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  • James Joyce’s 1914 collection of fifteen short stories, Dubliners, is righty considered one of the greatest literary achievements of Western modernity. But what is so original about these stories that begin with childhood, cover adolescence and adult choices, and conclude with a deeply moving reflection on our mortality? What life-changing experiences are their center, and how does Joyce understand such epiphanies? And who is Joyce, who writes the stories about life in Dublin after having left his native Ireland for Italy? What did Joyce set out to do in Dubliners, before he embarked on writing Ulysses, which appears in 1922 in France?
    John Waters teaches Irish literature and culture at New York University, and explains on this podcast the cultural context for Joyce’s stories and highlights several moments where Joyce lets his characters reach their expressive competence – meaning that the stories take us to the edge of human emotions and experience without becoming meaningless or incomprehensible.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Think About It” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • “The good life” and “the American Dream “remain powerful animating principles in popular culture, politics, and also our individual psyches. I spoke with Professor Dora Zhang at the University of California at Berkeley who teaches a course on “the good life,” using mostly literary rather than philosophical texts. From Sophokles’s Antigone (441 B.C.) to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2020); from Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1856) to Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959), and from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) to the idea of “cruel optimism” advanced by literary critic Lauren Berlant, Zhang’s course is not intended to leave students depressed about their prospects but motivated to rethink what they’ve been told to hope for and aspire to. I loved this conversation with a gifted and brilliant teacher, which was also a sort of homecoming for me since I had been a freshman student at the University of California at Berkeley some 30 years ago, where I discovered that my love of literature could become the basis of a career.
    Professor Zhang is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on Anglo-American and European modernist fiction, literature and philosophy, novel theory, affect theory, visual culture, aesthetics, and ecocriticism. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. Her book, Strange Likeness: Description and the Modernist Novel (University of Chicago Press, 2020), shows how description is far more than stage-setting or background in modernist novels. She’s also published on Proust and photography, Woolf and the philosophy of language, the role of atmospheres in everyday life, and Roland Barthes's travels in China.
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  • Charlie Louth’s illuminating recent book, Rilke: The Life of the Work (Oxford University Press, 2021) examines why Rilke’s poems have exercised such preternatural attraction for now several generations of readers. The early 20th century German-language poet captured the experience of European culture irrevocably lurching into modernity, where an entire continent was forced to trade in its untenable and ultimately fantastically unrealistic Romantic worldview for the sober realization that humans are capable of even greater evil than any gods, and that life has meaning only if we continually create it. But unlike some other modernists, Rilke captured this vast cultural rupture in exceptionally beautiful and ever more effectively crafted, if ever less formal, poetry. Instead of explaining this effect away, Louth deepens the transformative experience of reading Rilke by offering his interpretation as one option among others and thus engaging the reader directly in the unfolding of each of Rilke’s words. Louth’s book follows the chronology of Rilke’s life (1875 – 1926) but focuses on the works, often in the context of the situation when they were written, rather than on Rilke’s itinerant life. I spoke with Charlie about the enduring importance of Rilke, about the Duino Elegies, and whether Rilke’s 1915 poem “Death” – or any of his works in general – can alleviate the cold fact that as humans, no matter how blessed, we will face inconsolable loss.Charlie Louth is Associate Professor of German and Fellow of Queen’s College, at Oxford University, in England. His research interests include poetry from the 18th century onwards, especially Goethe, Hölderlin, Mörike, Rilke and Celan; romanticism; translation; and comparative literature. His books include: Rilke: The Life of the Work (Oxford: OUP, 2020); Hölderlin and the Dynamics of Translation (Oxford: Legenda, 1998); (editor, with Patrick McGuinness), Gravity and Grace: Essays for Roger Pearson (Oxford: Legenda, 2019); (editor, with Florian Strob), Nelly Sachs im Kontext — eine »Schwester Kafkas«? (Heidelberg: Winter, 2014), and other works. He’s also translated Rilke’s Letters to Young Poet & The Letter from the Young Worker (Penguin, 2011).Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice delights, charms and entrances reader since its anonymous publication in 1813. The Bennett sisters need to marry rich, for otherwise they'll fall into poverty and social disgrace. I talked with one of the great Austen experts of our time, Professor Wendy Lee of New York University, who has published widely on Austen, including in Failures of Feeling: Insensibility and the Novel (Stanford UP).
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • To learn more about the Haitian Revolution in fiction, I spoke with Professor Marlene Daut specialized in pre-20th-century Caribbean, African American, and French colonial literary and historical studies. Her first book, Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865, was published in 2015 by Liverpool University Press' Series in the Study of International Slavery. Her second book, Baron de Vastey and the Origins of Black Atlantic Humanism, was published in fall 2017 from Palgrave Macmillan’s series in the New Urban Atlantic. She is also working on a collaborative project entitled, An Anthology of Haitian Revolutionary Fictions (Age of Slavery), which is under contract with the University of Virginia Press. Daut is the co-creator and co-editor of H-Net Commons’ digital platform, H-Haiti. She also curates a website on early Haitian print culture at http://lagazetteroyale.com and has developed an online bibliography of fictions of the Haitian Revolution from 1787 to 1900 at the website http://haitianrevolutionaryfictions.com. 
    "Theresa. A Haytien Tale," (1828) is the first known published story by an African-American writer in the United States. The story appeared in four installments in Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the U.S. from 1827 - 1829. The story was rediscovered by pioneering scholar Frances Smith Foster.
    The story is now included in Fictions of America: The Book of Firsts..
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Today we talk a lot about a need for genuine dialogue, and for conversations across partisan divides and differences. What is a true, authentic, and meaningful conversation? Martin Buber's landmark 1923 book, I and Thou, examines and also proposes how genuine dialogue can happen. The short book proposes that "I and Thou," and "I and It" are inseparable word pairs rather than sets of 2 distinct terms, and that once we understand ourselves are already in relation with others, rather than atomistic subjects reaching out to others, it changes our lives. I spoke with Buber's biographer and expert, Professor Paul Mendes-Flohr, of the University of Chicago and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, to clarify Buber's points and the impact of this powerful, prophetic and poetic book which is not only a landmark of 20th-century intellectual history but also one of the most influential books of Western theology.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Hannah Arendt's 1967 essay on "Truth and Politics" centers on the uneasy relation between truth-telling and politics. Lying has always been part of politics, Arendt says, but something shifts with the wholesale attack on our ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, truth and make-believe. How can we be committed to the truth when politicians play fast and loose with it? Professor Samantha Hill will soon publish a new biography of Arendt and has immersed herself in Arendt's archives to grasp how the political thinker arrived at the concepts that have been revived recently to make sense of our currently political moment - with the rise of populism, attacks on the press as 'fake news,' heated debates about the role of free speech, and even cancel culture, of which Arendt fell victim not only once but twice.
    Professor Hill is the Assistant Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities and Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics at Bard College, in New York State.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • "Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the order of angels?" This angsty cry opens poet Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies -- one of the greatest poetic masterpieces of all time that grounds us, modern beings, in a disenchanted, mechanized, and godless world. Is there a meaning to our lives beyond our immediate, material conditions that does not involve the temptations of religion, politics, or ideology? For Rilke, only two experiences activate that part of ourselves which makes us greater: love, including erotic love, and the experience of death, never available to us. 
    I spoke with poet Mark Wunderlich, who is deeply interested in how we exist on this earth as a setting for our experience, and who also loves Rilke, about these 10 poems, most of which Rilke famously wrote in a fit of creativity (in a single week!) exactly 99 years ago this month.
    Mark Wunderlich is the author of God of Nothingness, The Earth Avails, and other volumes of poetry. He is also Director of Creative Writing at Bennington College, in Vermont. I have loved Rilke, like many people, ever since reading his Letters to a Young Poet, which I translated into English, and which another great lover of Rilke, the artist Lady Gaga, has tatooed on her arm. I've translated other letters by Rilke: those on life, and his startlingly beautiful letters of condolence, in The Dark Interval, also available in an audio book recorded by the amazing Rosanne Cash.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Kate Chopin's absorbing 1899 novel The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a married woman in New Orleans who questions her life choices, and seeks something else. What does she want? I spoke with Professor Rafael Walker, who has written and thought deeply about Chopin's writings, to find out whether Chopin's novel fits into the narrative of unhappy-woman-seeks-liberation, - or whether Chopin is perhaps after something else altogether in this story of a woman's quest to be herself. 
    Professor Walker is assistant professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY, and specializes in American literature, African American literature, women's literature, and the novel. He is also affiliated with Baruch College's Black and Latino Studies Department, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis (A.B.) - where Kate Chopin also lived.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • The Great Gatsby is one of the greatest novels ever written and a masterpiece of American fiction. Midwesterner Nick Carraway spends a summer on Long Island where he is lured into the ultra-glamorous parties and social circle of his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. It is a tale of obsessive passion, reckless decadence, excess, and disillusionment, but also of the power of love and dreams to alter our world. Fitzgerald’s glittering portrayal of 1920s elite society during the Jazz Age is an enduring testament to the tantalizing power and peril of the American Dream. I personally consider Carraway one of the most despicable characters in all of America's fiction, because he trades in his capacity for dreaming for an arrogant and superior sense of detached knowledge. He's just barely saved from full-on nihilism by his encounter with Gatsby... and I don't mind Jordan Baker, nor Daisy, and of course my heart goes out to Myrtle... but listen for yourself (and check out my Afterword to a newly released edition of The Great Gatsby published by Warbler Press).
    I spoke with John Collins, Founding Artistic Director of the experimental theater company, Elevator Repair Service, which has staged Gatz, a word-by-word enactment of Fitzgerald's novel, in a 6.5 hours-long stage production.

    Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920 to instant acclaim. He soon after married and his wife Zelda, and the two embodied spirit of the Jazz Age—the glamour and grit which Fitzgerald captured in stories and novels that powerfully resonate today, including
    The Beautiful and Damned and Tender Is the Night.
    Haunted by alcoholism, marital problems, and Zelda’s illness, Fitzgerald took his immense literary talents to the dream factories of Hollywood where he died in 1940 while working on his unfinished novel of Hollywood, The Last Tycoon.
     Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • The first Asian American writer to publish stories in the US, Sui Sin Far could have “passed” for a white woman but during a time of intense Sinophobia, aligned herself with Chinese Americans. I spoke with one of the great experts on Sui Sin Far, Professor Mary Chapman, at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, and author of Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing , who also directs a crucial website: https://www.winnifredeatonarchive.org/
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Jane Johnston Schoolcraft is the first known American Indian literary writer, the first known Indian woman writer, the first known Indian poet, and the first known poet to write poems in a Native American language. A poet who wrote in at least two languages, navigated several cultures and expressed her pride of belonging to the Ojibwe (Chippewa) people in both English and Ojibwe poems, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft invites us to reconsider existing categories for understanding American and American Indian literacy.
    Schoolcraft (her English name) or Bamewawagezhikaquay (her Ojibwe name, meaning “Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky”), was born as one of eight children in 1800 in Sault Ste. Marie in today’s state of Michigan, then a cross-cultural hub of British, French, Canadian and American Indian influence. Her mother, Ozhaguscodaywayquay, was born in Chequamegon in the mid 1770s in the northern part of what is now Wisconsin as the daughter of Waubojeeg, a renowned Ojibwe warrior and chief also known for his skills in story-telling and son; her Irish-born father, John Johnston was a fur trader who greatly valued books. Jane was educated at home, reading widely and speaking and writing Ojibwe, English and French, with a brief and difficult interlude with an aunt in Ireland where she might have attended school. In 1823 she married Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864), who has become known as the first person to record a large body of American Indian stories.
    They had three children but their first-born, William Henry, died at age two, and one daughter was stillborn. With Jane’s assistance Henry published The Literary Voyager or Muzzenyegun, which included some of Jane’s writings without attribution. When Jane died unexpectedly in 1842, she had written literary prose pieces and poems, only a small number of which had appeared in a handwritten magazine produced by her husband. 
    I spoke with Professor Robert Dale Parker of the University of Illinois, who discovered, edited and published Jane Johnston Schoolcraft's poetry in The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, as well as Changing is not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930, in addition to books on Faulkner, and on critical theory. We talked about the ambiguous status of being "the first," about Native American poetry, about Jane's life, and about several of her moving, searing and strangely timely poems.
    Her beautiful poem, "Sweet Willy," was recorded in a gorgeous rendition by Dave Stanaway and Susan Askwith; they graciously granted permission to use this song here to bring Schoolcraft's poetry to an ever wider audience. 
    ** "Sweet Willy, My Boy · Dave Stanaway and Susan Askwith ·
    John Johnston: His Life and Times in the Fur Trade Era
    ℗ 2005 Dave Stanaway and Susan Askwith
    Released on: 2005-01-01 
    (Song consent to be used on "Think About It Podcast" by Dave Stanaway and Susan Askwith on November 25th, 2020 by email to Ulrich Baer) **
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Recalling the great confessional narratives from St. Augustine to Jean Jacques Rousseau, from Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass to Henry Adams, James Weldon Johnson's 1912 novel, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, relates the emotionally gripping tale of a mixed-race piano prodigy who can pass for white in turn-of-the-century America. Forced into impossible choices created by an unjust society, the narrator describes his experiences as he travels from Jacksonville to New York City, the rural South to Paris, London, and beyond. As the first first-person novel published by an African American author, Johnson’s powerfully unsentimental story examines the significance of chance and choice, the particularly American investment in self-invention, and the role of identities seized and forced upon us in shaping our lives. Its influence extends to Richard Wright, Ralph Waldo Ellison’s Invisible Man and even Barack Obama’s Dreams from my Father.James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was an American writer, diplomat, musician, public intellectual, and civil rights leader. The first African American executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, he was known for his poetry, novels, anthologies, and editorial writings. With his brother James Rosamond Johnson, he wrote "Lift Every Voice and Sing," now known as the Black National Anthem (Beyoncé's 2018 Coachella rendition is here). From 1906 to 1913 he served as President Theodore Roosevelt’s U.S. consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua. In 1934 he became New York University’s first African American professor and in 1931 was appointed the Adam K. Spence Professor of Creative Literature at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He firmly believed that art and literature matter as much as laws, court victories, and social movements in fighting racial injustice and inequality. He died in an automobile accident in 1938. I spoke with Professor Melissa Daniels-Rauterkus of the University of Southern California about Johnson's novel, and also about the post-Civil War era in African American literature, up to the Harlem Renaissance, when writers used the genre of the novel to imagine new forms of representation -- for themselves and for America. Daniels-Rauterkus's fantastic book, Afro-Realisms & the Romances of Race: Rethinking Blackness in the African American Novel (LSU Press, 2020), reveals that African Americans wrote works of literary realism, and that white realists made contributions to African American literature. We also talked about the haunting ending of Johnson's novel: "I cannot repress the thought that, after all, I have chosen the lesser part, that I have sold my birthright for a mess of potage.”Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • To understand Poe, inventor of the detective story, tales of terror, and progenitor to Hitchcock, Stephen King and much of Netflix's programing, I spoke with J. Gerald Kennedy who's written award-winning books on Poe in American culture. I asked Professor Kennedy about his favorite stories and how to understand Toni Morrison's famous declaration that Poe is key to understanding American writers' use of Black characters in their construction of the white mythology of American culture. 
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Something different today: I was lucky to speak with writer Doon Arbus about her debut novel, The Caretaker, published September 2020 by New Directions books. It's a spell-binding, intricate and haunting tale of a world-renowned philosopher's house museum filled with his collection of objects, and the mysterious man who becomes the museum's caretaker. In our conversation, Doon and I discussed the idea that objects carry their own histories with them, how we behave in museums, and whether it's necessary to carefully curate or, perhaps, to completely destroy a biography in order to appreciate an artist's or writer's work. 
    If you're interested, for the audio book the amazing Alan Cummings lends his voice to Doon Arbus's book in the  audio version of The Caretaker.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel Jane Eyre is one of the great love stories of all time, but it's also the story of a woman who speaks her truth even when this means risking everything she wants. Jane, an orphan raised in a cruel family and struggling to survive in a world where poor women have few chances, falls in love with dashing and mysterious Mr. Rochester, the owner of the estate where she finds a job. A secret in his part forces Jane to chose between compromising her integrity or giving up on him, until dramatic circumstances and her courageous choices change her fate. Do we have to give up autonomy and freedom when we fall in love? Jane Eyre provides the cultural script we still follow today, in every rom-com movie, reality dating show and also high-brow novels that explore the vagaries of our hearts. I spoke with Professor Susan Ostrov Weisser, an expert not only on Jane Eyre but also on this cultural script of romance for women, where a young girl's life goal is supposed to become both independent yet also attached to a man. I asked her whether falling in love means giving up one's freedom, how to make sense of the "madwoman in the attic," to whom novelist Jean Rhys famously gave voice in her book, Wide Sargasso Sea, and whether Jane Eyre is really a feminist book. Has the script changed by now? 
    Susan Ostrov Weisser is Professor of English at Adelphi University and the author of: The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories Rutgers U. Press (20130; Women and Romance (ed.), New York University Press (2001); A Craving Vacancy: Women and Sexual Love in the British Novel, 1740-1880 (1997); and with co-editor Jennifer Fleischner,  Feminist Nightmares: Women At Odds (1994).
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Marx has never left us. In our era of populism, political polarization, and the pandemic, concerns central to Marx such as economic inequality, the consolidation of power in the hands of the few, and the fate of workers are urgently discussed. How should we think about Marx today? I spoke with Professor Vivek Chibber at NYU who has published Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (Verso, 2013), and Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India (Princeton, 2003).
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was the novel that shocked, challenged, and inspired Victorian England with its tale of a beautiful young man who trades his soul, captured in a portrait, for eternal youth. I spoke with Professor Nicholas Frankel of Virginia Commonwealth University, whose biography Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years, to see how one of the first true celebrities and his only novel changed the way we live in the world today.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • I spoke with Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat, about Dickinson's remarkable assuredness, her confidence, and her decision to spend much of her life secluded in her father's home in Amherst, Massachusetts. In this state of being on her own, Dickinson had intense, passionate and transformative relationships, including one with the editor, writer, abolitionist and soldier Thomas Wentworth Higginson. "Are you too preoccupied to say whether my verse is alive?", she asked. He wasn't. 
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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  • Is "truth" a historical construct? Michel Foucault's work investigates this and other concepts. I spoke with Ann Stoler of NYC's New School for Social Research about Foucault to understand his investigations. How can we think of "truth" as something historically and culturally specific, rather than an absolute, unending value? Stoler's pathbreaking work on the politics of knowledge, colonial governance, racial epistemologies, the sexual politics of empire, and the ethnography of the archives.
    Uli Baer teaches literature and photography as University Professor at New York University. A recipient of Guggenheim, Getty and Humboldt awards, in addition to hosting "Speaking of…” he hosts (with Caroline Weber) the podcast "The Proust Questionnaire” and is Editorial Director at Warbler Press. Email ucb1@nyu.edu; Twitter @UliBaer.
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