100 episodes

(sub)Text is a podcast about the human condition, and what we can learn about it from the greatest inventions of the human imagination: fiction, film, drama, poetry, essays, and criticism. Each episode, philosopher Wes Alwan and poet Erin O’Luanaigh explore life’s big questions by conducting a close reading of a text or film and co-writing an audio essay about it in real time.

SUBTEXT Literature and Film Podcast SUBTEXT

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 175 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

(sub)Text is a podcast about the human condition, and what we can learn about it from the greatest inventions of the human imagination: fiction, film, drama, poetry, essays, and criticism. Each episode, philosopher Wes Alwan and poet Erin O’Luanaigh explore life’s big questions by conducting a close reading of a text or film and co-writing an audio essay about it in real time.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    (post)script: Post-Bested

    (post)script: Post-Bested

    Wes & Erin continue their discussion of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

    Better and Bested in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

    Better and Bested in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

    It’s a play full of contradictions, secrets, lies, and unspoken rules. It’s a play decidedly for adults, but about a child—an imaginary one, no less. It takes place on a college campus, but it is absent of students. And it’s about “fun and games” and “playing pretend,” but its games are harsh and shocking, and playing pretend involves vengeance and even murder. Wes & Erin discuss Mike Nichols’s 1966 film "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", adapted from Edward Albee’s 1962 play, and ask what it has to say about the nature of game and play itself, as well as what might be generative on the one hand or contraceptive and inhibiting on the other about our relationships with our spouses, our parents, our children, and our work.

    • 59 min
    (post)script: Post-Religion ("Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens)

    (post)script: Post-Religion ("Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens)

    Wes & Erin continue their discussion of "Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens.

    Pagan Poetics in “Sunday Morning” by Wallace Stevens

    Pagan Poetics in “Sunday Morning” by Wallace Stevens

    Wallace Stevens was an ungainly insurance executive, but his poetry is serene and secularly reverential. In particular, his poem “Sunday Morning” seems to suggest that the rhythm of the natural world—if we give it enough rapt attention—is as good as any chant or prayer. But can a return to nature worship solve the problem of nihilism, once monotheism has been eclipsed by modernity? Are memory and desire as permanent heaven, and can the poet become their high priest? “Sunday Morning” is a poetic dialogue about these questions. And whether or not we’re satisfied with its conclusion that the world is nothing more than an “old chaos of the sun,” the poem itself is an orderly and beautiful form of communion. Wes & Erin discuss.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    (post)script: Post-Use ("His Girl Friday")

    (post)script: Post-Use ("His Girl Friday")

    Wes & Erin continue their discussion of "His Girl Friday."

    Production for Use in “His Girl Friday”

    Production for Use in “His Girl Friday”

    Howard Hawks’s 1940 film His Girl Friday knits together two plots from two very different genres. One is a romantic comedy that intends to reunite its main couple in something like wedded bliss. The other is a dark drama of murder and corruption, complete with a gallows lurking just outside the window and a suicide attempt that takes place on screen. Yet Earl Williams and Hildy Johnson’s fates in their respective plots are twinned. Both are, in a sense, looking for their own reprieves. And Hildy has her own production-for-use dilemma. What was she made for—the life of a newspaperman, or the life of a housewife? To what kinds of production should we devote our own lives? What are we made for—risk and adventure or security and insurance? Wes & Erin discuss.

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
175 Ratings

175 Ratings

Bronsonioni ,

Wonderful Podcast

Insightful and delightful podcast that takes a serious look at cinema and literature without ever becoming pretentious.

Jojable ,

A cut above

These 2 know their stuff. It is such a privilege to listen in on their polite and enlightened conversations. The MacBeth episode totally blew me away and I have not quite yet recovered. Recommend very highly.

carterfrancis ,

Network Episode Rare Misstep

Normally love and look forward to the podcast but the Network episode was unlistenable. Discussion was rambling and without the analysis and deep insight that I’ve come to expect, especially given media history and the current cultural moment.

A big miss for me.

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