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In this episode, I speak with Stephen Karian, renowned scholar of 18th century British literature, on the poems of Jonathan Swift, the promise and perils of satire, and the pleasures of reading profane poetry written by one of the great Divines. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Read along with us at .…
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In this episode, I speak with my colleague at TU, Boris Dralyuk on Vladmir Nabokov’s delightful take on the campus novel, Pnin. We explore our endearing hero’s journey from being a man on the wrong train to becoming an American behind the wheel at long last. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Boris Dralyuk is a poet, translator, and critic. He hold…
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In this episode, I speak with the political theorist Patrick Deneen about Don DeLillo’s award winning novel, White Noise. We explore the novel’s undercurrents of existential angst in a world of distraction, amnesia, and unfulfilled longings. I hope you enjoy our conversation.Sacred and Profane Love
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Six years ago I launched a literature, philosophy, and theology podcast. I had no assumptions that anyone would listen to it; it was an output for a grant project on virtue, happiness, and meaning of life. Today, I am thrilled to announce the launch of season 5 of Sacred and Profane Love, now fully supported by , where I am privileged to serve as d…
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In this episode, I speak with my colleague, Agnes Mueller, who is a professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina, about why Thomas Mann’s novella, Death in Venice, is a must-read during our ongoing pandemic. We talk about Modernism, Plato, and Nietzsche. We see the novella as exploring sickness, death, and eros…
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This week, we revisit Episode 43 with Brad Carson on Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind!In this episode, I speak with the president of the University of Tulsa, Brad Carson, about Allan Bloom’s infamous book, The Closing of the American Mind. Brad and I ultimately decide that while we like some of Bloom’s key ideas about what a universit…
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Throwback to the big five-oh: Episode 50 with Zena Hitz and Chad Wellmon!On April 26, 2022, ⁠The Institute for Human Ecology⁠ at the Catholic University of America hosted a launch event to reveal the new design and website of Sacred and Profane Love. I am pleased to share the audio of that event as episode 50, but you can also watch a video of it ⁠…
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This very exciting episode on liberal education with Professor Roosevelt Montás makes a come back this week!In this episode, I am joined by Professor Roosevelt Montás to discuss his new book, ⁠Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed my Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation.⁠ Montás, a Dominican-born American academic, makes the compe…
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Throwback to our first episode recorded with a live audience: Dr. Cornel West on James Baldwin!I am pleased to share a very special episode of Sacred and Profane Love, our first episode recorded in front of a live audience, with the amazing Dr. Cornel West! The context for this episode is that the Classic Learning Test (which has sponsored several …
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Let's go back to the beginning, where it all began: Episode 1 on Flannery O'Connor with Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P. !In Episode 1, I speak with Father Thomas Joseph White, O.P. about Aquinas on grace and charity, and how Thomistic concepts of grace and charity operate in the short stories of Flannery O’Connor. The episode covers themes of grace, …
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Please join us for the most popular of our re-runs thus far. It's the return of Episode 55 with Professor Christopher Snyder on Tolkien and Virtue Ethics!In this episode, I am joined by ⁠⁠Christopher Snyder⁠⁠, professor of history and director of British Studies at Mississippi State University, to discuss J.R.R. Tolkien's fiction and virtue ethics.…
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We invite you to explore one of our previously aired episodes: a conversation with Dana Gioia. In this episode, I am joined by the poet and critic Dana Gioia to discuss Charles Baudelaire's famous book of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal, or The Flowers of Evil. We tackle some big questions in this episode, such as whether and how evil can be beautiful, th…
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We come back to Episode 48, where I speak with Thomas Hibbs about Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, in our second re-run for the summer!In this episode, I speak with philosopher Thomas Hibbs (Baylor) about Dostoevsky's famous novel, Crime and Punishment. We discuss how Raskolnikov gets trapped in various philosophical theories he has embraced, and…
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In our first re-run for the summer, we revisit our most popular episode from Season 4, Episode 51!In this episode, I speak to my husband (and fellow philosopher) Chris Frey about Walter M. Miller’s sci-fi novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz. We both agree that this is a novel about sin, and more specifically, how sin is connected to the myriad ways tha…
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In this episode, I explain our recent hiatus. As I'm transitioning to my new role as inaugural dean of the Honors College at University of Tulsa, we'll be re-running our most popular episodes throughout the summer.Jennifer Frey is the incoming inaugural dean of the Honors College at the University of Tulsa. Through Spring of 2023, she served as Ass…
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In this episode, Russell Hittinger and I finish our conversation on St. Augustine’s Confessions and discuss the last three books.This is part three in a three part series on this book. As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation!Dr. Russell Hittinger is a leading scholar of Catholic political and social thought. From 1996-2019, Dr. Hittinger was t…
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In this episode, I continue my conversation with Russell Hittinger about one of the great masterworks of the Western literary tradition: St. Augustine's Confessions. In our discussion on books VI-IX, we track St. Augustine's conversion to Christianity and his mother's death.This is part two in a three part series on this book. As always, I hope you…
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In this episode, I speak with professor Russell Hittinger about one of the great masterworks of the Western literary tradition: St. Augustine's Confessions. We discuss the structure of the book as a whole, its intended audience, the reasons Augustine wrote it, and its first five books, detailing Augustine's birth, boyhood, and young adulthood. This…
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In this episode, I speak with professor, novelist, and critic, Randy Boyagoda, about why people of faith should read contemporary novels, the role of literature generally in the spiritual, moral, and intellectual life, and the themes of his two latest novels, Original Prin and Dante's Indiana.As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation.Randy Boyag…
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In this episode, I speak to Anthony Domestico about the poetry of TS Eliot. We discuss Eliot the man, the critic, and the poet. We contrast the Wasteland and The Four Quartets, and discuss the reasons we prefer the latter to the former.As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation!Anthony Domestico is Chair of the Literature Department at Purchase C…
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In this episode, I speak with fellow philosopher (and substack writer) Justin E. H. Smith about the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. This is our final episode of 2022! As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation.Justin E. H. Smith is professor of philosophy in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Paris. In 2019…
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In this episode, I am joined by Sam Filby, a graduate student in philosophy at Northwestern University. We discuss JM Coetzee's novel, Elizabeth Costello, which is a fictionalized account of a writer who gives a series of lectures on the ethics of eating animals. We simply try to figure out what is going on in this puzzling novel of bad ideas.Sam F…
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In this episode, I am joined by the poet and critic Dana Gioia to discuss Charles Baudelaire's famous book of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal, or The Flowers of Evil. We tackle some big questions in this episode, such as whether and how evil can be beautiful, the nature of Catholic art and poetry, original sin, and the poet as a damned figure.I hope you e…
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In this episode, I am joined by Christopher Snyder, professor of history and director of British Studies at Mississippi State University, to discuss J.R.R. Tolkien's fiction and virtue ethics. We discuss Tolkien's background , training, academic work and influences, how to think about his fiction and its enduring value, and what role virtue plays i…
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In this episode, I team up again with Karen Swallow Prior, this time to discuss what many people call "the great American novel" Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. We talk about sin, guilt, and repression, and how Hawthorne's story is more complicated and interesting than most people make it out to be.As always, I hope you enjoy our conversa…
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In this episode, I speak with the poet, critic, and biographer Paul Mariani, professor emeritus at Boston College. We discuss his new book, All that Will be New and his biography of Robert Lowell, The Lost Puritan. We discuss Lowell's life, poetry, and his struggle with the permanent things: religion, marriage, art, family. Given the influence of H…
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In this episode, I speak with my friends, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP and Fr. Jonah Teller, OP about the relationship between art, truth, and beauty, sacred and profane music, how music might be integral to religious life, and whether the banjo is beautiful. Long time listeners will remember Thomas Joseph from our very first episode on Flannery O'C…
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In this episode, I speak to my husband (and fellow philosopher) Chris Frey about Walter M. Miller’s sci-fi novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz. We both agree that this is a novel about sin, and more specifically, how sin is connected to the myriad ways that our desire for knowledge becomes perverted and disordered. Along the way, we also talk about mem…
  continue reading
 
On April 26, 2022, The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America hosted a launch event to reveal the new design and website of Sacred and Profane Love. I am pleased to share the audio of that event as episode 50, but you can also watch a video of it here.This event, with Zena Hitz and Chad Wellmon, was titled “Are the Humani…
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In this episode, I speak with the writer, editor, and critic, Christopher Beha, about the Danish bildungsroman by Henrik Pontoppidan, Lucky Per. We focus on Per’s struggle to escape from those aspects of his life that are not chosen—family, religion, place—his quest to understand himself, to love other people, and to live a life that is truly happy…
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In this episode, I speak with philosopher Thomas Hibbs (Baylor) about Dostoyevsky's famous novel, Crime and Punishment. We discuss how Raskolnikov gets trapped in various philosophical theories he has embraced, and what might help him go from theory to authentic human life again. Along the way, we discuss the limitations of philosophy, the importan…
  continue reading
 
In this episode, I speak with the philosopher, podcaster, and substacker extraordinaire, Justin E.H. Smith about Cormac McCarthy’s fourth novel, Suttree. We were both struck by how different this novel is from McCarthy’s later, more famous works—both in its style and in its literary ambitions. We resist the common temptation to read McCarthy as a n…
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In this episode, I speak with Katy Carl, who is the editor in chief of Dappled Things and also the author of As Earth Without Water, to discuss Henry James's novella, Washington Square and R.R. Reno's essay, Duty, the Soul of Beauty. After a great deal of back and forth, we come to the conclusion that what the novella shows is that mere duty, in ab…
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In this episode, I am joined by Professor Roosevelt Montas to discuss his new book Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation. Montas, a Dominican born American academic, makes the compelling case that study of the Great Books is potentially transformative, especially for students from working cl…
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In this episode, I speak with Dr. Kevin Kambo about Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, in light of an essay by Louise Cowan titled "The Tragic Abyss." Cowan argues that tragedy is "a liturgical confrontation of a deep seated dread which, when brought to light, can be borne only through the medium of poetic language." We discuss the nature of the tragic, which…
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In this episode, I speak with the president of the University of Tulsa, Brad Carson, about Allen Bloom's infamous book, The Closing of the American Mind. Brad and I ultimately decide that while we like some of Bloom's key ideas about what a university is for, we do not love the book itself, which has some serious flaws (though we may differ slightl…
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In this episode, I speak with professor of theology Fritz Bauerschmidt about Graham Greene's novel, The Heart of the Matter. We discuss the moral psychology of sin, and how it is that human beings are able to knowingly act against their own good (in this case: knowingly and deliberatively choose their own eternal damnation). How can someone find wh…
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I am pleased to share a very special episode of Sacred and Profane, our first episode recorded in front of a live audience, and with the amazing Dr. Cornel West! The context for this episode is that the Classic Learning Test (which has sponsored several episodes this season, and on whose board of academic advisors I happily serve) held its third an…
  continue reading
 
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