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Writ Large

Lyceum

238
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Writ Large

Writ Large

Lyceum

238
Followers
1.8K
Plays
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About Us

There’s more to a book than what’s written on its pages: a book can change the world. In each episode of Writ Large, host Zachary Davis talks with one of the world’s leading scholars about one book that shaped the world we live in—whether you’ve heard of it or not. These conversations go beyond the plot summaries to unpack each book’s context and creation, and reveal its lasting influence on the ideas of today. Lyceum Studios produces world-class educational content. Learn more at Lyceum.fm, or find us at WritLarge.fm.

Latest Episodes

The Most Powerful Tool

When Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818, it was illegal for him to learn the alphabet. Slave masters feared the power of a literate slave, so Douglass vowed to read. He became one of the most famous and accomplished American writers of his day, harnessing the power of the King James Bible, the spoken word, and the new visual language of photographs. Harvard professor John Stauffer discusses Douglass’s life and work. John Stauffer is the Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, Picturing Frederick Douglass, and more. Learn more on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

27 MINMAY 19
Comments
The Most Powerful Tool

The Highest Good

Sometimes the oldest texts are the most influential. The Great Learning likely first appeared in the Confucian Book of Rites around 2,000 years ago, but its impact can still be seen in the Chinese education system today. Harvard professor Peter Bol discusses this short text’s long history. Peter Bol is the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. He is the author of Neo-Confucianism in History and "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China. Learn more on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

14 MINMAY 12
Comments
The Highest Good

Behind the Musical

The original production of Fiddler on the Roof won nine Tony awards, held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical, and was adapted into a hit movie. But the musical itself was an adaptation of Sholem Aleichem's Tevye Stories. Aleichem aimed to create a high literature for Yiddish-speaking readers, but his influence spread much further, to a new country, a new language, and a new medium. Harvard professor Saul Noam Zaritt.discusses the stories behind the musical. Saul Noam Zaritt is Assistant Professor of Yiddish Studies at Harvard University. He is a founding editor of In geveb, an open-access digital journal of Yiddish studies. Learn more on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

25 MINMAY 5
Comments
Behind the Musical

BONUS: Full interview with Joshua Bennett

In this episode, Zachary Davis sits down with Dartmouth professor and poet Joshua Bennett to discuss Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. If you would like to hear the edited version of this conversation, please listen to the episode "The full spectrum of human beauty." Joshua Bennett is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author of The Sobbing School. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

62 MINAPR 28
Comments
BONUS: Full interview with Joshua Bennett

“The full spectrum of human beauty”

Zora Neale Hurston was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance, but her novels didn’t conform to the style of her contemporaries. As a result, her work was almost lost—until the writer Alice Walker found her unmarked grave in 1974. Now, Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is on high school reading lists across the US. Dartmouth professor and poet Joshua Bennett discusses the novel’s longstanding impact and what it can teach us about cancel culture. Joshua Bennett is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author of The Sobbing School. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation on the Lyceum app.

35 MINAPR 28
Comments
“The full spectrum of human beauty”

A Skeptic's Guide to Democracy

What is the role of the press in a democracy? For nearly a century, scholars, media critics, and politicians have debated this question—in a large part thanks to Walter Lippmann. Lippmann’s 1922 book, Public Opinion, changed the conversation about how to educate voters and who should be able to vote at all. In this episode, University of British Columbia professor Heidi Tworek discusses the timeless questions and the man who asked them. Heidi Tworek is assistant professor of international history at the University of British Columbia. She is an editor of The Journal of Global History and the author of News from Germany: The Competition to Control World Communications, 1900–1945. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation on the Lyceum app. The transcript for this episode will be on our website on April 28th.

30 MINAPR 21
Comments
A Skeptic's Guide to Democracy

A Revolutionary Classic

The 1750s are remembered as a high point of China's Qing Dynasty: a time of power, prestige, and social harmony. But The Story of the Stone paints a different picture: one of harmful traditions, political corruption, and inter-generational conflict. Over 250 years later, it's one of the most loved novels in Chinese literature, with dozens of adaptations and an entire field of scholarship dedicated to it. In this episode, Stanford professor Ronald Egan discusses the revolutionary story and its enduring impact. Ronald Egan is the Confucius Institute Professor of Sinology at Stanford University. He is the author of Li Qingzhao: China's Foremost Woman Poet, The Literary Works of Ou-yang Hsui, and more. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation in our Lyceum discussion room. The transcript for this episode will be available on April 21.

26 MINAPR 14
Comments
A Revolutionary Classic

Songs of Ourselves

“These United States are themselves the greatest poem.” When Walt Whitman wrote this line, he was an unknown Brooklyn newspaper man. But his work would transform American poetry and offer a new vision of American identity—one that was diverse, urban, and embodied. In this episode, Harvard professor Elisa New discusses Walt Whitman’s legacy. Elisa New is the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University. She is the creator and host of the TV show Poetry in America, and author of The Line's Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight and New England, Beyond Criticism: Rereading America's First Literature. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation on the Lyceum app.

37 MINAPR 14
Comments
Songs of Ourselves

The Poet and the Holy Man

In many ways, Black Elk and John Neihardt lived very different lives. Black Elk was an Oglala Lakota holy man. Neihartd was a European-American literary critic. Black Elk performed for Queen Victoria with Buffalo Bills’s Wild West Show. Neihartd was Poet Laureate of Nebraska. But in other ways, they weren’t different at all. “By all accounts, they really, truly felt like they had a kind of spiritual affinity for one another,” says Harvard Professor Philip Deloria. In this episode, Professor Deloria discusses Black Elk Speaks, the book that Black Elk and Neihardt co-authored in 1932, which shaped the way both white and Native Americans understood Native culture. Philip Deloria is Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of several books, including Playing Indian and Indians in Unexpected Places. His most recent book is American Studies: A User's Guide, co-authored with Alexander Olson. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod Join the conversation on the Lyceum app The transcript for this episode will be available on our website on April 7th.

33 MINMAR 31
Comments
The Poet and the Holy Man

Seven Books, One Deadly Rumor

There is only one surviving copy of The Life and Passion of William of Norwich, but its story continues to haunt us. When 12th-century monk Thomas of Monmouth learned of a young boy’s murder in his community, he accused his Jewish neighbors of the heinous crime. Over the course of two decades, he wrote a seven-volume conspiracy theory, building out the accusation and cementing it in history. Stanford professor Rowan Dorin discusses the book’s creation and its challenging legacy. Rowan Dorin is Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod Join the conversation on the Lyceum app

30 MINMAR 31
Comments
Seven Books, One Deadly Rumor

Latest Episodes

The Most Powerful Tool

When Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818, it was illegal for him to learn the alphabet. Slave masters feared the power of a literate slave, so Douglass vowed to read. He became one of the most famous and accomplished American writers of his day, harnessing the power of the King James Bible, the spoken word, and the new visual language of photographs. Harvard professor John Stauffer discusses Douglass’s life and work. John Stauffer is the Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, Picturing Frederick Douglass, and more. Learn more on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

27 MINMAY 19
Comments
The Most Powerful Tool

The Highest Good

Sometimes the oldest texts are the most influential. The Great Learning likely first appeared in the Confucian Book of Rites around 2,000 years ago, but its impact can still be seen in the Chinese education system today. Harvard professor Peter Bol discusses this short text’s long history. Peter Bol is the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. He is the author of Neo-Confucianism in History and "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China. Learn more on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

14 MINMAY 12
Comments
The Highest Good

Behind the Musical

The original production of Fiddler on the Roof won nine Tony awards, held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical, and was adapted into a hit movie. But the musical itself was an adaptation of Sholem Aleichem's Tevye Stories. Aleichem aimed to create a high literature for Yiddish-speaking readers, but his influence spread much further, to a new country, a new language, and a new medium. Harvard professor Saul Noam Zaritt.discusses the stories behind the musical. Saul Noam Zaritt is Assistant Professor of Yiddish Studies at Harvard University. He is a founding editor of In geveb, an open-access digital journal of Yiddish studies. Learn more on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

25 MINMAY 5
Comments
Behind the Musical

BONUS: Full interview with Joshua Bennett

In this episode, Zachary Davis sits down with Dartmouth professor and poet Joshua Bennett to discuss Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. If you would like to hear the edited version of this conversation, please listen to the episode "The full spectrum of human beauty." Joshua Bennett is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author of The Sobbing School. You can see the transcript for this episode in our discussion room.

62 MINAPR 28
Comments
BONUS: Full interview with Joshua Bennett

“The full spectrum of human beauty”

Zora Neale Hurston was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance, but her novels didn’t conform to the style of her contemporaries. As a result, her work was almost lost—until the writer Alice Walker found her unmarked grave in 1974. Now, Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is on high school reading lists across the US. Dartmouth professor and poet Joshua Bennett discusses the novel’s longstanding impact and what it can teach us about cancel culture. Joshua Bennett is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author of The Sobbing School. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation on the Lyceum app.

35 MINAPR 28
Comments
“The full spectrum of human beauty”

A Skeptic's Guide to Democracy

What is the role of the press in a democracy? For nearly a century, scholars, media critics, and politicians have debated this question—in a large part thanks to Walter Lippmann. Lippmann’s 1922 book, Public Opinion, changed the conversation about how to educate voters and who should be able to vote at all. In this episode, University of British Columbia professor Heidi Tworek discusses the timeless questions and the man who asked them. Heidi Tworek is assistant professor of international history at the University of British Columbia. She is an editor of The Journal of Global History and the author of News from Germany: The Competition to Control World Communications, 1900–1945. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation on the Lyceum app. The transcript for this episode will be on our website on April 28th.

30 MINAPR 21
Comments
A Skeptic's Guide to Democracy

A Revolutionary Classic

The 1750s are remembered as a high point of China's Qing Dynasty: a time of power, prestige, and social harmony. But The Story of the Stone paints a different picture: one of harmful traditions, political corruption, and inter-generational conflict. Over 250 years later, it's one of the most loved novels in Chinese literature, with dozens of adaptations and an entire field of scholarship dedicated to it. In this episode, Stanford professor Ronald Egan discusses the revolutionary story and its enduring impact. Ronald Egan is the Confucius Institute Professor of Sinology at Stanford University. He is the author of Li Qingzhao: China's Foremost Woman Poet, The Literary Works of Ou-yang Hsui, and more. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation in our Lyceum discussion room. The transcript for this episode will be available on April 21.

26 MINAPR 14
Comments
A Revolutionary Classic

Songs of Ourselves

“These United States are themselves the greatest poem.” When Walt Whitman wrote this line, he was an unknown Brooklyn newspaper man. But his work would transform American poetry and offer a new vision of American identity—one that was diverse, urban, and embodied. In this episode, Harvard professor Elisa New discusses Walt Whitman’s legacy. Elisa New is the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University. She is the creator and host of the TV show Poetry in America, and author of The Line's Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight and New England, Beyond Criticism: Rereading America's First Literature. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm. Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod. Join the conversation on the Lyceum app.

37 MINAPR 14
Comments
Songs of Ourselves

The Poet and the Holy Man

In many ways, Black Elk and John Neihardt lived very different lives. Black Elk was an Oglala Lakota holy man. Neihartd was a European-American literary critic. Black Elk performed for Queen Victoria with Buffalo Bills’s Wild West Show. Neihartd was Poet Laureate of Nebraska. But in other ways, they weren’t different at all. “By all accounts, they really, truly felt like they had a kind of spiritual affinity for one another,” says Harvard Professor Philip Deloria. In this episode, Professor Deloria discusses Black Elk Speaks, the book that Black Elk and Neihardt co-authored in 1932, which shaped the way both white and Native Americans understood Native culture. Philip Deloria is Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of several books, including Playing Indian and Indians in Unexpected Places. His most recent book is American Studies: A User's Guide, co-authored with Alexander Olson. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod Join the conversation on the Lyceum app The transcript for this episode will be available on our website on April 7th.

33 MINMAR 31
Comments
The Poet and the Holy Man

Seven Books, One Deadly Rumor

There is only one surviving copy of The Life and Passion of William of Norwich, but its story continues to haunt us. When 12th-century monk Thomas of Monmouth learned of a young boy’s murder in his community, he accused his Jewish neighbors of the heinous crime. Over the course of two decades, he wrote a seven-volume conspiracy theory, building out the accusation and cementing it in history. Stanford professor Rowan Dorin discusses the book’s creation and its challenging legacy. Rowan Dorin is Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm Follow us on Twitter @WritLargePod Join the conversation on the Lyceum app

30 MINMAR 31
Comments
Seven Books, One Deadly Rumor

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