Literature

3 - Created In Our Image: Xenophanes Against Greek Religion

Posted on 27 December 2010

In this episode, Peter talks about the Greek gods in Homer and Hesiod, and the criticism of the poets by the Presocratic philosopher Xenophanes.

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15 - Socrates without Plato: the Accounts of Aristophanes and Xenophon

Posted on 23 January 2011

In the first of several episodes on Socrates, Peter discusses his portrayals in "The Clouds" of Aristophanes and in the works of the historian Xenophon.

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33 - Last Judgments: Plato, Poetry and Myth

Posted on 15 May 2011

Plato criticized both the epic poetry of Homer and Hesiod, and the tragic and comic poets. Yet he invented myths of his own. So what was his attitude towards literature and myth? Peter tackles this question in a final episode on Plato.

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49 - Stage Directions: Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics

Posted on 9 October 2011

A penultimate episode on Aristotle considers his discussion of persuasive speech in the Rhetoric and his account of ancient tragedy in the Poetics.

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84 - Silver Tongues in Golden Mouths: Rhetoric and Ancient Philosophy

Posted on 10 June 2012

Peter looks at the interaction between rhetoric and philosophy in the Roman Empire, discussing authors like Quintilian, Lucian and Themistius.

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135 - Undercover Brothers: Philosophy in the Būyid Age

Posted on 30 June 2013

Miskawayh, al-‘Āmirī, al-Tawḥīdī, the Brethren of Purity and Ismā'īlī missionaries bring together philosophy with Persian culture, literature and Islam.

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214. The Good Book: Philosophy of Nature

Posted on 8 March 2015

As early medieval science blossoms, Bernard Silvestris and Alan of Lille personify Nature in their philosophical prose-poems.

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254. Love, Reign Over Me: The Romance of the Rose

Posted on 22 May 2016

Sex, reason, and religion in Jean de Meun’s completion of an allegory of courtly love, the Roman de la Rose.

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268. To Hell and Back: Dante Alighieri

Posted on 1 January 2017

Italy’s greatest poet Dante Alighieri was also a philosopher, as we learn from his Convivio and of course the Divine Comedy.

This episode is dedicated to John Kleiner, the inspirational teacher with whom I had my first experience reading Dante.

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292. Say it With Poetry: Chaucer and Langland

Posted on 31 December 2017

Philosophical themes in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and “Troilus and Criseyde,” as well as Langland’s “Piers Plowman.”

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293. The Good Wife: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages

Posted on 14 January 2018

Medieval attitudes towards homosexuality, sex and chastity, and the status of women. Authors discussed include Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, and Chaucer.

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58. Amber Carpenter on Animals in Indian Philosophy

Posted on 21 January 2018

An interview about the status of nonhuman animals in ancient Indian philosophy and literature.

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294. Isabel Davis on Sexuality and Marriage in Chaucer

Posted on 28 January 2018

Peter is joined by Isabel Davis to discuss marriage, sex and chastity in Chaucer, focusing on the Wife of Bath's speech.

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62. Kit Patrick on Philosophy and Indian History

Posted on 18 March 2018

The host of the History of India podcast joins us for the final episode on India.

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298. Renaissance Men: Ramon Llull and Petrarch

Posted on 25 March 2018

The Renaissance ideals of humanism and universal science flourish already in the medieval period, in the works of Petrarch and Ramon Llull.

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6. Heated Exchanges: Philosophy in Egyptian Narratives and Dialogues

Posted on 9 June 2018

Demands for ma’at (justice or truth) and a confrontation with the soul, in the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant and Dispute Between a Man and his Ba.

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7. Richard Parkinson on Egyptian Poetry

Posted on 24 June 2018

Egyptologist Richard Parkinson joins us to talk about the context and meaning of the Eloquent Peasant and other literary works of ancient Egypt.

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8. Solomon, Socrates, and Other Sages: Early Ethiopian Philosophy

Posted on 8 July 2018

Translations of religious and philosophical texts into Ge’ez, a national epic called the Kebra Nagast, and other developments in the story of philosophy in Ethiopia.

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306. Collectors’ Items: Photius and Byzantine Compilations

Posted on 29 July 2018

Photius, “the inventor of the book review,” and other Byzantine scholars who preserved ancient learning.

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311. The Elements of Style: Rhetoric in Byzantium

Posted on 4 November 2018

Psellos and other experts in rhetoric explore how this art of persuasion relates to philosophy.

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16. Samuel Imbo on Okot p'Bitek and Oral Traditions

Posted on 24 November 2018

A conversation with Sam Imbo on approaching oral traditions as philosophy and the Ugandan thinker and poet Okot p'Bitek.

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26. Kai Kresse on the Anthropology of Philosophy

Posted on 14 April 2019

An interview with Kai Kresse (pictured here with Ustadh Mahmoud Mau) who discusses his efforts to do "anthropology of philosophy" on the Swahili Coast.

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29. Out of Africa: Slavery and the Diaspora

Posted on 26 May 2019

An introduction to Africana philosophical thought as it emerged from the modern experience of slavery and colonization by Europeans.

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32. Talking Book: Early Africana Writing in English

Posted on 7 July 2019

Eighteenth century black authors touch on philosophical themes in autobiographical narratives, poetry, and other literary genres.

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33. Young, Gifted, and Black: Phillis Wheatley

Posted on 21 July 2019

Phillis Wheatley astonishes colonial Americans with her exquisite and precocious poetry and reflects on the liberating power of the imagination.

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330. Republic of Letters: Italian Humanism

Posted on 28 July 2019

Coluccio Salutati and Leonardo Bruni combine eloquence with philosophy, taking as their model the refined language and republican ideals found in Cicero.

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35. Letters from the Heart: Ignatius Sancho and Benjamin Banneker

Posted on 15 September 2019

Ignatius Sancho and Benjamin Banneker make their mark on the history of Africana thought through letters that reflect on the power of sentiment.

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337. More Rare Than the Phoenix: Italian Women Humanists

Posted on 1 December 2019

Cassandra Fedele, Isotta Nogarola, and Laura Cereta seek fame and glory through eloquence and learning.

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47. Written by Himself: the Life of Frederick Douglass

Posted on 1 March 2020

Frederick Douglass' journey from slave to leading figure of 19th century American thought.

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50. Nation Within a Nation: Martin Delany

Posted on 12 April 2020

He is called a “father of black nationalism,” but Martin Delany also promoted integration in American society. Can the apparent tension be resolved?

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51. I Read Men and Nations: Sojourner Truth and Frances Harper

Posted on 26 April 2020

The moral crusades of Sojourner Truth and Frances Harper, activists against racial and gender oppression.

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60. Though Late, It Is Liberty: Abolitionism in Brazil

Posted on 4 October 2020

Abolitionists Luiz Gama and Joaquim Nabuco, and the great novelist Machado de Assis, react to the injustices of slaveholding in Brazil.

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67. Chike Jeffers on Slavery and Diasporic Philosophy

Posted on 10 January 2021

Co-host Chike joins Peter to look back at series two and ahead to series three.

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77. A Race Capital: the Harlem Renaissance

Posted on 30 May 2021

The artistic flowering of the 1920s known as the Harlem Renaissance raises important questions about identity and the purpose of art.

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78. Freedom Through Art: Alain Locke

Posted on 13 June 2021

The aesthetics of Alain Locke and its basis in his theory of value judgments.

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82. The Florida Project: Zora Neale Hurston

Posted on 5 September 2021

Zora Neale Hurston’s interest in Africana folklore feeds into her great novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

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84. Live Long and Protest: W.E.B. Du Bois, 1920-1963

Posted on 3 October 2021

Du Bois moves to the left, and revisits and refines older positions during the latter half of his very long life.

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86. French Connection: The Negritude Movement

Posted on 31 October 2021

Our first look at the emergence of the Negritude movement in Paris in the 1930s, with a focus on the early leadership of the Nardal sisters and Leon Damas.

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87. Call It Intuition: Leopold Senghor

Posted on 14 November 2021

Leopold Senghor compares different ways of knowing while developing his theory of Negritude and combining the roles of poet and politician.

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88. The Surreal Deal: Aimé and Suzanne Césaire

Posted on 28 November 2021

Negritude thinkers Aimé and Suzanne Césaire embrace surrealism and reflect on the relationships between poetry, knowledge, and identity.

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90. Move Fast and Break Things: C.L.R. James

Posted on 26 December 2021

The Trinidadian historian and cultural critic C.L.R. James applies Marxist analysis to the Haitian Revolution, American cinema, and Shakespeare.

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94. How Did You Happen? Richard Wright

Posted on 20 February 2022

Famous for his incendiary novel Native Son, Richard Wright responds in his multifaceted writings to sociology, communism, colonialism, and existentialism.

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95. Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison

Posted on 6 March 2022

Ralph Ellison provides a new metaphor for the experience of racism in his Invisible Man and tackles topics of art and identity in his essays.

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96. A Lover’s War: James Baldwin

Posted on 20 March 2022

In The Fire Next Time and other writings, the essayist and novelist James Baldwin seeks to dispel the illusions surrounding racial and sexual difference.

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397. Do As the Romans Did: French Humanism

Posted on 22 May 2022

We begin to look at philosophy in Renaissance France, beginning with humanists like Budé and the use of classical philosophy by poets du Bellay and Ronsard.

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398. Pearls of Wisdom: Marguerite of Navarre

Posted on 5 June 2022

A Renaissance queen supports philosophical humanism and produces literary works on spirituality, love, and the soul.

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399. Seriously Funny: Rabelais

Posted on 19 June 2022

In his outrageous novel about the giants Pantagruel and Gargantua, Rabelais engages with scholasticism, humanism, medicine, the reformation, and the querelle des femmes.

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401. Word Perfect: Logic and Language in Renaissance France

Posted on 17 July 2022

Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples and Julius Caesar Scaliger fuse Aristotelianism with humanism to address problems in logic and literary aesthetics.

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106. Combat Literature: Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth

Posted on 4 September 2022

Fanon’s incendiary final work explores the violent process of decolonization.

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