week on The Literary Life, we are dipping back into the archives for one of our “Best of” series of episodes. In this week’s remix from Season 1, Angelina Stanford and Cindy Rollins discuss Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace.” Before getting into the short story discussion, Cindy and Angelina chat about what a “commonplace book” is and how they each go about recording quotes and thoughts, including the QuoteBlock app.

First off, Angelina gives us a little background on the author Guy de Maupassant and some information on French naturalism. Then she digs into her thought...

Episode 228 11 June 2024 1h, 24m and 54s


“Agnes Grey” by Anne Bronte, Ch. 19-25

“Agnes Grey” by Anne Bronte, Ch. 19-25

On The Literary Life Podcast this week, Angelina and Thomas wrap up their series on Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey. In this final episode on this beautiful Victorian novel, our hosts begin with their commonplace quotes which lead into the book discussion and the Victorian ideas about the supernatural. They talk about the major plot points here at the end of this book, contrasting the way Jane Austen dealt with these sorts of stories in contrast with Anne Brontë’s treatment of Agnes Grey. Some highlights of the conversation include thoughts on the world of education, the rebirth and revers...

Episode 227 4 June 2024 1h, 31m and 37s


“Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë, Ch. 12-18

“Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë, Ch. 12-18

Welcome back to The Literary Life Podcast and the continuation of our series on Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey. Angelina and Thomas open with their commonplace quotes which lead into the book discussion. Angelina kicks it off with a comparison between the work of the Brontës and Jane Austen’s writing which will continue throughout the conversation. Thomas and Angelina also look at the expectations of Victorians for courtship and marriage, the ways Anne Brontë weaves this tale as a variation on other themes, the true woman versus the false woman, and more!

Check out the schedul...

Episode 226 28 May 2024 1h, 31m and 31s


“Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë, Ch. 6-11

“Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë, Ch. 6-11

On this week’s episode of The Literary Life Podcast, Angelina and Thomas continue their series of discussions on Anne Brontë’s novel Agnes Grey. They open the conversation about this novel with some thoughts on the differences between Agnes Grey and Jane Eyre and Anne and Charlotte Brontë. Angelina poses the question as to whether this novel crosses the line into didacticism or if it stays within the purpose of the story and the art.

In discussing the education of Agnes’ charges in these chapters, Angelina has a chance to expand upon the upbringing of Victorian young wo...

Episode 225 21 May 2024 1h, 28m and 37s


“Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë, Introduction and Ch. 1-5

“Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë, Introduction and Ch. 1-5

Today on The Literary Life Podcast, Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks begin a new book discussion series covering Anne Brontë’s Victorian novel Agnes Grey. This week they are giving an introduction to the social and literary climate in which Anne was writing, as well as discussing chapters 1-5 of the book.

Thomas shares a little information on Utilitarianism, and Angelina talks about how this affected the literature of the Victorian period. She also points out that the Brontës were writing in the medieval literary tradition rather than the didactic or realistic style, and as such we s...

Episode 224 14 May 2024 1h, 35m and 54s


“Best of” The Literary Life – “The Machine Stops” by E. M. Forster

“Best of” The Literary Life – “The Machine Stops” by E. M. Forster

This week on The Literary Life, we bring you another episode in our “Best of” series with a throwback to one of our 2021 Summer of the Short Story shows. In this episode, Angelina, Cindy, and Thomas talk about E. M. Forster’s short story “The Machine Stops.” If you are interested in more E. M. Forster chat, you can go listen to our hosts discuss “The Celestial Omnibus” in Episode 17. Angelina points out how this story made her think of Dante. Thomas and Cindy share their personal reactions to reading “The Machine Stops.” They marvel at how prescient Forster was to imagine a worl...

Episode 223 7 May 2024 1h, 23m and 43s


“Tartuffe” by Moliere, Acts 3 - 5

“Tartuffe” by Moliere, Acts 3 - 5

On today’s episode of The Literary Life Podcast, Angelina and Thomas wrap up their series on the satirical comedy Tartuffe by Jean-Baptiste Moliere. If you want to listen in to the read along of this play, you can view replays on the readings on the House of Humane Letters YouTube channel. Angelina and Thomas start off the conversation on the play reviewing the idea of enchantment and the classical structural elements of this play as suggested by Aristotle. We finally meet Tartuffe himself, and Angelina and Thomas both cringe and laugh at his over-the-top antics.

Check ou...

Episode 222 30 April 2024 1h, 22m and 41s


“Tartuffe” by Moliere, Introduction and Acts 1 & 2

“Tartuffe” by Moliere, Introduction and Acts 1 & 2

This week on The Literary Life Podcast, Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks delve into a new literary series as we read the comedic play Tartuffe by Jean-Baptiste Moliere. If you want to listen in to the read along of this play, you can view replays on the readings on the House of Humane Letters YouTube channel. Thomas begins the conversation on this play by setting up the cultural and literary context in which Moliere was working, as well as some more biographical background on the author and actor himself. Angelina points out some differences between satire and didacticism. She...

Episode 221 23 April 2024 1h, 18m and 9s


Fairy Tales and Children’s Literature with Dr. Vigen Guroian

Fairy Tales and Children’s Literature with Dr. Vigen Guroian

Welcome to a new episode of The Literary Life podcast and an interview with special guest Dr. Vigen Guroian, retired professor of Religious Studies and Orthodox Christianity at the University of Virginia and author of twelve book and numerous scholarly articles. Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks discuss with Dr. Guroian the new edition of his book, Tending the Heart of Virtue. They start out talking about how the first edition of this book came about, which leads into a discussion about the current approach to fairy tales and children’s stories in both academia and the publishing industry.

...

Episode 220 16 April 2024 1h, 25m and 33s


“Best of” Series – Why Read Old Books, Ep. 80

“Best of” Series – Why Read Old Books, Ep. 80

Today on The Literary Life Podcast, we bring you another episode in our “Best of” series in which Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins, and Thomas Banks discuss the importance of reading old books. They begin the conversation by addressing head on the idea that old books are irrelevant. They touch on the fact that when we use the phrase “old books” we mean not just any piece of literature from the past, but those which have stood the test of time. 

It’s not too late to join us for the sixth annual Literary Life Online Conference, “Dispelling the Myth of M...

Episode 219 9 April 2024 1h, 28m and 19s

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