3.5 The Romance of Recovery: Ben Bateman talks to Shola von Reinhold (AV)

Shola von Reinhold is the author of  LOTE, a novel about getting lost in the archives and finding what the archives have lost. LOTE won the 2021 James Tait Black prize so who better to join Shola on Novel Dialogue than Ben Bateman of Edinburgh University, lead judge of the prize committee? This conversation takes listeners back to all yesterday’s parties as Shola, Ben, and Aarthi time travel to the Harlem Renaissance and the interwar modernist era. Shola offers up Richard Bruce Nugent as their current figure of fascination (or “transfixion” to use a key image from LOTE), and wonders what it would have been like to move through Harlem and London by Nugent’s side.

Recovering the stories of black writers and artists is essential to Shola’s literary project.  It is also inseparable from restoring queerness to the once hyper-masculine and “muscular” paradigm of modernism. In a stirring discussion of the aesthetic forms and moods of historical recovery, Ben and Shola sink into the “purpleness” of the fin-de-siècle and explore the critical power of black sensuousness. Talk of decadence, ornamentality, and frivolity shapes the latter half of this episode, and Doris Payne, the West Virginian jewel thief, emerges as an exquisitely improbable modernist heroine!

Mentioned in this episode:

Richard Bruce Nugent
Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward, Porgy
E.M. Forster
David Levering Lewis, When Harlem was in Vogue
Saidiya Hartman
Benjamin Kahan, The Book of Minor Perverts
James Joyce, Ulysses
Willa Cather, “Paul’s Case”
Ornamentality via Kant, Hegel, and Adolf Loos
Susan Sontag
Doris Payne – a.k.a “Diamond Doris”

Édouard Glissant

Listen and Read:

Audio: The Romance of Recovery

Transcript: 3.5 The Romance of Recovery

3.6 Why are You in Bed? Why are You Drinking? Colm Tóibín and Joseph Rezek in Conversation Novel Dialogue

Colm Tóibín, the new laureate for Irish fiction, talks to Joseph Rezek of Boston University, and guest host Tara K. Menon of Harvard. The conversation begins with Colm’s latest novel The Magician, about the life of Thomas Mann, and whether we can or should think of novelists as magicians and then moves swiftly from one big question to the next. What are the limitations of the novel as a genre? Would Colm ever be interested in a writing a novel about an openly gay novelist? Why and how does death figure in Colm’s fiction? Each of Colm’s revealing, often deeply personal answers illuminates how both novels and novelists work. As Thomas Mann wrote of the “grubby business” of writing novels, Colm reminds us of the “day to day dullness of novel writing.” Insight and inspiration only arrive, he warns, after long, hard days of work. Mentioned in this episode: Robinson Crusoe (1719), Daniel Defoe Pride and Prejudice (1813), Jane Austen The Portrait of a Lady (1881), Henry James The Wings of the Dove(1902), Henry James The Ambassadors (1903), Henry James The Golden Bowl(1904), Henry James The Blackwater Lightship(1999), Colm Tóibín The Master (2004), Colm Tóibín Brooklyn(2009), Colm Tóibín The Testament of Mary(2012), Colm Tóibín Nora Webster(2015), Colm Tóibín The Magician(2021), Colm Tóibín Aarthi Vadde is Associate Professor of English at Duke University. Email: aarthi.vadde@duke.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  1. 3.6 Why are You in Bed? Why are You Drinking? Colm Tóibín and Joseph Rezek in Conversation
  2. 3.5 The Romance of Recovery: Ben Bateman talks to Shola von Reinhold (AV)
  3. 3.4 The Work of Inhabiting a Role: Charles Yu speaks to Chris Fan (JP)
  4. 3.3 In the Editing Room with Ruth Ozeki and Rebecca Evans (EH)
  5. 3.2 Promises Unkept: Damon Galgut with Andrew van der Vlies

Photo credit: Retouched by Mmxx, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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