145 episodes

SUBTEXT 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 • 203 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

SUBTEXT 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

    “Notes from the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: An Anatomy of Human Self-Destructiveness (Part 2)

    “Notes from the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: An Anatomy of Human Self-Destructiveness (Part 2)

    What is the cause of human self-destructiveness? Wes & Erin continue their discussion of “Notes from the Underground” and its agonized rumination on whether freedom can be reconciled with love, individuality with virtue, and action with reflection.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    “Notes from the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: An Anatomy of Human Self-Destructiveness (Part 1)

    “Notes from the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: An Anatomy of Human Self-Destructiveness (Part 1)

    What is the cause of human self-destructiveness? According to Dostoyevkys’s underground man, this “most advantageous advantage” is designed to save freedom from the constraints of rationality, and vitality from the quiescence that follows success. Yet he himself finds freedom only in spite and fantasy, while in real life he oscillates between failed and humiliating attempts to dominate or ingratiate himself with other people. Wes & Erin discuss “Notes from the Underground” and its agonized rumination on whether freedom can be reconciled with love, individuality with virtue, and action with reflection.

    • 48 min
    Staking Claims in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) (Part 2)

    Staking Claims in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) (Part 2)

    Wes & Erin continue their discussion John Huston’s 1948 classic, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

    • 54 min
    Staking Claims in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) (Part 1)

    Staking Claims in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) (Part 1)

    It’s considered the definitive film on greed, a demonstration of just what the lust for gold can do to a man’s heart. Fred C. Dobbs starts out as a down-on-his-luck panhandler in a poor Mexican town and comes into a fortune of over $100,000 before the film’s end. Yet, in more ways than one, Dobbs never stops panhandling, never stops being subject to the vagaries of fate, to forces that might just as soon give as take away his fortune, and to the darkness within himself that he can neither understand nor control. Perhaps the film doesn’t chart his moral corruption and gradual descent into greed-fueled madness so much as it critiques the system that turned Dobbs into a beggar in the first place—a system which, the film might argue, teaches all of us to stick out our hands (and our necks) in the pursuit of profit. Wes & Erin discuss John Huston’s 1948 classic, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

    • 50 min
    Psychedelic Regrets in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (Part 6)

    Psychedelic Regrets in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (Part 6)

    Why do we rebel against our position within the natural world, even to the point of self-destruction? What is required to restore us? Wes & Erin continue their discussion of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” (Thanks to our sponsor for this episode, HelloFresh. Go to HelloFresh.com/subtextapps for free appetizers for life).

    Psychedelic Regrets in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Part 5

    Psychedelic Regrets in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Part 5

    Why do we rebel against our position within the natural world, even to the point of self-destruction? What is required to restore us? Wes & Erin continue their discussion of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” (Thanks to our sponsor for this episode, HelloFresh. Go to HelloFresh.com/subtextapps for free appetizers for life).

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
203 Ratings

203 Ratings

fultzaroni ,

Excellent podcast!

They’re both great-very thoughtful and interesting.

Max Danen ,

Great podcast for the literature fans

Great podcast. Love these folks.

bresson ford ,

My Perfect Podcast

Subtext is a delightful podcast hosted by Wes Alwan and Erin O’Luanaigh. Mr. Alwan’s other podcast—The Partially Examined Life—was the first podcast I listened to over 13 years ago, so you can consider me a longtime fan. I find both hosts to be erudite, and I find their discourse to be very spirited, regardless of the subject, even though I already love most of the things they talk about. Cheers from Bitola, MKD.

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