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First Impressions - Flannery O'Connor - Episode 28

This summer, I've been getting to know Southern Gothic author Flannery O'Connor through a collection of her short stories. In this "First Impressions" episode, I chat about her life, her writing, and the themes in her stories which grabbed my attention.

Sources / Further Reading:
"This Lonesome Place: Flannery O’Connor on race and religion in the unreconstructed South." - The New Yorker article
Flannery O'Connor biography - New Georgia Encyclopedia
The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews by Flannery O'Connor (Google Books page)

My Sherlock Holmes Obsession - Episode 27


Today I take a nostalgia trip back to the time I first met Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective has impacted my life in many ways, from violin playing to overcoming social anxiety. I also share my thoughts on a number of adaptations, including the Jeremy Brett TV series and Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock.

Links:
Opening quote read by David Clarke (LibriVox)
Opening music - "Ambush in Rattlesnake Gulch" by Brian Boyko (Public domain, FreePD.com)

Vice, Virtue, and Heroism in Eugene Onegin - Episode 26


For lovers of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, Eugene Onegin takes us back to Imperial Russia, where young Tatyana Larina falls for her brooding, Byronic neighbor. More than a romance, Alexander Pushkin's epic poem is a classic of Russian literature and history, as well as a glimpse into the 19th-century dueling culture which proved to be so fatal for him.

Sources / Further Reading:
Why the Russian aristocrats spoke French - Reddit discussion with academic sources
Eugene Onegin - Translation by Henry Spalding (not my first recommendation, but it's free)
Pushkin's African Background - Article by the British Library
List of Alexander Pushkin's duels - By blogger Rina Tim
Russian Ark (2002) - A creative documentary surveying 200 years of Russian culture.  I was able to watch this on loan from the library, and while it's a slow film (not gripping), the visuals are interesting.
Opening quote read by MaryAnn (LibriVox)

Emily Dickinson - Life of a Poet - Episode 25

She left us with over 1,000 poems, full of vibrant imagery and even more mysteries.  Join me as I search for the real Emily Dickinson behind the legend, examining her life story and reading such gems as "I died for beauty" and "A bird came down the walk."

Sources / Further Reading:
Selected Poems & Letters of Emily Dickinson - Edited by Robert Linscott
Emily Dickinson - Biography at Poets.org
The Emily Dickinson Museum

Doctors, Murderers: Shūsaku Endō's The Sea and Poison - Episode 24



In The Sea and Poison, we find one Japanese author's perspective on the horrific human experimentation carried out by Unit 731 "doctors" in World War II.

A small addendum to my comment in this episode, that there were "no Nuremberg trials, to speak of."  The Soviets actually staged their own show trials for some of the Unit 731 personnel.  However, sources indicate that the sentences were light and may also have been exchanged for data.  To me, this is hardly the equivalent of the Nuremberg trials, where several nations (not only the USSR) took part in the trial and the sentences included 12 executions and seven imprisonments.

Sources / Further Reading:
"Unmasking Horror -- A special report.; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity" - NYT article, 1995
"Unit 731: Japan's biological force" - BBC article, 2002
"Japanese veteran admits vivisection tests on PoWs" - Guardian article, (2006)
"Department of Justice Official Releases Letter Admitting U.S. Amnesty of Japan’s Unit 731 War Criminals" - Jeffrey Kaye blog post, 2017
Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-45 and the American Cover-Up - Sheldon H. Harris, 2002