• Recall this Book 5: Stephen McCauley on the Comic Novel

    Author(s):
    Elizabeth Ferry, Stephen McCauley, John Plotz
    Date:
    2019
    Subject(s):
    Comedy
    Item Type:
    Podcast
    Tag(s):
    Barbara Pym, Comedy (genre)
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/wwkt-je44
    Abstract:
    On this episode of Recall This Book, John talks to Stephen McCauley, a novelist and Professor of the Practice of English and Co-director of Creative Writing at Brandeis. Nobody knows more about the comic novel than Steve, and there is no comic novelist he loves better than Barbara Pym, a mid-century British comic genius who found herself forgotten and unpublishable in middle age, only to roar back into print in her sixties. Steve and John's friendship over the years has been sealed by the favorite Pym lines they text back and forth to one another, so they are particularly keen to investigate why her career went in this way. In the episode, they talk about some of these favorite sentences from Pym, and then turn to the comic novel as a genre. They talk about the difference between humorous and comic writing, the earthiness of comedy, whether comic novels should have happy or sad endings, and whether the comic novel is a precursor to, or an amoral relief from, the sitcom. They also discuss some of Steve's fiction, including his yoga series, and in Recallable Books John recommends Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell and Steve recommends After Claude by Iris Owens. You can find out more about the upcoming (March 22) meeting of the Barbara Pym society at the Harvard Law School here.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Podcast    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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